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Agusta Bell 206B
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PH-EUK AgustaWestland AW139 c/n 31474 - CHC Helicopters Netherlands - Den Helder Airport in Holland - 24 August 2019 Den Helder-De Kooy (EHKD)

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 760 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 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 new 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 19 March 2013, AgustaWestland AW139 s/n 31474 was registered G-LOVV with CHC Scotia, Aberdeen, as holder. In April 2014, the G-LOVV was seen in service with CHC at Malta. On 2 June 2014, registration G-LOVV was cancelled as exported to the Cayman Islands and registered VP-CHF with CHC. In June 2014, the AgustaWestland AW139 was seen as VP-CHF at Malta. On 4 Decmber 2014, the VP-CHF arrived with its sistership VP-CHJ out of Agadir at Rotterdam Airport where both helicopters were stored. On 28 December 2014, both helicopters were flown to Den Helder, where they were prepared for transport to Suriname. In January 2015, both helicopters were transported by road to Maastrich-Aachen Airport from where they were flown in an Antonov AN 124 to Paramaribo Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport (SMJP) in Suriname. On 13 December 2016, the AW139 was restored to the UK-register as G-SNSH again with CHC Scotia, Aberdeen. On 7 May 2019, registration G-SNSH was cancelled as exported to the Netherlands. The same day, the 2013-built AgustaWestland AW139 was registered PH-EUK with CHC Helicopters Netherlands, Den Helder.
On 24 August 2019, AgustaWestland AW139 PH-EUK was seen in service with CHC at Den Helder Airport in the Netherlands.

page last updated: 26-08-2019
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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