All posts for the month September, 2019

Another great “in-operation” image of the Babcock Mission Critical Services Italia‘s Leonardo Helicopters AW139 I-ROAV … operating on behalf of HEMS 118 Regione Toscana at Monte Capanne, Isola d’Elba, September 2019.

  • The first VIP AW109 Trekker for the European market is destined for the United Kingdom where Leonardo has a fleet of almost 100 VIP helicopters
  • Leonardo has a global fleet of over 830 VIP helicopters performing private, charter, scheduled, corporate transport, air-taxi, tourism and VVIP transport
  • With skids and high levels of customization, the AW109 Trekker is slated to increase Leonardo’s impressive VIP market share (44% in twin engines)

PRESS RELEASE – Monte Carlo, 25th September 2019

The first Leonardo AW109 VIP Trekker helicopter for a European customer debuts today at the Monaco Yacht Show.

The Monaco Yacht Show (25 to 28 September) is one of the most important international luxury yacht showcases. After the show, the VIP Trekker will fly to the United Kingdom for delivery thanks to Sloane Helicopters, Leonardo’s distributor for over twenty years in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The privately-owned aircraft will be operated by Apollo Air Services, available for VIP charter market.

The AW109 Trekker is the newest model within Leonardo’s light twin-engine helicopter range. The Trekker joins a fleet of Leonardo VIP helicopters that lead the UK and Irish market: almost 100 aircraft with nearly 90% represented by the AW109 series (Power, Grand and GrandNew). This market is second only to Brazil where about 130 Leonardo VIP helicopters fly amongst 400 San Paolo helipads. The helicopter maker and the distinguished Italian Style of its VIP helicopter design are embraced around the world, boasting a 44% global share in the twin-engine VIP helicopter market.

The Company’s fleet of 2,300 civil helicopters are used for law enforcement, offshore transport, utilities, search and rescue and VIP / corporate transport. More than 830 aircraft carry out a range pf passenger transport missions including private, charter, scheduled flights, corporate, air-taxi, tourism, VVIP. Leonardo’s VIP helicopter models all share a strong commitment to high performance, versatility, safety, reliability, support and training services, design and a high level of customization. The Company features the largest range of executive, corporate and government transport helicopters including the AW119Kx single engine 1.8 tonne, the AW109 series, the AW169, AW139, AW189 and the three-engine 16 tonne.

With the AW109 Trekker Leonardo is destined to increase its notable market share, thanks to features that combine the qualities of the AW109 Grand—long recognized by operators— Company General Use including its spacious cabin, state-of-the-art Genesys Aerosystems avionics and skids, particularly suitable for landing on yachts. The combination is unmatched in terms of cost/effectiveness, technology and performance. Sloane Helicopters will be maintaining two AW109 Trekkers in UK. Building on the qualities that have made the AW109 series the benchmark helicopters in its category, Sloane will be performing demonstration flights with the new Leonardo light twin inviting operators to learn more about its unique characteristics.

The new Airbus H145 lands on top of the Andes.

PRESS RELEASE – Argentina, 25 September, 2019 – Airbus Helicopters has reached new heights: the latest version of the H145 has set its skids down on the Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere, culminating at 6,962 metres (22,840 feet). This is the first time a twin-engine helicopter has landed at this altitude, confirming the performance and the extensive flight envelope of the new H145.

The conditions for this mission were extreme, due to the atmospheric conditions in the area and the winter season. The aircraft took off from Mendoza, Argentina, flew 30 minutes to the foot of the Aconcagua where it began its ascension. After 15 minutes of climbing, the helicopter landed at 1.45 pm on the summit, at a temperature of -22ºC. The crew onboard the helicopter consisted of Alexander Neuhaus, experimental test pilot and Antoine van Gent, experimental flight test engineer.

“We had to stay focused on the mission due to severe winds with gusts up to 30 knots and the low air density. The handling qualities of the new H145 are excellent and combined with Helionix and its 4 axis-autopilot, we reached the summit safely,” said Alexander Neuhaus, experimental test pilot at Airbus Helicopters. “The aircraft performed outstandingly. We flew over the summit of the Aconcagua and still had power reserves that would have allowed us take two people on-board.”

The flight test was supported by the Fuerza Aerea Argentina, who provided aerial support with their Lama helicopters; Patrulla de Rescate de Alta Montaña de Policia de Mendoza, who assisted with a contingency plan; Parque Provincial Aconcagua, facilitating operations and logistics, and Helicopters AR, a local operator with over 15 years of experience flying in the Aconcagua area with their Airbus H125 helicopter.

This is not the first mountain Airbus Helicopters has mastered. On 14 May 2005, the flight test pilot Didier Delsalle landed a single-engine H125 on Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world.

Prior to the successful high altitude test campaign in South America, the new H145 performed several test campaigns including in Spain at medium altitudes and Finland for cold weather. In total, more than 400 flight hours have already been clocked on the two five-bladed H145 prototypes to ensure EASA certification by early 2020, followed by FAA certification and first deliveries later that year.

The new version of its best-selling H145 light twin-engine helicopter was unveiled at Heli-Expo 2019 in Atlanta in March. This latest upgrade adds a new, innovative five-bladed rotor to the multi-mission H145, increasing the useful load of the helicopter by 150 kg. The simplicity of the new bearingless main rotor design will also ease maintenance operations, further improving the benchmark serviceability and reliability of the H145, while improving ride comfort for both passengers and crew.

  • 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.

AgustaWestland AW139 ( c/n 31239 ) HZ-HC2

Thanks to Luigi PISANO for the images of the AgustaWestland AW139 HZ-HC2 [previously operated as TC-HMR and I-AWTS]… on delivery to the new operator in Saudi Arabia. Milan Malpensa, September 2019.

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.