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Leonardo has delivered its 100th AW169, setting a major milestone since its European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification in the summer of 2015 for the first all new helicopter in the light intermediate category in decades. The aircraft was handed over to Specialist Aviation Services/Cornwall Air Ambulance during an official ceremony at Leonardo’s plant in Vergiate, Italy, on Dec. 12, 2019.
The delivery marks the first Leonardo helicopter to enter Cornwall Air Ambulance’s fleet; the AW169 will be operated by Specialist Aviation Services and adds another end user to six AW169 EMS customers in the U.K. The twin-engine multi-role helicopter will be conducting EMS operations throughout southwest England.
Over the course of the next few months, the AW169 will undergo a bespoke installation of an aeromedical interior in the hands of the team at Specialist Aviation Services in Gloucestershire. The helicopter is a key platform for EMS missions due to its enhanced safety characteristics. Its main and tail rotors have high clearance which enables safe passenger and crew transportation. Also, the AW169 has large sliding doors which allow easy patient entry and egress.
In addition, the AW169’s auxiliary power unit mode ensures the continued operation of the environmental control systems, radios and medical devices when the rotors are stopped. The large cabin can accommodate two stretchers as well a full suite of the most advanced life support equipment.
The AW169 is in operations around the world in all continents, with over 220 units sold to nearly 90 customers in more than 30 countries. The first AW169M military variant was recently certified adding one more option for government and military operators worldwide.
Designed to provide the highest versatility, the AW169 has established itself as a true multirole helicopter conducting a variety of missions globally: operational awareness, rescue, and transport in support of a wide range of operations, including public safety, counter-terrorism activities, drug enforcement operations, border control, and search-and-rescue, VIP/corporate transport, electronic newsgathering, utility and firefighting, and military duties.
Paula Martin, CEO of Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, commented: “It was very special to return to Vergiate some six years after our first visit, to accept the new air ambulance helicopter for Cornwall. It is clear to us that our careful deliberations concluded in the right choice of aircraft to provide EMS to our largely rural and coastal communities, both now and in the future. The helicopter itself looks outstanding, and I have no doubt that our charity supporters will be completely wowed by what they have made possible when it arrives in Cornwall in spring 2020.”
Luke Farajallah, CEO of Specialist Aviation Services, commented: “We are absolutely delighted and proud to be the partner of choice of the team at Cornwall as we bring the 100th AW169 into operation in early 2020 on their behalf. Our team of pilots and engineers can’t wait to be maintaining and flying this fantastic helicopter in and around the county and to demonstrating its advanced features when and where it’s needed most. Exciting times.”