Leonardo-Finmeccanica AW189 Full Ice Protection System Certification Clears Way for All-Weather Operations

Leonardo-Finmeccanica announces the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the AW189’s Full Ice Protection System (FIPS), clearing the way for the aircraft to operate in full icing conditions when other helicopters would be grounded.

The EASA certification comes after three years of flight trials in Northern Europe and North America during the winter months to gather data and test the effectiveness of the system. The new system includes electrically heated main and tail rotor blades, heated windscreens and an ice detection system. The standard AW189 helicopter already includes an engine air intake heating system. The system is fully automatic once switched on by the pilot, allowing the pilot to concentrate on other flying activities.

The FIPS is critical for operators flying in Northern Europe, Canada, Russia and the northern United States where icing conditions are common during the winter months. Almost 30 AW189s are today in service in demanding operational conditions in Europe, USA, Middle East and South East Asia.

The FIPS system is now available as an option on the AW189 and follows certification of the Limited Ice Protection System (LIPS) in September 2015. LIPS permits flight within a known and defined envelope of icing conditions, provided that the capability to descend into a known band of positive temperature is available throughout the intended route.

The AW189 was designed in response to the growing market demand for a versatile, affordable, multi-role medium twin-engine helicopter. The new 8.3/8.6 tonne AW189 is optimized for offshore transport and SAR missions. Agreements for approximately 150 helicopters have been logged for customers worldwide, including firm orders, options, and framework contracts, making it the market leader in its class.

The spacious cabin is configured with 16 seats as standard, with the option of a high density 19-seat layout. The cockpit design, incorporating the latest in advanced situational awareness technologies, reduces crew workload and enhances safety. The AW189 meets the very latest international regulatory safety requirements (EASA/FAA Part 29, JAR OPS 3/EU-OPS) and is fully compliant with the latest requirements of the oil and gas producers’ helicopter operations guidelines.

The AW189 is unique in having a 50 minute ‘run-dry’-capable main gearbox, exceeding current certification standards and offering unmatched safety and reliability for long-range, offshore operations. The AW189 is part of the AgustaWestland family of new generation helicopters, including the AW169 and AW139 models which possess the same high-performance flight characteristics and safety features, as well as sharing a common cockpit layout, design philosophy and maintenance concept. This commonality will allow more effective operations for customers operating helicopter fleets across the 4- to 9- tonne weight range.