The Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) at Boscombe Down in England, part of the QinetiQ Group, has added an AgustaWestland A109 Power helicopter to its training fleet. The addition of the A109 has significantly increased the capacity of the School to train helicopter test pilots and flight test engineers and will help ETPS to meet the growing demand for places on its rotary wing courses.
The aircraft has arrived at Boscombe Down in time for the start of the 2007 rotary wing training course and, during the 12-month course, engineering modifications will be carried out to instrument the aircraft. This will increase its training capability and make it available for use in syllabus exercises, which currently use the School's instrumented Lynx and Sea-King helicopters.
Commenting on the latest addition to the air fleet, ETPS Business Group Manager, Steve Westwood, said: "The additional flexibility this aircraft brings to the air fleet means that more students can benefit from ETPS training. In addition to the extra capacity the A109 Power helicopter brings, the rotary wing students will gain experience of flying a 'state-of-the-art' helicopter with modern systems and avionics. "
The AgustaWestland A109 Power is a lightweight, twin engine, multipurpose helicopter with eight seats in its standard corporate/VIP layout. For its role with ETPS this will be modified to provide a utility cabin with a flight engineer station in the main cabin.
In addition to the AgustaWestland A109 Power helicopter, the ETPS rotary wing training fleet comprises two Sea King, two Lynx and three Gazelle helicopters.