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A109SP (GRAND NEW) Operators (Problems TR?)

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A109SP (GRAND NEW) Operators (Problems TR?)

Old 28th Aug 2013, 01:06
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A109SP (GRAND NEW) Operators (Problems TR?)

We are operating an A109SP at higher DA's and us and a couple of other operators around are having severe problems with Tail Rotor Autority on the the A109SP, this due to the fact that the TR has remained almost the same although the aircraft has increased power and weight considerably, I know the Tail Rotor has enough authority for lower DA's but at higher altitudes this just is not the case.

We have had instances where with even the slightest wind from the critical azimuth (less than 5 knots) the aircraft with just yaw with the pedal all the way to the stop, even with low weights and average power.

I am sure Agusta is aware of this problem since we have become aware REGA/Switzerland (Da Vinci operators, which is practically identical in TR control system to the Grand New) has complained about this dangerous flight condition and Agusta immediately responded with 2 bulletins (One is Mandatory) (109SP-047 and 049) that modify the Autoflight Software and the Mechanical TR controls, this I understand makes a huge difference.

UNFORTUNATELY I suspect that due to economical/commercial reasons they are trying to make this bulletin NOT applicable to ALL 109SP machines, although the TR system and control system is practically identical and doing this would improve the safety of all A109SP operators.

Anybody here operates an 109SP at higher DA's and has had problems with their TR authority? Are you aware of these bulletins?
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Old 28th Aug 2013, 13:13
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Didn't quite get the full meaning of the reference to other operators. Are you saying this issue will also affect the earlier 109S aircraft? It has the same tail rotor, same MAUM.
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Old 29th Aug 2013, 04:50
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Didn't quite get the full meaning of the reference to other operators. Are you saying this issue will also affect the earlier 109S aircraft? It has the same tail rotor, same MAUM.
I'm not sure if and I doubt if it affects older S models, the S does not have the same Flight Control Computer, plus the S has considerable differences in fuselage and other major components from the SP.

The Bulletins that Agusta came out with to resolve the issue, involve modifying the SP model FCC software, plus other mechanical items.

I have flown the S model and then the SP, and the SP has definately LESS TR authority. This is why I understand REGA choose to complain about problem to AGUSTA, but the latter I believe has decided to selectively solve the issue for only some customers, I'm guessing for economic reasons? If you think about it REGA has a lot of say as they are a large operator of the same model, but all the other scattered operators are not as powerful, plus the fact that a lot of these other scattered operators rarely go up high which is where the issue becomes a dangerous issue, and noticable.

In addition to the above mentioned problems, we have had problems with the Engines going to MANUAL during shutdown to which PW and Agusta are clueless about, tons of problems with the Autoflight Trim Actuators, and just recently we have had continuous disaligment issues on the link that slides the TR pitch change bearing, the other SP operators around here are also complaining about the same issues, but Agusta seems to be able to do very little.

Last edited by BlenderPilot; 29th Aug 2013 at 04:52.
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Old 29th Aug 2013, 20:32
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I've access to the AW website and have read the relevant BTs. It does seem strange that they don't just mod the whole fleet. Economic reasons, no doubt. Complain loud enough and maybe you'll get dealt with in a more satisfactory way. We did....

Hopefully the problems will get ironed out before we get our SP; we had to deal with most of the maladies that the early S suffered from and some other, less common ones too.
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Old 25th Sep 2013, 11:30
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A109SP T/R

Good morning Blender,

Can you please give me more info on the DA are you operating?

Did you operate on the same conditions with a S model??

Basically the S and SP has the same T/R.

There is no way for the A/P to affect your mechanical control into the T/R, so for me sounds like a Rigging problem, only if you are into the graphs.

Best Regards to all

Daniel R
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Old 7th Oct 2013, 22:40
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A109sp general problems

Just wondering if there is are any serious 109SP operators out there who are experiencing huge problems from weight issues,autopilot and general complaints?!
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Old 7th Oct 2013, 23:53
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Just wondering if there is are any serious 109SP operators out there who are experiencing huge problems from weight issues,autopilot and general complaints?!
What qualifies as "serious operators"? We have +8 in Country and all have interesting problems, especially from Autopilot, and Tail Rotor Authority, of course it is HEAVY but we knew that.

:-)
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Old 8th Oct 2013, 09:04
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Autopilot issues

May I ask what sort of autopilot issues have you had, as we've certainly had a few ourselves!

I'm guessing your machines are fitted with the aux tanks. Have you had yr aircraft re weighed after leaving Italy?
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Old 8th Oct 2013, 11:41
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The "vanilla" SP appears to weigh about 100 kgs more than the equivalent S. Not sure at this stage what advantages are seen by changing to the new model because the MAUM remains the same.
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Old 8th Oct 2013, 13:30
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I would suggest getting yr SP re weighed after it comes out of the factory due to the fact that Agusta were 70kg incorrect on ours.
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Old 8th Oct 2013, 16:03
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Problem solved

We had a similar amount of problems with the 109 Grand SP and very little response from the Italians, we sold the 109's and we got a new 429, a little bit slower, but after operating both the Italians can keep the 109's and their @#$%& support. Good luck Blender, have a Corona.
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Old 9th Oct 2013, 02:55
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Out of interest, has anyone else found that their aircraft are heavier than the Vergiate factory weighing report indicates?
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Old 9th Oct 2013, 09:06
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Ours weighed nearly 60kg more than the original Vergiate factory weight, have you experienced a similar problem?
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Old 9th Oct 2013, 18:28
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AP Avionics Problems with the SP model,

1.- At first it would just not capture anything vertical, even with the Agusta instructor doing all the APP setup and flying it himself it would just fly past ILS or VFR App NGS's.

