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109's - Versions

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There is the 109-K, which has fixed gear as opposed to retracting gear.  This helicopter was developed for sale to Lybia and it originally had Allison engines installed.  The American government would not allow the sale of the Allison engines so Agusta swapped out the Allisons for Turbomeca engines and therein lies the difference between the A-109-K and the rest of the A-109 line.



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There is a table on the Sloane Helicopters site in England which compares the various models. BUT BEWARE! Their maths is way out, and one model is shown as having full fuel and a payload of 190 Kg, but it really is only 90 Kg i.e. the pilot by himself! I emailed them about this misleading info 3 years ago, but it is still there.


We had an A 109A MkII Widebody, made in 1986. The Mark II indicates it has the Allison C20R engines, which supposedly give better hot'n'high performance. The widebody is a good mod, with 7" extra shoulder room in the back. It had a funny half-cover across the fuel inlets, to sort of give a range extender effect. Well, yes, it did work, but there was always some fuel that slopped over the barrier and rested against the cap, so when the fuel man opened the cap it shot half a litre of fuel down his trouser leg or onto the golf course or wherever you are parked. And he needed a skinny nozzle to get fuel into the tank over the baffle.


Ours also had aircon, and an aux fuel tank in the tailboom, so with full aux fuel we could carry the pilot plus one!


With full pax (4 in back in club config) and one up front with the driver, we had 45 mins endurance plus 30 mins reserve. And in Oz, you can hardly get anywhere in 45 minutes, even at 145 kt. Sadly useless.


And for a tall pilot, the front seat is very cramped, with the nosewheel steering lock digging into my left knee. :angry:


Electrics were a pain, as engine starts could only be made off external power or the battery - can't turn on a generator after first engine on line, as the drive quill can snap under the sudden load of the second start. You could turn it on briefly to give the battery a top-up, but this adds some minutes to getting going.


Ours had about 90kg of instruments in the panel - I hope the newer versions have glass screens and such to reduce the weight. :P

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I've operated both 109A and AII, both of which had the standard C20.  Original A was a dog, although the one I flew had a chequered career, and suffered accordingly.  The AII I had (now on the bottom of the South China Sea, the cargo ship taking it to Florida ran aground...!!) was a neat aircraft, but suffered a few shortcomings, especially when it got hot.  That's when you need the aircon, which either couldn't be used because of the increased TOT, or if it was used, pulled the torque down so far to keep the TOT in limits that a JetRanger could overtake you in the cruise!


We had corporate interior, air con, extra fuel tank, and all the IFR goodies, so it was heavy at 1820kg, max gross 2600kg,  Max fuel with overload tank would get up to about 530-540kg (trick for extra fuel, fill the mains, close the caps, turn on the boost pumps and start filling the overload tank.  Boost pumps would transfer fuel to the mains from the overload tank, filling up past the bottom of the closed caps.  Don't undo the filler caps, though!), so payload would only be 250kg or so.  Also, severe aft CofG with aft tank full.


Not much legroom in the cabin or cockpit, which puts the pilot on the cheeks of his backside for a long time, very uncomfortable.  The nosewheel lock is supposed to be in for takeoff, which gets it out of the way, but a lot of pilots seem to leave it out, which puts the lever pressing on your left calf, which gets a bit sore.


Normal cruise at max gross, about 135kts, light it gets up to around 148kias with cruise power.  Max continuous Tq is 121%, so we generally pull about 85-90% indicated, which equates to about 75% of max continuous.  Common sense prevailed with the C model onwards, and 100% is max continuous!


Like all things mechanical and Italian, it loves oil leaks.  The spindle reservoirs constantly leak oil, which gets all over the machine, cure for empty reservoirs was to make them bigger on the 109C  ???   I made a couple of east bound IFR runs Melbourne Sydney non stop, but reserves can get a bit tight.  Quite frankly, 2 hours is about as much as you'd want in one go, unless you're under 5' 6", or have very short legs.

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  • 3 months later...

There needs to be some clarification on the 109-K model by one of the respondents...there is no K model of the A109.

The A109K2 model was built specifically for the Swiss replacing the allison C20's with Turbomeca--the reason for this was much better performance in hot and high conditions. The newest 'power' version, the A109E is an updated derivative of the K2.

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  • 2 months later...

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