Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) received its first AW139 helicopter, during a ceremony held on October 13th, at Miami Executive Airport in the presence of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, MDFR officials and representatives of Leonardo Helicopters site in Philadelphia. This helicopter is the first of four aircraft part in a contract signed in early December of 2019, which also includes a comprehensive 5-year support, maintenance and training package, with the possibility of a further extension to a total of 15 years.
The fleet of four AW139s will support MDFR in a multitude of missions which include emergency medical services (EMS), firefighting, Search and Rescue (SAR) and disaster relief. Within the frame of this contract, we are also supporting MDFR with a comprehensive four-month plan that creates a straightforward and efficient transition, so that while taking delivery of the AW139s MDFR will familiarize with their new aircraft, which are different from the Bell 412s they are currently operating, and therefore will be fully operational with their four AW139s effortlessly, as soon as they will enter service.
Miami-Dade is the most populous county in the state, located along the southeast tip of the Florida peninsula, with a surface exceeding 2,000 square miles and one-third of the county located in Everglades National Park. The AW139s will be deployed also to provide mutual aid support to neighboring counties including Monroe, Collier, Broward and Lee.
The AW139 is the most successful helicopter program in the last 15 years, among its impressive numbers we can count over 1100 orders in more than 70 countries on all continents and over 2.9 million flight hours logged since the first delivery in 2004. Deliveries have surpassed 1,000 units globally.
The AW139s built for MDFR have the ability to quickly reconfigure the cabin interior based upon which mission MDFR will be operating and are equipped with an impressive set of mission equipment to allow the crews to perform to their best capability, including a Goodrich hoist, fast roping, cargo hook and Bambi bucket for firefighting missions, a Trakka searchlight, a FLIR, a mission console in the cabin linked to the 5th display in the cockpit, broadband radios to include USCG Comms, a weather radar and many different avionics system such as traffic alert and collision avoidance (TCAS), obstacle and terrain avoidance, obstacle avoidance detection and are compatible for NVG.
The AW139 has proven extremely successful in the global commercial market. With its dual-use design for the type has also been selected by many military operators worldwide. Always adapting, the AW139 increased its max take-off from 6.4 to 7 tons and able is to fly in all weather conditions with advanced protection against icing. It is the only model capable of 60 minutes of flight without oil in the transmission, double the time set by certification authorities.
Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue