- 22 Jun 2021
- Tony Kioussis
- Aviation Podcasts
Leonardo is one of the world’s major suppliers of helicopters across a range of sectors, including the VIP and corporate space. The company continues to produce new variants of well-known brands, while pursuing other projects in a number of areas.
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HERREOS Aviation GmbH Eberhard Herr
Leonardo made AgustaWestland its helicopter division in 2016, renaming it Leonardo Helicopters. A 2016 model Leonardo AW109SP GrandNew costs $6.5m on the pre-owned market, according to Aircraft Bluebook’s summer data, which currently only provides average retail prices for the A109 series between the years 1976 and 2016. Individual models could be sell for above or below the average retail price for their model year, depending on their maintenance condition, damage history, proximity of the next major maintenance event, and more.
In April 2021, there were 1,942 Leonardo helicopters flying worldwide, per JETNET. The Leonardo AW139 has the largest in-operation fleet, with 1,060 units. At the time of writing, there had been 108 retirements from a total 2,282 units built.
Leonardo helicopters offer maximum ranges between 378 nautical miles for the AW109SP GrandNew up to 580nm for the AW139, according to Conklin & de Decker.
Leonardo produces helicopters for all of the main turbine helicopter markets, meaning its aircraft compete with a wide range of other models. In the single turbine market, Airbus, Bell, Enstrom and MD Helicopters produce competitive models, while older options are available that were manufactured by AgustaWestland (prior to the Leonardo take-over) and Eurocopter. Airbus, Bell, and MD Helicopters also produce light multi-engine turbine models to compete for market share with Leonardo, while older models from AgustaWestland and Eurocopter are again available. In the medium multi-engine market, Airbus, Bell and Sikorsky are competitive with Leonardo models; and, Airbus, Bell and Sikorsky all produce models in the heavy twin-engine turbine market, too, with older models available from other manufacturers.
Leonardo Turbine Helicopter Overview
By Gerrard Cowan
Leonardo is now home to the helicopters that were previously developed under the AgustaWestland brand names. Headquartered in Italy, Leonardo was previously known as Finmeccanica, before the name was changed in 2016.
There are a range of well-known VIP and corporate helicopter names under Leonardo’s stewardship. Among these are the modern variants of the A109, produced by Agusta since the mid-1970s.
Leonardo AW109 Models
A number of A109 variants have been produced under Leonardo’s ownership, many of them aimed, at least in part, at the VIP and corporate markets.
This includes the Leonardo A109S Grand, which was introduced in 2006 as a larger version of the popular A109 line. It provides club seating for up to six passengers, and an increased useful load. It has two 735shp Pratt & Whitney PW207C engines, with new rotor blades reducing its noise profile.
Today, the AW109 line is represented by the Leonardo AW109 GrandNew, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW207C engines. It has a maximum range of over 400nm, and most notably it has all-new digital avionics, featuring advanced satellite navigation and synthetic vision/enhanced vision system capabilities, as well as a composite airframe.
The company also offers another variant of the AW109, the Leonardo AW109 Trekker, which has fixed landing skids and is capable of operating in some of the world’s more challenging environments.
Leonardo AW119 Development
Certified in 1999, the A119 Koala, known as the AW119 since the merger of Agusta and Westland in 2000, is a single-engine development of the A109 family, providing an economical solution for operators.
The aircraft offers many of the A109E’s advantages – such as space, along with system redundancies – but is much less expensive, appealing to those who do not need the redundancy provided by two engines.
It is powered by a single PT6B engine from Pratt & Whitney and can hold up to seven passengers, with range extending to just over 500nm.
An upgraded version of the Koala, the AW119Ke (‘Koala Enhanced’) hit the market in 2007, offering a greater range and take-off weight, among other enhancements. This was followed by the AW119 Kx, which was launched in 2012 and brought a Garmin G1000H glass integrated flight deck; operators can also opt for a Genesys Aerosystems IFR avionics package.
Leonardo’s Medium to Large Turbine Helicopters
The Leonardo AW139 came to market in 2003, with the medium-sized helicopter proving a success thanks to its versatility. It is powered by two 1,679shp Pratt & Whitney PT6C-67C turboshafts and is extremely spacious, capable of providing seating for four or five with cabinetry.
The Leonardo AW189, meanwhile, offers the largest passenger cabin in its class, according to Leonardo, with the ability to seat up to 14 in excellent comfort. It can be powered by two General Electric CT7-2E1 engines along with one Safran e-APU, or a combination of the latter with two Safran Aneto-1K powerplants.
And finally, the Leonardo AW169 shares many of the features of the AW139 and AW189, but in a smaller package. It can hold passengers in a range of configurations, from a five- to a ten-seat design.
The helicopter is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210A engines and features a unique, high-spec Cabin Management System (CMS).
Leonardo also has a range of aircraft under development that will likely appeal to many in the VIP and corporate space. For example, the Kopter SH09 is a single-engine helicopter powered by a Honeywell HTS900 that has a range of 430nm and can hold up to eight passengers.
Meanwhile, the AW609 tiltrotor aircraft is also pitched at the executive market, blending the speed and range of a fixed-wing turboprop with the take-off and landing flexibility that comes with a helicopter. It is envisioned to hold up to seven passengers in a VIP configuration, or up to nine passengers. And for the VVIP market, Leonardo offers its AW101, providing seating for up to 30.
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