On 13 October, the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) service took delivery of its first AW139 helicopter in a ceremony that took place at Miami Executive Airport. Miami Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez spoke at the event: “As a former firefighter, I’ve been very impressed with this world-class search and rescue helicopter. Replacing antiquated helicopters, the AW139 is a vital addition to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s fleet. They will provide a heightened level of safety and security for our Fire Rescue workers and those whose lives they work to save.” Each of the four helicopters (the other three are expected to be delivered by the end of this year) will be equipped with a cargo hook rated for human external cargo use, a rescue hoist, and a Bambi Bucket for fire suppression.
Special missions use
In the US, AW139 customers include the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), New Jersey and Maryland States Police Departments, among many others. The US Air Force (USAF) will soon introduce the AW139-based Boeing MH-139 to replace the UH-1N fleet.
In Australia, RACQ LifeFlight uses a fleet of AW139s to serve the Queensland population, offering air medical and rescue services across the state. It operates a fleet of 10 helicopters, five of which are AW139s. the service recently reached a 10,000-flying-hours milestone in their Leonardo helicopters. Ashley van de Velde, Life Flight CEO, commented: “Reaching 10,000 flying hours is a reflection of what can be achieved when you pair some of the world's best aircraft with highly skilled aviation specialists. The AW139 is a proven helicopter, operating in more than 80 countries; they have spent millions of hours in the air. They're versatile and suit the varying environments in which we work and the wide-ranging missions undertaken by our teams.”