Three AB139 Prototypes Flying
Three Bell/Agusta AB139 prototypes currently flying surpassing 190 total flight hours
Bell Helicopter, February 14, 2002 - With three AB139 flying, the flight program now has over 190 total flight hours, confirming or exceeding the aircraft estimated performances.
These include a maximum continuous speed of 185 knots, a cruise speed in excess of 157 knots, a maximum ceiling of 20,000 ft. and Hovering OGE at 12,000 ft., both at the maximum take-off weight of 6,000 kg.
The maximum rate of climb achieved exceeded 2,200 ft/min.
The certification program foresees a Tie Down Helicopter (TDH) and three pre-production A/C.
The TDH had started tests commencing in December 2000 and the first AB139 has flown on February 3, 2001. The second pre-production AB139 made its first flight on June, 4th, 2001, and the third on October 22.
The flight test program is thus well underway and the first AB139 production aircraft is being assembled at the Agusta's Vergiate plant. IFR certification under FAA/ENAC will take place in 2002 with first deliveries to follow.
As the AB139 moves closer to certification, the finishing touches are being put on its emergency medical, corporate law enforcement and search-and-rescue configurations.
Each configuration is being developed together with key operators in each market, and progress is being made in identifying specific equipment and options packages for customer selection.
The AB139, in both civil and governmental configurations, has recorded more than 50 orders worldwide, with customers in Australia, Europe, Africa, Middle and Far East and the Americas. Negotiations with additional customers are in progress.