The first aircraft took to the skies from the company’s facility in Cascina Costa di Samarate, Italy, on 3 February 2001. The helicopter flew for 45 minutes checking initial airworthiness tests, hovering, lateral and forward flight, handling qualities and subsystems.
Since then, the AW139 intermediate-twin engine seven tons boasts orders of almost 1,200 units from more than 280 customers in over 70 countries on all continents. The aircraft has shown high levels of reliability and operational capabilities, with more than three million flight hours recorded since the first delivery took place at the beginning of 2004. Usage data shows the AW139 comprises approximately half the world’s fleet for public utility tasks such as search and rescue and air ambulance, law enforcement, firefighting, disaster relief and military duties.
The AW139 is used around the world
The AW139 fleet has a global presence: around 30 per cent in Europe, almost as much in Asia and Australasia, 15 per cent in the Americas, followed by the Middle East. To meet market demands, the helicopter is produced on different assembly lines both in Italy, in the Vergiate plant, and in the US in Philadelphia, which has delivered around 30 per cent of all units to date.
The AW139 also 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 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 four to nine tons of weight, to create significant synergies in crew training, flight operations, maintenance, and logistics support.