Italian Helicopter NEWS

Latest NEWS from the Italian helicopter world

  • Alessandro Profumo: “Today we celebrate the global affirmation of an asset of our entire country”
  • The thousandth aircraft was assigned to Italy’s Guardia di Finanza
  • The most successful global helicopter programme in the last 15 years, the AW139 is now setting a production record for the Italian aviation industry
  • With 280 operators in 70 different countries to date, the AW139 saves lives every day, helps people in difficulty and guarantees safety in every corner of the world

PRESS REALEASE – Rome, 20th September 2019

Leonardo delivered today its 1,000th AW139 helicopter.

The event represents a historic achievement: the AW139 is the most important helicopter programme in the last 15 years at an international level, and it is also able to set a production record in the Italian aviation industry’s outlook. The 1,000th machine of this model was delivered to Italy’s Guardia di Finanza during an official celebration which was held at Leonardo’s plant in Vergiate (Varese – Italy), in the presence of institutional representatives, customers, partners and suppliers, as well as the company’s top management and employees. The AW139’s first flight dates back to the beginning of 2001.

The helicopter boasts orders of over 1,100 units from more than 280 customers in over 70 countries on all continents. The aircraft has shown extraordinary levels of reliability and operational capabilities with almost 2.5 million flight hours recorded since the first delivery took place at the beginning of 2004. Data of use testify the extreme versatility of the AW139 which satisfies any market need: more than 30% for public utility tasks such as search and rescue and air ambulance, law enforcement, firefighting, disaster relief; over 30% for offshore transport; around 20% for military tasks; the rest account for VIP, institutional and corporate transport missions. Leonardo’s CEO, Alessandro Profumo, said: “What we celebrate today is much more than the success of a product or of a company. It is the global affirmation of an asset of our entire country. Thanks to the commitment, knowledge and professional skills present at Leonardo and to our products, like the AW139, our host of technologies and history of flight innovation – these all form important pillars of our industrial capabilities.

The AW139 is a striking example of the role that Leonardo plays and intends to continue to have in the world. All our values are reflected in the AW139: continuous innovation, internationalisation, proximity to the market and to the customer, and the enhancement of human resources”. Leonardo Helicopters’ Managing Director, Gian Piero Cutillo, added: “With the AW139 the company has been able to create an extraordinary programme with international roots and with its global success this has allowed us to reach the top of the industry’s world helicopter market. Without the self-denial, the preparation and the passion of workers from different generations and nationalities who believed in and worked on its development, and who still follow it in its operational path by constantly confronting the market and customers, all this would not have been possible.” The AW139 fleet has a global presence: around 30% in Europe, almost as much in Asia and Australasia, 15% in the American continent, followed by the Middle East.

The international success of the AW139 is so important that to meet market demands the helicopter is produced on different assembly lines both in Italy, in the Vergiate plant, and in the United States in Philadelphia. The AW139, along with Leonardo’s other new generation models, has played a significant role in the evolution of the market. These aircraft have contributed to the company taking a 40% share of the world’s civil sector in terms of value in 2018. The AW139 has grown significantly in just a few years, adapting to the changing needs of customers. The maximum take-off weight increased from 6.4 to 7 tons.

Almost 1,000 mission kits and equipment have been certified. With advanced protection systems against icing, the AW139 can fly in all weather conditions. This model is also the only one in the world capable of continuing to fly for over 60 minutes without oil in the transmission, twice as much as the 30 minutes set by the certification authorities. Despite the experience and maturity achieved in 15 years of operational activity, the AW139 remains a young and modern programme, destined to play a leading role into the future. The AW139 represents a turning point in the rotary-wing sector through the introductory concept of the Leonardo “helicopter family”. The AW139 is, in fact, the forefather of a helicopter family comprising of the smaller and lighter AW169 and the larger and heavier AW189. Models, the only case in the world, that share the same design philosophy, the same high performance, the same flight characteristics and the same certification standards, as well as the same approach to maintenance and training. A concept that allows operators with large diversified fleets, with models ranging from 4 to 9 tons of weight, to create significant synergies in crew training, flight operations, maintenance and logistics support.

