AW169 testing continues with loadlifting in Big Bear Valley

AW169 testing continues with loadlifting in Big Bear Valley 26 Nov, 15, Source:

A local news outlet – Big Bear Grizzly – has reported that AgustaWestland were testing the AW169 at Big Bear City Airport last week.  This is located at Big Bear Lake, a mountain community 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles and surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest.  Altitude ranges from the airport at 6,752 ft asl up to 9,000 ft, and they average over 300 days of sunshine each year. (Perhaps should move there from the UK!)

With EASA certification already granted, the manufacturer is keen to secure the FAA ticket, and is working hard with that in mind.  The AW team has taken prototype AC3 with them, and started this work in Colorado for three months, testing at even higher elevations, with reports of landings at 15,000 feet.  The team then moved on to Thermal, California, near the Salton Sea, to test the AW169’s rescue hoist and cargo hook, before arriving at Big Bear.

The team is being led by test pilot Giuseppe Segreto, and is at Big Bear to validate the helicopters ability to lift 1000kg at 10,000 ft. In Big Bear, the AW169 is being flown with 1100 kg on the hook, with the higher weight making up for the altitude being slightly less than 10,000 feet.  The expectation is that the available test results can be extrapolated to demonstrate the “1000kg at 10,000 ft” numbers to the FAA.  The AW169 was unable to carry this much at 15,000ft in Colorado.

Jeremy Parkin –


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