19-Oct-2015 Source: HeliHub.com
HeliHub.com can reveal that the privacy-seeking Dubai Air Wing have at least one AgustaWestland AW189 on order, with serial #49023 noted recently test flying in Italy on the factory test registration I-EASN. The helicopter appears to be fitted with retractable steps on each side of the cabin below the doors and courtesy lights above.
The Dubai serial DU-101 is carried – somewhat hidden away under the stabiliser – in just the same way this customer does with their existing four executive AW139 aircraft. Ostensibly operated by the Dubai Police, these aircraft are really VVIP transport for the Dubai ruling Al-Makhtoum family. It is not clear at this time whether the AW189 will replace the AW139 or be additional.
Every summer, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum positions two AW139s from Dubai into the UK to support the Dubai ruling family’s extensive horse racing interests there under the Godolphin Stables name. These are seen at horse racing venues throughout the UK between mid May and mid October each year. Whether the new AW189 will appear in the UK we will have to wait and see – unless they arrange for maintenance cover from either AgustaWestland in Yeovil, or Bristow Helicopters, it seems unlikely at this time.
The aircraft has started test flights from the factory in Italy under the test registration I-EASN in full Dubai Air Wing colours as seen in our photos here, with grateful thanks and © Copyright 2015 Marco Bianchi. The scheme matches their AW139 DU-141.
Earlier this summer the same customer had an executive fit AW169 in the UK between 6th and 17th June – and industry sources tell HeliHub.com that they decided this type was too small for their requirements.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com