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AgustaWestland AW139
OY-HSN PH-SHK
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OY-HML AgustaWestland AW139 c/n 31411 - Bel Air Aviation A/S - Den Helder Airport in Holland - 15 September 2012 more Offshore helicopters

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 860 AW139 helicopters have now been ordered by 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 750 AW139s have been delivered. In a bid to capture a greater share of the long-range offshore transport market, AgustaWestland has increased  the maximum MTOW to 6.800kg for the latest models of the AW139, 400kg more than the earlier models.

Bel Air Aviation A/S is a Danish owned helicopter company established in 1994. Over the years, Bel Air Aviation operated a number of single and twin-engined helicopters. From 2007 work was done to prepare Bel Air Aviation to enter the offshore transport business and offshore operations started in June 2009 with the leased AgustaWestland AW139 OY-HSN. Bel Air’s own AgustaWestland AW139 was registered OY-HJL with Bel Air Aviation Invest A/S, Holsted, on 26 June 2009. In that period, Bel Air was appointed as official AgustaWestland Service Centre for the AW139 in Denmark. Since then the company expanded with next to its mainbase at Holsted Heliport an offshore base at Esbjerg Airport. In December 2011, Bel Air signed a contract for two new AgustaWestland AW189 8-tonne class helicopters. In 2012, Bel Air management and board chose to focus on two-engine helicopters and to phase out the single-engine helicopters.

The 2012-built AgustaWestland AW139 c/n 31411 was testflown with the AgustaWestland test-registration I-EASY. On 30 March 2012, the AW139 was registered OY-HML with Bel Air Aviation Invest A/S, Holsted, as owner. AW139 OY-HML is financed by Danske Bank. On 3 April 2012, AgustaWestland AW139 OY-HML arrived on delivery to Bel Air in Denmark. From 1 August 2012, AW139 OY-HML was operated on offshore flights out of Den Helder Airport commissioned by DanCopter A/S. On 15 September 2012, AW139 OY-HML was seen during Heldair Show Maritiem. Bel Air Aviation uses callsign Bluebel.

page last updated: 02-01-2015
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands
 

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