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Leonardo A109 - five decades today

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Leonardo A109 - five decades today

Old 4th Aug 2021, 10:17
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Leonardo A109 - five decades today

Just got email from Leonardo regarding 50 years of AW109 as on this day in 1971 the first prorotype flew.
(Photo courtesy of Leonardo)

https://www.leonardocompany.com/en/p...on-versatility

Cheers

Last edited by chopper2004; 4th Aug 2021 at 13:55.
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Old 4th Aug 2021, 11:25
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They are a very different beast today. One of the nicest and most capable helis in its class.

But not very reliable at times, and expensive to fix….
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Old 5th Aug 2021, 04:56
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looking at this vintage pic reminds me that some aircraft are born beautifull like the A109, some grow beautifull later like the AS365



does anybody know if the the A109 had a previous design that served as blue print? (like this AS365 the nose takes queues from the allouette III)
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Old 5th Aug 2021, 06:23
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does anybody know if the the A109 had a previous design that served as blue print?
How about the Bell 206L Long Ranger? Very similar silhouette and internal layout. And Bell had a close relationship with Agusta.


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Old 5th Aug 2021, 08:00
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The first A109 into Australia appeared out of a large box in Hangar 103 at Essendon Airport back in 1982 when we (Okanagan Australia) were operating a couple of S76As out to the Bass Strait.

We were somewhat snobbish, looking sideways at this toy destined for a mining operation in Queensland; but how the type has stood the test of time and matured into a great middle range executive twin

Mind you, some have led less than a charmed life: don't answer the mobile phone when on short finals on one engine



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Old 5th Aug 2021, 08:45
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Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie View Post
How about the Bell 206L Long Ranger? Very similar silhouette and internal layout.
And didn’t the A109 start off with J/LR pedals? (Along with other AB components).
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Old 5th Aug 2021, 09:03
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Pretty sure the Long Ranger first flew several years after the A109.
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 03:13
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Happy 50th to the A109. I used to think Airwolf was built from an A109 when I was a little kid, I didn't know about the 222 at that time.

Kestrel had a maroon and gold (from memory) A109 operating joyflights in Melbourne and we used to skateboard down on weekends to watch it.
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 05:17
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Originally Posted by Tickle View Post
Happy 50th to the A109. I used to think Airwolf was built from an A109 when I was a little kid, I didn't know about the 222 at that time.

Kestrel had a maroon and gold (from memory) A109 operating joyflights in Melbourne and we used to skateboard down on weekends to watch it.
You skateboarding to the WTC helipad: that makes me feel a bit older as my son was (and still is) a skateboarding kid!

The maroon with gold striping A109AII was Rino Grollo's VH-LUI, which I operated for a while back in 1990-94. A mixed blessing for many reasons, it was then replaced with an A109C. Kestrel also had their share of looking after it, Dave S had his start in aviation initially managing the WTC helipad before being trained on LUI.

IIRC there was a bit of a requirement from CASA for autos during the training which meant he had to switch to a single for that section; how many can claim to have gone through PPL and CPL primarily on an A109?




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Old 6th Aug 2021, 06:16
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Shaped like a fish, slipped through the air easily, 145 kt cruise without a whimper, 168 kt if you pushed it.

A bit like an Italian sports car, though. With 2 up, it carried full fuel. With 6 or 7 on board, lucky to get 45 minutes out of it before needing another small sip. And if the extra tank was full, having 2 on board meant they were the skinny ones - at least it was that way on our rather heavy Mk 2 Plus (pictured further up wheels-up...). Those cast-iron gyros and autopilot were heavy. If we had the glass screens and modern gear of today it would be 90kg lighter.
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 08:20
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Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie View Post
Shaped like a fish, slipped through the air easily, 145 kt cruise without a whimper, 168 kt if you pushed it.

A bit like an Italian sports car, though. With 2 up, it carried full fuel. With 6 or 7 on board, lucky to get 45 minutes out of it before needing another small sip. And if the extra tank was full, having 2 on board meant they were the skinny ones - at least it was that way on our rather heavy Mk 2 Plus (pictured further up wheels-up...). Those cast-iron gyros and autopilot were heavy. If we had the glass screens and modern gear of today it would be 90kg lighter.
I've got a bit of time in the LUH version with all the glass and modern gear. Wasn't much lighter as we just heaped more stuff in it. I used to compare it to an Italian sports car too. Awesome for what it was designed for but we would take them "off road" which left you feeling like its not the best machine out there.
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Old 7th Aug 2021, 00:40
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Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie View Post
Shaped like a fish, slipped through the air easily, 145 kt cruise without a whimper, 168 kt if you pushed it.

A bit like an Italian sports car, though. With 2 up, it carried full fuel. With 6 or 7 on board, lucky to get 45 minutes out of it before needing another small sip. And if the extra tank was full, having 2 on board meant they were the skinny ones - at least it was that way on our rather heavy Mk 2 Plus (pictured further up wheels-up...). Those cast-iron gyros and autopilot were heavy. If we had the glass screens and modern gear of today it would be 90kg lighter.
The original A109A and A II with C20s was seriously under-powered, comparison with later (E onward) models is chalk and cheese. Plus that over-engineered cantilever undercarriage taking up weight and space was a disaster: especially when the pax tapped you on the shoulder 10 minutes after departing Buller and asking when you intended to bring in the airbrakes?

Ascend Charlie maybe you can give the full story behind the wheels up in my previous photo?
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Old 7th Aug 2021, 05:42
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Thanks for sharing those photos, John. Sure brings backs good memories! No wonder I remember seeing nice photos of LUI in front of the Rialto Towers, since it was owned by Grollo who's company built it of course.
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Old 7th Aug 2021, 07:19
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Ascend Charlie maybe you can give the full story behind the wheels up in my previous photo?
Well, since it wasn't me, and the culprit has left Oz, ok.

The 109A Mk 2 Plus Widebody was in the cruise, when the torque gauge on #1 started to fail. Pilot notices Tq split and warning, tries to beep #1 up. The engine beeps up as requested, though the gauge shows Tq going down, and the Tq sharing rolls #2 down to avoid a rotor overspeed.

Pilot panics now, thinks he is about to have a massive problem with #1 apparently "dead" and #2 down near idle - but it is still flying. Confusion, big-time. He heads towards Cessnock, a few miles away, and hops on the phone to HQ to tell them he is diverting to CNK. Joins for wide right base, and HQ rings him back for more details.
He answers the phone.
He hasn't thought about the trouble-shooting at all. An inspection would have shown #1 N1 and N2 happily up at normal settings, and #2 N1 idling and N2 normal.
He doesn't do pre-landing checks.
He doesn't respond to the Radalt warning.
He doesn't respond to the Gear Up warning.
He does wonder why it stops so fast on the runway, he doesn't need brakes, and he is so low to the ground.
The pipe fittings for a long-range tank are still on the underside, despite the tank having been removed from the cabin. The fittings are scraped off, the fuel in the tank sees an easy way out, and spreads itself all over the runway.
Council sends a repair bill of $30,000.
Pilot leaves the country.
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Old 7th Aug 2021, 10:00
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As sad as the event might have been back then, I did enjoy reading your laid back, concise rapport of that incident. thx a Lot!
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Old 9th Aug 2021, 11:45
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Would be interested to hear from any 109 pilots who are based in the North West of England
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Old 13th Aug 2021, 12:01
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I well recall a television interview where a travel reporter, in repose in the back seat, was regaled by AC with tales of corporates, pub crawls, weddings, consumations and other shenanigans in that machine…..


Do I recall correctly that it was fixed and sold?
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