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 delivered 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 2003, Schreiner showed its interest in the newly certified Agusta-Bell AB139 as it would be ideal for its operations. This interest
resulted in orders for the AB139. In February 2004, before the new AB139s were delivered, CHC Helicopter Corporation (CHC)
acquired 100% of the shares of the Schreiner Aviation Group B.V. As a result of this acquisition, Schreiner Northsea Helicopters BV became
part of CHC Europe and was renamed CHC Helicopters Netherlands BV. The first
of a number AW139 helicopters operated by CHC Helicopters Netherlands
was AgustaWestland AB139 PH-SHK, that arrived at Den Helder Airport on 30 December 2005.
On 27 February 2012, the 2012-built AgustaWestland AW139 s/n 31406 was
registered PH-EUF with CHC Helicopters Netherlands BV, Den Helder, as
holder, and Leonardo Helicopter (2) LLC, Wilmington (DE), USA, as owner.
On 3 March 2012, AgustaWestland AW139 PH-EUF was delivered together with
AW139 PH-EUG via Schiphol East to Den Helder Airport in the Netherlands.