19 Februari 2010

RNZAF’s New Helicopter Makes its First Flight

19 Februari 2010

A-109 will use for training (photo : Scoop)

The first of the Air Force’s five new A109 helicopters has taken to the air in Italy.
“This is part of the major renewal of the Air Force,” Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said today. “The A109s are a significant acquisition for the NZDF. This first flight brings them a step closer.”

The A109 Light Utility Helicopter is the replacement for the NZDF’s current training helicopter, the Sioux. It is a major step up, with twin turbine engines, carrying three crew and up to five passengers, and with a winch. The existing Sioux date from the 1950s and are only useful as basic trainers.

The A109s will be used for training NZDF pilots and helicopter crew for the Air Force’s new NH90s and the Navy’s Seasprites. They can also carry out a wide variety of light roles, such as moving small groups, carrying light loads and rescue work with the winch.
Bell 47 Sioux (photo : Airliners)

“These helicopters will be the basis of training our people for helicopter operations. They will also complement the NH90s and Seasprites in other areas, both military and in support of other agencies,” Dr Mapp said.

Manufacturer Agusta is scheduled to deliver the first A109 to the Air Force late this year.

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