An AgustaWestland test team is set to return to the U.K. later this week from Canon City, Colo., where it has been flying the first AW159 Lynx Wildcat TI1 at high density altitudes in the Rocky Mountains. The testing is focused on hot-and-high handling characteristics and overall performance evaluations, including simulated engine-out tests of the helicopter’s CTS800 turboshafts.
Lynx Wildcat heads for new heights. (AgustaWestland)
The upgraded Lynx derivative first flew from the company’s Yeovil, England, facility in November 2009 and has since been joined by two sister ships—TI2, the avionics test aircraft, and TI3, which is focused on loads and naval development tasks.
The Canon City airport in Colorado’s Fremont County is 5,400 ft. above sea level and close to several peaks above 8,000 ft. in an environment similar to parts of Afghanistan. Under current plans, the U.K. will initially receive 34 AW159s for the British Army and 28 for the Royal Navy. The Army variant is to enter operational service in 2014; the naval variant will follow in 2015.