Helicopters Leonardo TH-119 performs maiden flight

  • Leonardo

Helicopters manufacturer has announced, that its new TH-119 helicopter has completed the initial test flight.

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The TH-119 IFR training helicopter is a variant of the AgustaWestland AW119 and this successful first flight is a milestone for Leonardo. In early 2019, the manufacturer hopes to gain FAA IFR certification for the aircraft.

Flown by Patrick McKernan, the aircraft took off from the company´s plant in Philadelphia. The flight included an assessment of all avionics systems and the general handling of the aircraft.

Leonardo developed the TH-119 to win the bid for U.S. Navy´s replacement helicopter. The Navy is successively replacing the aging TH-57 Sea Ranger training helicopters. If Leonardo can acquire this contract, it would utilize the Philadelphia facility, which is normally being used to produce AW119 helicopters.

The TH-119 is the only single-engine and IFR-certified helicopters in production for years. Leonardo has specialized in building double-engine helicopters over the last years.

Andrew Gappy, Leonardo Director of U.S. Government Sales said: “Already made in USA, the TH-119 is an affordable, off-the-shelf teaching helicopter that combines proven performance, flexibility and safety. It is built to accomplish every current Navy undergraduate training mission and flight skill maneuver with plenty of room to grow over the venerable TH-57.”

Leonardo describes the TH-119 as the only single engine helicopters that can operates in actual instrument conditions (IMC). That results in more available training days that limit “VFR only” aircraft. With the TH-119, operators can perform various training flights in different circumstances.

In regard of a possible deal with the U.S. Navy, Leonardo wrote: "The TH-119 is manufactured and supported at Leonardo’s existing FAA Part 21 production facility in Philadelphia, providing the Navy a low-risk delivery schedule and fleet support as well as economical single engine costs saving millions of taxpayer dollars over competing twin engine helicopters."

Source © leonardocompany.com

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