AgustaWestland’s AW169 took to the skies for the first time last week, marking a significant milestone on its path to certification in 2014, the company announced.
According to AgustaWestland representatives, the AW169 – launched nearly two years ago at the Farnborough International Air Show – performed and handled “as expected” during the test flight at the company’s Italian facilities.
The light 4.5-ton helicopter, powered by dual fadec Pratt & Whitney PW210 turboshaft engines, aims to fill a niche weight class while complementing the strong market share already captured by its larger counterpart, the AW139, as well as projected demand for the larger yet AW189, announced last June. The 169 is off to a successful start on that front, with more than 50 orders for the product on the books to date.
With space for 8 to 10 passengers, in addition to two crew, AgustaWestland expects to see demand for the AW169 in a number of roles, including emergency transport, off-shore missions and law enforcement.
AgustaWestland says two more production prototypes are slated to join the test fleet later this year, followed by a fourth in 2013.