AgustaWestland has carried out altitude testing of its AW169 helicopter in the USA as part of work to attain the aircraft’s FAA certification.
The company took one of its four prototypes to the USA for altitude testing in Colorado and in California, where some of the lift tests were conducted earlier this month at Big Bear City Airport, east of Los Angeles. These were an extension of prior altitude proving work that had been carried out in Colorado.
AgustaWestland had spent three months in Colorado testing the AW169’s engine and landing capability at higher elevations and discovering the helicopter was capable of landing at well over 10,000ft. However, these higher elevations proved too much (over 14,000ft in some places) for the AW169 to safely carry a metric-ton.
The testing at Big Bear Airport was to demonstrate its lifting capabilities up to 10,000ft. The AW169 was given a 1,100kg (2,425 lb) load – a heavier weight to compensate for the altitude being slightly less than 10,000ft.
The AW169 has received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approval this year and about 150 now operate in Europe. The company is trying to achieve FAA Type Certification for the AW169 with the ambition of manufacturing the helicopter at its plant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, toward the end of 2016.
November 27, 2015