Russia-assembled AW139 takes to air

Jan. 15, 2013 at 3:15 PM
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MOSCOW, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The first medium-sized AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter assembled in Russia has performed its maiden flight.

The aircraft -- used for military, law enforcement and commercial operations – was constructed by HeliVert, a joint venture between Russian Helicopters and AgustaWestland.

The maiden flight, which occurred last month, was followed the next day by lift-off and controlled hover testing.

"The AW139's first take off and hover was successful, and the helicopter is undergoing the flight test program," Russian Helicopters said. "The second aircraft to be assembled by HeliVert is expected to be in operation by February 2013."

The AW139 is a twin-engine helicopter with a top speed of 193 miles per hour, a service ceiling of 20,000 feet and a range of 572 miles. It is flown in a dozen countries and comes in five variants.

Assembly of the first AW139 in Russia began last year and HeliVert is expected to produce up to 20 of the aircraft annually for the Russian market and for customers in countries that were once part of the now-defunct Soviet Union.

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