8-Jun-2015 Source: HeliHub.com
AgustaWestland have delivered the first production AW169 prior to the type being given certification approval. Serial 69006 was delivered from Italy very early on Saturday 6th June to the UK, still carrying an Italian test registration I-RAIF and flown throughout by an AgustaWestland pilot. The helicopter was delivered to the Dubai Air Wing. The Dubai ruling family have very extensive interests in horse racing in the UK through their Godolphin Stables. Supporting this is a full-time UK-based Sikorsky S76B and two AgustaWestland AW139s which are shipped in from Dubai for 6-7 months each summer racing season. HeliHub.com understands that the S76 could be replaced by an AW169.
Saturday 6th marked the richest race in the UK calendar, The Derby, which dates back to 1779. This race was named after the host of the original race, the 12th Earl of Derby, and in turn provided the name for the later classics such as the Kentucky Derby, was not launched until almost 100 years after the British race. Interestingly, the AW169 was not only delivered into the UK but was actively used through the day to transport members of the Godolphin team between the London Heliport at Battersea, Epsom racecouse (where the Derby is held) and other locations. Yes, prior to certification.
Quite whether this is officially a “customer delivery” is perhaps debatable. However, the helicopter is not in an AgustaWestland house colour scheme like the other four flying prototypes, and does not carry AgustaWestland titles. The very fact that it has been delivered from Italy to the UK and used to transport passengers would strongly suggest that it is a customer aircraft.
In November 2013, AgustaWestland announced a sale of five AW169s to the “Dubai Police”, which effectively means the Dubai Government aviation department, also known as the Dubai Air Wing
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
Photos © Copyright 2015 Oscar Bernardi and reproduced here with his express permission.