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All posts for the month December, 2023

A new Photo Report Page just added to the website … 55 new great and interesting images illustrating Luigi PISANO’s recent visit in Spain, spending some time in spotting helicopters in Andalucia.

PRESS RELEASE – Rome,  07 dicembre 2023

Leonardo and Pratt & Whitney Canada today announced the successful completion of the first flight for a AW139 intermediate twin helicopter, powered by PT6C-67C engines, using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

Accomplished at Leonardo’s facility in Cascina Costa di Samarate (Italy) on 21 November, the 75-minute flight and ground tests evaluated engine performance with multiple power variation and other systems. The test showed an outstanding response to the new fuel with no significant differences compared to the use of Jet A1 fuel. 

This goal marks a historic first for both Leonardo’s helicopters and the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engine family. Earlier this year in-service AW139 helicopters carried out flights with SAF, blended with traditional jet fuel under the current certification standards, in Japan, Malaysia, and most recently UAE. All main civil-certified types within the Leonardo’s helicopter product range are certified for operations using SAF with a blended ratio of up to 50%. 

The 100% SAF demonstration flight of the AW139 is a further testament to the outstanding design and performance of the aircraft and its systems, ranking as the most successful helicopter in its class with an unrivalled and growing impact. With more than 1,100 AW139s in service worldwide and almost 4 million flight hours logged to date, this result shows another tangible benefit of the aircraft’s possibilities to the many operators carrying out missions in all weather and environmental conditions as they aim for more ambitious sustainability goals.  

Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters MD, said “With this latest result we are demonstrating how we can support the rapid evolution of sustainability requirements in aviation as the industry aims at a greater use of SAF in operations. We did so with the world-class AW139 testifying that this technology allows more sustainable operations keeping the same level of high performance, significantly contributing to lower CO2 emissions. We’re committed to joining forces with aviation partners and suppliers, authorities, energy leaders and rotorcraft service providers to incentivise the use of SAF to sustain carbon footprint reduction.” 

“This first flight effectively demonstrates engine functionality and is an important part of our long-standing efforts to support the development of future specifications for 100% SAF, a core part of our sustainable propulsion strategy,” said Maria Della Posta, president, Pratt & Whitney Canada. “This is the first time a PT6 engine has flown using 100% SAF. This milestone builds on its unrivalled legacy of success and underlines how the engine family can contribute to a more sustainable future in aviation. Since entering the market 60 years ago, the PT6 engine family has clocked more than 500 million flight hours, 8.3 million of which were on PT6C turboshaft engines.”

PRESS RELEASE – Abu Dhabi,  30 November 2023

  • Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA) accomplished two flights with a Leonardo AW139 helicopter powered by SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) in Abu Dhabi on 28 and 30 November, marking a first in the UAE and Middle East. 
  • ADA and Leonardo are actively committed to reducing the impact that aviation has on global carbon emissions

Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA) and Leonardo are pleased to announce today that ADA’s AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopter accomplished two flights powered by aviation fuel blended with SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) in Abu Dhabi on 28 and 30 November (the latter carrying on board UAE dignitaries and industry representatives).

These flights using SAF on an ADA commercial helicopter marked a first in the UAE and Middle East. This initiative and achievement demonstrate ADA and Leonardo’s capability and active commitment in reducing the impact that aviation has on global carbon emissions. 

In this context, Mr Nader Ahmed Al Hammadi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Aviation, affirmed that Abu Dhabi Aviation is keen on collaborating with its strategic partners to expedite carbon removal from the aviation sector, contribute to achieving the country’s climate targets, enhance fuel efficiency, and preserve it. He added, “We reaffirm ADA’s commitment to supporting the UAE’s efforts in the aviation sector to ensure sustainable growth and its adoption in the future.”

Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters’ MD, said “The SAF flights in the UAE performed by ADA’s AW139 have shown what’s possible in support of the rapid evolution of sustainability requirements in aviation. This technology can deliver real benefits in the region and widely across geographies, for all missions and can be readily available. We’re committed to joining forces with authorities, energy industry leaders and rotorcraft service providers to incentivise the use of SAF to sustain carbon footprint reduction.” 

His Excellency Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, the Director General of the General Civil Aviation Authority, stated that the civil aviation sector in the UAE is making significant strides towards enhancing the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and highlighted that the success of the first helicopter flight using SAF is an important step that supports the ongoing efforts towards reducing carbon emissions in the aviation sector. He added, “On the twenty-fourth of this month, at the conclusion of the third ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels, which was hosted by the UAE, the world witnessed the launch of the Dubai Framework for Sustainable Aviation Fuel, which represents the beginning of the path towards a more sustainable future in aviation, aiming to achieve our ambitious goal of reaching zero emissions by 2050.”

ADA and Leonardo have been collaborating for over 15 years with the operator acquiring a total of 33 aircraft to date, most of which are AW139s. Recently, ADA set a 100,000 flight hour milestone with its Leonardo helicopter fleet. The ADA’s fleet of Leonardo helicopters was extended to comprehensive localised support, maintenance, and overhaul services in the UAE around ten years ago with the establishment of the AgustaWestland Aviation Services Joint Venture and subsequent training and simulation capabilities.

The world’s most important helicopter programme since its certification in 2004 and the bestselling type in its category, the AW139 has logged orders for over 1,300 units from more than 290 operators in over 80 countries to date for all missions. The global AW139 fleet has nearly 4 million flight hours logged to date. The type features state-of-the-art avionics with advanced navigation and collision avoidance systems to enhance situational awareness and reduce pilots’ workload, unmatched speed, power margins and overall performance, the widest cabin in its category featuring high modularity for rapid reconfiguration, a unique 60+ min run-dry capable main gear box for enhanced reliability and safety and up to 1,000 certified kits. The AW139 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C engines that provide exceptional power capability with each engine producing 1,700 shaft horsepower (shp) thermodynamic. The AW139 is supported by advanced digital capabilities for maintenance and training, both in terms of fleet flight data management and simulation for pilots, cabin crews and technicians. This year AW139 helicopters carried out demonstration flights with SAF in Japan and Malaysia.