Eurocopter AS350B3e Ecureuil ( c/n 7653 ) OE-XSR
Eurocopter AS350B3e Ecureuil ( c/n 7653 ) OE-XSR

Thanks to Silvano ZAMPIERI for these images of the colorful Eurocopter AS350B3e Ecureuil OE-XSR operated by Heli Austria from the local base in Vogogna (VB), August 2019.



Sull’aeroporto di Foligno, dal 9 al 13 settembre, opereranno 13 velivoli e 27 squadre di ricerca e soccorso a terra

Si svolgerà dal 09 al 13 settembre 2019, nella provincia di Perugia (Umbria), la dodicesima edizione dell’esercitazione “Grifone”, la principale attività addestrativa dell’Aeronautica Militare nel campo della ricerca e soccorso aereo, in collaborazione con il Corpo Nazionale del Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico (CNSAS). All’edizione di quest’anno parteciperanno 13 velivoli e 27 squadre di ricerca e soccorso a terra appartenenti a Reparti di volo delle Forze Armate italiane, Corpi Armati dello Stato ed altri Enti ed Amministrazioni italiane e straniere che hanno aderito all’accordo internazionale SAR. Med. Occ. (Search And Rescue Mediterraneo Occidentale).

La “Grifone” è un’esercitazione internazionale, interforze ed interagenzia organizzata annualmente dall’Aeronautica Militare con l’obiettivo di proiettare la capacità di comando, controllo e coordinamento degli assetti impiegati, in prossimità del luogo in cui si è verificato un incidente aeronautico. In questo modo sarà possibile  mantenere sempre elevati gli standard nell’ambito delle attività di ricerca e soccorso sia diurne che notturne in ambiente montano ed impervio e verrà incrementata la conoscenza delle procedure comuni, sia in campo nazionale che internazionale, al fine di ottenere un impiego ottimale di tutte le forze disponibili.

Inoltre, quest’anno per il secondo anno, all’interno della “Grifone” prenderà parte l’esercitazione “Eleos”, incentrata sulla gestione post incidente aeronautico che vedrà interessato personale civile e militare dell’Aeronautica Militare, dell’Università degli Studi di Urbino, la Polizia di Stato e l’Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione Ambientale delle Marche (ARPAM).  In questo ambito l’addestramento si concentrerà sulla ricerca e recupero di materiali appositamente predisposti, sulla prevenzione infortuni, sulla protezione ambientale, sulle attività della polizia giudiziaria e sulla gestione dello stress.

All’edizione di quest’anno che si svolgerà presso l’aeroporto civile di Foligno in collaborazione con l’Aeroclub Foligno, parteciperanno assetti e personale dell’Aeronautica Militare, dell’Esercito Italiano, dei Carabinieri, della Guardia di Finanza, della Polizia di Stato, dei Vigili del Fuoco, del Corpo Ausiliario Infermiere Volontarie della Croce Rossa Italiana, del CNSAS, della Protezione Civile e Servizio Sanitario di Urgenza ed Emergenza 118 della provincia di Perugia.

E’ inoltre prevista la presenza di un elicottero AS-555 Fennec dell’Armée de l’Air (Francia), di un AS332 spagnolo e di un AS332 della Luftwaffe svizzera, nonché la partecipazione di osservatori stranieri tra cui Austria, Bosnia, Portogallo, Emirati Arabi Uniti, Serbia.

Thanks to Egidio FERRIGHI for this image of the Eurocopter AS350B3 Ecureuil I-AMVS … currently operated by Airgreen on behalf of AIB Regione Sardegna. Alà dei Sardi (SS), August 2019.

During these days a new helicopter entered into Italfly active fleet … the new Guimbal Cabrì G2, registered I-CABB, will work together with the other three Robinson R22s and two Robinson R44s out of Trento Mattarello’s Italfly mainbase in order to offer the better training opportunities for all the students.

Thanks to Oscar BERNARDI for these first images of the latest delivered Babcock Mission Critical Services Italia‘s Leonardo AW139 I-RJAH … “Horus 3” operating on behalf of AREU 118 Regione Lombardia – Como. Villa Guardia (CO), August 2019.

Back in the Italian Register after a few years, this Agusta A109AII is now registered I-MMLL and operated by Eurotech Srl. This helicopter was previously flying as I-SEIA, from 1987 till 2012, when she was cancelled towards Spain as EC-LQG, and later to Malta as 9H-GFF.