AW109 has many variations, but basically they all have quite the same configuration.
As you know, on June 10, 2019, a helicopter has crashed onto the roof of a building in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, just blocks from Times Square and Central Park. The helicopter was identified as an Agusta A109E aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot was the only person on board.
The A109E helicopter is a civilian upgrade version of the famous AW109 helicopter line built by the Italian manufacturer Leonardo. The AW109 has been in continuous production for 40 years and has been used in various roles, including light transport, medevac, search-and-rescue, and military roles.
The AW109 is a lightweight, twin-engine helicopter made by AgustaWestland in Italy. The AW109 is a very popular helicopter used by military forces in many countries like Switzerland, New Zealand and Italy.
In 2013, AgustaWestland has won the bidding to supply eight attack helicopters worth $80 million for the Philippine Air Force. Recently in January 2018 – The Nigerian defense budget has set aside funds for the purchase of two AW109 helicopters. These contracts continue to expand AgustaWestland’s presence in the world helicopter market.
AW109 is mainly used for tasks such as hostage rescue, transport, medical transport. The cost of a helicopter above is about $6.3 million.
In the late 1960s, Agusta designed the A109 originally as a single-engine commercial helicopter, but was redesigned for twin engines to provide safety, with two Allison 250-C14 turboshaft engines. The prototype A109C prototype performing its first flight on August 4, 1971. Testing was halted for a time due to a minor accident, but resumed in 1972. The first production aircraft being completed almost four years later in April 1975.
The original product has been designated as A109. In 2000, Agusta and Westland of the UK decided to merge, and so the variant was redesignated the AW109. Although AgustaWestland became Leonardo Helicopters in 2016, the AW109 designation persists.
AW109 has many variations, but basically they all have quite the same configuration. It was an elegant, streamlined rotorcraft with retractable landing gear, featuring a conventional main-tail rotor layout. It was built mostly of light aircraft aluminum alloys, with a four-blade main rotor made of metal with honeycomb fill – and a two-blade tail rotor, made of stainless steel, on the left side of the tailfin. A folding main rotor was available as an option. There was a ventral fin with skid under the tail.
The helicopter has a length of 13.4m, a width of 7.8m and a maximum height of 3.5m. The main and tail rotor diameters are 11m and 1.94m respectively. The helicopter is operated by one or two pilots and accommodates up to seven passengers. The cockpit is fitted with pilot doors and windows with sliders. The cabin has two large sliding doors and double-layer acrylic windows.
The helicopter can be equipped with 1,400kg cargo hook, 272kg external rescue hoist, searchlight, external loudspeakers, forward looking infrared radar, video downlink, snow skis and emergency floats to meet various operational requirements. The helicopter has a maximum take-off weight of 3,175kg without external load and 3,200kg with external loads, while the useful load is more than 1,500kg.
The helicopter can be fitted with either Rockwell Collins ProLine II or Honeywell Silver Crown avionics suite. The navigation systems include an automatic direction finding navigation aid, distance measuring equipment, a global positioning system, a radar altimeter, an emergency locator transponder, a VHF omnidirectional radio ranger, ground speed meter and inertial location system.
The AW109 first appeared in the aptly-designated A109A production model fitted with twin Allison 250-C14 turboshafts provided 370 horsepower each. There were fuel tanks in the rear fuselage with a total capacity of 550 liters. Following the A109A, in 1981 Agusta released the “A109A Mark II”, the primary change being uprated Allison 250-C20B turboshafts with 400 shark horsepower each.
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The A109E Power became a modernized commercial passenger model, Customers had a choice of two engines for the Power: Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW206C with power of 640 shark horsepower, or the Arrius 2K1 has a take-off power of 750 shark horsepower. The A109E Power Elite is another variant developed from A109E, which introduced a lengthened fuselage sporting more interior volume. The cockpit was all-modern with digital readouts, satellite navigation and Multi-Function Displays for both pilots.
In addition, this helicopter series also includes many other military variants including A109K, A109M, A109KN, etc. The AW109 helicopter can climb at the rate of 9.8m a second. The maximum and cruise speeds of the helicopter are 311km/h and 285km/h respectively. The service ceiling of the AW109 is 5,974m and the maximum endurance is four hours and 51 minutes. The helicopter weighs around 1,590kg and the maximum take-off weight is 3,000kg.
In general, thanks to its high adaptability, the AW109 series continues to find homes in the inventories of dozens operators around the globe.