Twin-engined, eight-seat helicopter with retractable undercarriage, weighing about 2000 kgs.
- Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney 206C Turboshafts
- Thrust: 561shp each
- Max speed: 168kts
- Length: 13.07m
- Max altitude: 0ft
- Span: 10.99m
- Aircrew: 1
Who uses the Agusta A 109 E
Three Agusta 109E Power helicopters are operated by No 32 (The Royal) Squadron, at RAF Northolt. These aircraft replaced the Twin Squirrel in 2006 in the VIP transport and Communication roles. The A 109 is operated by a single pilot.
The aircraft is a twin-engined, eight-seat helicopter with retractable undercarriage, weighing about 2000 kgs and cleared to operate up to 3000 kgs. The rotor system comprises four main rotor blades and two tail rotor blades of composite construction. The main rotor head has elastomeric bearings, while the tail rotor is a teetering type, both driven by conventional gearboxes. The A109 has two independent hydraulic circuits, driven from the main rotor gearbox: one provides power to one side of the main servo jacks and gives servo assistance to the tail rotor, while the other services the other side of the main jacks and powers the utility services for undercarriage movement and braking. The fuselage is in two main parts, the main cockpit and cabin section and the tail boom. Both are of aluminium semi-monocoque design for lightness and strength and the main section is extremely crash-worthy. The earliest A 109s were built by Agusta in the late 1970s, while the Power derivatives stem from the mid 1990s. The aircraft flown by 32 (The Royal) Squadron were delivered from the factory in Milan in March 2006. It can be flown by a single pilot in all weather conditions, by day and night. The aircraft has a “glass cockpit” with two complete sets of pilot instruments and navigation systems, including a three-axis autopilot, an auto-coupled Instrument Landing System and a satellite-based Global Positioning System. There is also a Moving Map Display, weather radar and a Traffic Alerting System.
The A 109 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney 206C engines, housed in independent fire-proof bays and controlled by Full Authority Digital Engine Control Units. These reliable engines drive fuel and oil pumps and a generator for all electrical loads; this also acts as the engine starter. The twin-engine design gives the pilot more flexibility when planning routes over built-up areas, as the aircraft can operate at limited weights on a single engine; therefore even if power from one engine is lost, the aircraft can maintain height to clear the built-up area. The twin-engine design also increases safety margins when flying in and out of confined landing sites.