Expected to make a significant dent in the US market, having just received FAA type certification, Leonardo has unveiled the latest in its line of helicopters – the AW109 Trekker: its first light twin to offer skid landing gear.
Given that North America is the largest EMS market for light twin helicopters (previous variants of the AW109 have proven very popular in North America for VIP, EMS utility and homeland security roles), Leonardo’s AW109 Trekker is likely to fare extremely well. What’s more, the AW109 Trekker is the ‘fastest light twin for quick law enforcement and rescue intervention and is the only one featuring a cabin allowing full patient body accessibility from head to toes for EMS’, states Leonardo.
The AW109 Trekker maintains the AW109 Grand airframe, large cabin, high performance, high manoeuvrability, robustness, advanced navigation capabilities and high inherent safety of the other light twin helicopters produced by Leonardo. It also offers a ‘greater payload at a competitive cost’, outperforming its earlier counterparts in terms of meeting the capability and cost-effective requirements of the operators.
In addition, the AW109 Trekker integrates the Genesis Aerosystems ‘glass’ cockpit, which provides pilots with only the necessary info during flight, allowing them more time to focus in sometimes difficult weather and flying conditions. Power is provided by two FADEC equipped Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207C turbine engines.
The cabin of the AW109 Trekker can accommodate up to six people; or one stretcher and three or four medical attendants; or two stretchers and two medical attendants. Alternatively, the aircraft is also capable of single-pilot operation, allowing an additional passenger in the cockpit.
The AW109 Trekker incorporates many safety features (including a cocoon-type airframe, crash resistant fuel system, and a 30-minute ‘run-dry’ main gear box), is designed with a modular configuration approach in order to meet different needs (from single pilot VFR to dual pilot IFR), and is available with a wide range of role equipment (including a cargo hook, external rescue hoist, searchlight, video downlink, snow skis and emergency floats), as well as a wide range of interior layouts to meet various customers’ operational requirements.
Deliveries to customers started in 2018 and there have now been over 60 AW109 Trekker orders logged so far in Europe, North and Latin America and Asia.