2.- The Yaw Trim Actuators would freeze at a certain position, or not catch up in time and that would kick the AP in YAW channel off, freezing the actuator at the worst possible position and leaving us on landing with limited pedal travel.

3.- The daily AP Test is nearly impossible to pass before flight under normal circumstances, we have to first turn on AP's and move all controls, leave them on for a few seconds, and then try the test, where it passes most of the time.

4.- The Cobbaham screens have all had to be replaced because their software has been corrupted at some point or another.

5.- The installation of GPS antenna cable is really lousy and the cables are too tight so they have rubbed to the point of failure, also with any rain you get Dual GPS failure because the water.

6.- None of the enroute VNAV modes that the Cobbham can provide are coupled to the AP, since Agusta decided not to hook them up.

JUST TO NAME A FEW, HOW ABOUT YOURSELF?

The aircraft was improperly weighed at the Factory, it is actually heavier I just can remember how much, but ours weight almost 150 kgs more than a standard SP.

NOw as far the engines go, we have a problem where BOTH engines will go manual when the they are in spooldown, BOTH to ECU FAIL, Magenta, Agusta has not done anything that solves this problem, I say that maybe one meant a localized problem, but how can both go to manual? What happens if they both decide to go south in flight? If you ask the tec rep he says "it would be helpful for him if we pulled the aircraft from service to put pressure but he can't make the call" contrary to when Bell sees something funny they just say, "AOG and let's fix it, we are not taking any risks", but how can we AOG an aircraft if Agusta due to political reasons does not back you up with the VIP?

Not the thing about the Service Bulletins that Agusta has selectively (due to political reasons) has only made available to REGA is what really makes me angry, flying with a lacking tair rotor it's just as dangeorous to those who fly in the ALPS as to those who fly in the mountains of Mexico where we rarely go below 9,000 Feet Density Altitude.
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Old 17th Apr 2017, 00:35
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Looking to possibly replace our 109 Grand to a new Grand New. Just looking for some feed back if the bugs have been worked out and is the Grand New performing well after being on the market now for a few years.

Our Grand works great for what we do boss just thinking about something new.

Appreciate anyone's opinions with their operation of the Grand SP.
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Old 17th Apr 2017, 02:12
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Hi garsr1,

Been operating the SP for awhile now, I've had none of the above issues and have actually had very good support from the Italians.

You will get a few more bugs with the avionics in the SP than you will in the S model, the SP will be a lot heavier than the S model. However it's almost like they are completely different machines, with so much going on up the front of the SP. A factory course is a must.

If the S is running well and has a good payload, I wouldn't upgrade. However if the boss really wants to upgrade then I would say go for it, it's a great machine.

NiB
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Old 17th Apr 2017, 03:14
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Our S model runs great. I would be happy with new paint and a new MFD something with more capable. The areas we land the Grand is the right fit.

New SP means a tax break. Definitely a factory transition would be in order. We were also looking at the AW169, useful load is a bit low with full fuel. The 169 would probably be the largest size we could operate.

Demo the Airbus H160. Performs well but at 12,500 GW and $19 million US size and the price are bit big.

Glad to hear that Italy got the bugs worked out.
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Old 17th Apr 2017, 13:29
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I'm sorry, did you say US$19 mil for an H160??? That is around US$10 mil more than an AW169 and US$3 mil more than an AW139.

Are you sure about that price?

As for the SP over the S.... Yeah, the SP is a good machine. Heavier, but more capable avionics wise. The S model has the E model avionics and electrics in it. SP is more like a 139 in that it is DC only, no AC.

Astronautics are bringing out an STC this year (hopefully) where you can replace the four small displays with two large format Astronautics Roadrunner displays. VERY cost effective and gives a more modern look to the cockpit as well as allowing for more advanced options to show up on the screen (HTAWS for instance).

Not sure where you are in the US, but find a local with an SP and see how they like it.

Maybe go fly it if they'll let you.
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Old 18th Apr 2017, 01:18
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Airbus is calling the H160 the Bugatti of the skies.

I was also looking at Avadyne for upgrades as well. I still need to find out if they are compatible with the EFIS tubes. It looks promising it could be plug and play if it's the case
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Old 18th Apr 2017, 14:09
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I don't care if it is the Bugatti of the skies, if it costs that much I'd be shopping for two of something else!

Although it does look purrrrrty.

I looked into 109E/S cockpit upgrades to get rid of the four small EFIS screens.

To replace them with 2 large format displays and bring pitot static data on to the screens (speed/alt/VS etc), was going to cost approx US$220k per ship. Finding IFR certified displays that could handle everything, plus the cost of integrating the autopilot and other sensors already used on the 109E/S, or replacing those sensors with sensors that were compatible with the displays, really increased the cost beyond anything reasonable.

So I'm waiting for Astronautics to complete the 109E/S STC for the Roadrunner screens. Still won't have speed/alt on the EFIS, but the screens are cheaper to purchase and cheaper to repair and are in a nice large size.

Talking to Astronautics, they are hopeful that the complete STC kit for one aircraft will be around US$100k. Plug and play system with a small wiring harness to adapt from the aircraft connectors to the screen connectors. Install should take around 2 hours per aircraft.
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