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Tracking the Trekker

The AW109 Trekker’s recent entry into service expands the legacy of the popular Leonardo AW109 light-twin on the world market. The Trekker is strong in, and well-suited to, utility and parapublic applications and provides a unique combination of performance, payload and cost-effectiveness. As it nears certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the AW109 Trekker has already logged orders for over 60 units. These orders have come from more than 15 customers in almost a dozen nations worldwide–with nearly 30 percent based in the Americas–adding to the more than 1,550 AW109s sold globally to date.

The robust and reliable 3.175-tonne (7,000-pound) AW109 Trekker design combines the AW109 Grand airframe–which has a large cabin that can accommodate six seats or two medical attendants and two stretchers–with two powerful FADEC-equipped Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207C turbine engines. The Trekker adds Genesys Aerosystems core avionics and a full digital cockpit, for enhanced situational awareness and reduced pilot workload; and rugged skid landing gear, for optimum versatility on unprepared terrains. The new model maintains the top-class maximum speed (over 140-knot/160-mile-an-hour cruise speed) and overall performance of the latest variants of the AW109 Grand/GrandNew, as well their modular and rapidly reconfigurable cabin with wide doors that allow ease of access and egress for passengers, medical attendants and patients. On top of that, the AW109 Trekker adds an even greater payload and utility-oriented flexibility of operation with all-new avionics and a highly competitive price.

The ergonomic, modular glass-cockpit with large-format, six-inch by eight-inch EFIS (electronic flight instrument system) displays can be customized to meet requirements for single- or dual-pilot VFR or IFR. To help maximize safety in single- and dual-pilot operations, and reduce crew workloads, the Trekker integrates a flight management system; 3D synthetic vision system with highway-in-the-sky navigation; helicopter terrain awareness and warning system; moving map and Global Positioning System functions; and ADS-B Out capability. Mission equipment based on tailored solutions can include a cargo/dual-cargo hook, rappelling hooks, rescue hoist, loudspeakers, searchlight, engine particle separator, emergency floats, fire rafts, electro-optical/infrared camera, video downlink, snow skis, mission console and foldable stretchers.

As the newest light-twin engine type on the market certified to the latest standards and with the best productivity in its segment, the AW109 Trekker is ideally suited to perform a wide range of missions, including emergency medical service (EMS) and rescue duties, law enforcement and patrol, utility/aerial work and firefighting, offshore transport, training, and government applications. It is also attractive in the passenger and VIP market–and has an initial order for this dedicated configuration from a customer in Chile.

The AW109 Trekker’s performance characteristics allow for full Category A, Class 1 operations in hot and high conditions, over land and sea, and in a variety of demanding situations. Operators can also leverage enhanced reliability and safety with a transmission that has a 30-minute run-dry capability.

Less than a year after initial deliveries began, the AW109 Trekker has already started performing law-enforcement and EMS missions in Asia. To help support these crews, and every customer, with maximum operational safety and aircraft availability, Leonardo’s global customer support and training network is providing AW109 Trekker operators with a range of service plans and a state-of-the-art training capability.

Heli Tech Insight Magazine 2019

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