Leonardo Helicopters has performed the maiden flight of its TH-119 training helicopter, a type aimed at replacing the US Navy’s fleet of Bell TH-57 Sea Rangers.
The first flight occurred at the company’s plant in Philadelphia on December 20, 2018, and Leonardo says US Federal Aviation Administration certification is due to follow in early 2019. The TH-119 is a variant of the company’s AW119 Koala single-engine IFR helicopter.
The US Navy has a requirement for a new training helicopter to replace the fleet of more than 125 TH-57s currently in service.
Leonardo’s Director of US Government Sales, Andrew Gappy, said: “Already made in the United States, the TH-119 is an affrdable, off-the-shelf teaching helicopter that combines proven performance, flexibility and safety. It is built to accomplish every current US Navy undergraduate training mission and flight skill manoeuvre, with plenty of room to grow over the venerable TH-57.” Nigel Pittaway