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AgustaWestland AW139
OH-HCR AgustaWestland AW139 c/n 31142 - Copterline - Flugplatz Leer-Papenburg in Germany - 17 March 2015 Flugplatz Leer-Papenburg (EDWF)

The AgustaWestland AW139 is a medium-weight multi-role utility twin-turboshaft Transport Category helicopter in the 6-tonne class, accommodating 12 to 15 passengers and 1 or 2 crew. The AW139 is an all new designed conventional configuration helicopter with 5-bladed main rotor, 4-bladed tail rotor and retractable undercarriage, with provision for up to 15 passengers in a high-density layout. The AW139 has a 'glass cockpit. Development of the aircraft started in 1998 as a new helicopter in the six ton category. The aircraft was originally designed and developed jointly by Agusta and Bell Helicopters and marketed as the Agusta-Bell AB139, although Bell subsequently withdrew from the project. PZL-Swidnik as a partner in the AW139 programme assisted in the design of the central fuselage of the aircraft and manufactured the first prototype airframe in April 2000. The AW139 is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C turbine engines. The marketing was officially started at the International Paris Airshow in June 1999. The first prototype or pre-production AB139 ( 01 c/n 31001) made its maiden flight at the Agusta Cascina Costa di Samarata plant in Italy, on 3 February 2001. The first production AB139 aircraft (c/n 31004) flew first on 24 June 2002. The Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) certification was awarded on 18 June 2003 and US certification on 20 December 2004. In November 2005, Bell sold its stake in the AB139 programme to AgustaWestland and the helicopter is marketed since as AgustaWestland AW139. On 9 July 2007, the EASA Type Certificate Data Sheet for the Agusta AB139 was changed. As stated in the TDCS AW139 and AB139 are two names for the same product. The first two production aircraft had a triple screen display cockpit, but all following aircraft have had a 4-display cockpit configuration as standard. In March 2004, the AB139 entered customer service with Elilario Italia, that leased AB139 c/n 31005 I-ROCS from Agusta Elicotteri. Next to the Agusta Vergiate Production Line AW139 productionline, Agusta Aerospace Corporation opened an assembly line in Philadelphia (PA), USA. The AW139 airframe is manufactured by PZL-Swidnik in Poland. The AB139 designation is used for c/n 31001 up to c/n 31054, whereas the AW139 designation is used from c/n 31055 onwards. c/n 31201 onwards is used for the AW139 Long Nose configuration. c/n 41001 onwards is used for the A.A.C. Philadelphia Production Line. A 50-50 joint venture between AgustaWestland and Oboronprom, a Russian investment group creates an AW139 assembly line near Moscow. Over 1000 AW139 helicopters have now been delevered to over 200 customers from more than 60 countries all over the world performing many tasks including VIP/corporate transport, passenger shuttle services, offshore transport, EMS/SAR, law enforcement, fire fighting and troop transport with civil operators, government agencies. Over 760 have been delivered. In a bid to capture a greater share of the long-range offshore transport market, AgustaWestland has increased first the maximum MTOW to 6.800kg for the latest models of the AW139, 400kg more than the earlier models. A further upgrade is the increase of the maximum MTOW to 7.000kg. The AW139s with the increase of the maximum MTOW to 7.000kg are the c/n 317.. series from the Italian productionline and the AW139s c/n 415.. series from the US productionline. The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator with Wake Category used to classify aircraft types is A139 for the AW139 helicopters.

On 1 January 2016, the name AgustaWestland was dropped while Finmeccanica S.p.a., the parent company of AgustaWestland, changed to a one company operation consolidating all its subsidiaries beneath one united name. From 28 April 2016, Finmeccanica S.p.a. changed its company name to Leonardo S.p.a.

In July 2008, AgustaWestland AW139 s/n 31142 was testflown with the Agusta Elicotteri test registration I-EASH. On 30 July 2008, the AgustaWestland AW139 was registered OH-HCR in Finland with Copterline Oy, Helsinki-Malmin. Using AgustaWestland AW139 OH-HCR and sistership OH-HCQ, Copterline OY restarted the scheduled route between Helsinki in Finland and Tallin in Estonia in April 2008. As bookings ran at 50% of the break-even load factors, flights were discontinued eight months later. Both AW139s were sold to PHI in the USA. On 20 December 2009, registration OH-HCR was cancelled as exported to the USA. On 11 March 2010, the 2008-built AW139 was registered as N140PH with PHI Inc, Lafayette, Lafayetee. On 17 February 2011, the AW139 was registered N998AA with Agusta Aerospace, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On 21 July 2011, registration N998AA was cancelled as exported to Finland. On 18 July 2011, the AgustaWestland AW139 was restored in the Finish register as OH-HCR with Copterline OU, Talinn, Estonia, as operator and Line-Support OY, Helsinki, as owner. As mentioned, a new Copterline appeared this time under the ownership of Line-Support OY, Helsinki, which restored the former AW139 OH-HCR back on the Finnish register with the intention to restart the Helsinki-Tallin route. As before, the schedule wasn't a succes, despite it is by helicopter just 18 minuts from city center to city center. During December 2013, the OH-HCR was leased to Wiking Helikopter Service, Wilhelmshaven/Mariensiel in Germany. On 17 March 2015, the AW139 OH-HCR was seen at Flugplatz Leer-Papenburg in Germany: at that time the helicopter was again operated in Germany to transport people and equipment from/to the offshore windfarms.

page last updated: 17-03-2020
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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