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Motorbike fans know Agusta for its production of legendary racing bikes winning 38 times the Riders’ World Championship between 1952 to 1974. The bike forge was founded by Domenico Agusta, a son of Giovanni Agusta who, in turn, provided aeronautical movement by founding the oldest Italian aircraft factory in 1907. After its merger with the British Westland Helicopters Company in 2000, Agusta was known as AugustaWestland and became one of the world’s largest producers of helicopters. In 2016, the activities of AgustaWestland merged into the helicopter division of Finmeccanica that soon after change its name to Leonardo.

One of the most successful helicopter models of AgustaWestland - or Leonardo Helicopters, as the brand is called now - is the A-109 (also known as AW 109). It was planned by Italian engineers in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The A-109 is appreciated especially for its large passenger and cargo capacity, its retractable landing gear and its power: it is still the world-record holder for the fastest helicopter flight around the world by travelling the distance of 38,890 km at an average speed of 275 km/h.

Besides its preferred use for civilian transportation and evacuation tasks, the eight-seater twin-turbo helicopter can also be delivered as a military combat model. The A-109 is operated by air forces of around 20 nations, including Belgium, which will present an A-109 Hirundo in the flying display of AIRPOWER16.

  • © Belgian Air Force

  • © Belgian Air Force

© Belgian Air Force

Facts & Figures

Manufacturer AgustaWestland (Leonardo since 2016)
Variant A-109 Hirundo
Length 11.44 m
Main rotor diameter 13.06 m
Height 3.50 m
Empty weight 1,944 kg
Max. take-off weight 2,850 kg
Max. speed 244 km/h
Service ceiling 4,570 m
Rate of climb 11.5 m/s
Deployable range 530 km
Crew/passengers 2 pilots + 6 passengers
Power plant 2x Rolls-Royce 250-C20R1
Power 2x 450 SHP
Display Flying