Maiden flight for third AW169 prototype

Nov. 27, 2012 at 6:53 AM
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FARNBOROUGH, England, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- AgustaWestland says the third prototype of its new multi-role AW169 helicopter has completed its maiden flight.

The flight lasted 35 minutes over Cascina Costa di Samarate in Italy and the aircraft "performed as expected with an assessment of the helicopter's general handling and basic systems," AgustaWestland said.

The AW169 is a twin-engine aircraft weighing 9,920 pounds. It has a cruise speed of 161 miles per hour and can carry as many as 10 passengers.

"The AW169 is set to be the most advanced and cost-effective helicopter in its class for EMS, SAR, law enforcement, passenger and offshore transport and utility missions," AgustaWestland said.

The first two AW169 prototypes had their first flights earlier this year and have completed more than 100 flight hours. Development activities to be undertaken by the third prototype -- the first with retractable landing gear -- include climatic chamber tests and cold weather trials.

More than 70 orders for production models of the aircraft have been placed by customers around the world for use in medical evacuation, law enforcement and commercial utility operations.

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