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AB139 Flight Test Update (Apr. 18)

As the AB139 test program moves forward on schedule, three AB139's have now accumulated over 320 hours of flight time, while a fourth "Tie-Down Helicopter" has completed over 400 hours of engine and systems testing.

Meanwhile, two full size mock-ups of the aircraft have been touring the US, one with a corporate interior and the other equipped for search-and-rescue.

The mock-ups started in Orlando for the Helicopter Association International tradeshow before touring several cities in Florida, New Jersey and Washington DC. At the same time, 1/10 scale models were on display in February at Asian Aerospace in Singapore and in March at Helicopter World's Search and Rescue Conference in Brighton, UK. IFR certification under FAA/ENAC is expected in the fourth quarter of 2002, with first deliveries to follow.

Thus far, aircraft testing has been undertaken across a range of temperatures and under a range of different load configurations and flight conditions. The tests have been successful, confirming or exceeding the expected performance:

--Continuous speed of 157 knots
--a maximum ceiling of 20,000 ft
--a hover out of ground effect (HOGE) of 12,000 ft, and
--a maximum rate of climb of 2,200 ft/min.

As the aircraft moves closer to certification, the finishing touches are being put on its emergency medical, corporate, law enforcement and search-and-rescue configurations.

Each configuration is being developed together with key operators in each market, and progress is being made in identifying specific equipment and options packages for customer selection.


AB139 Test Program Moves Forward On Schedule