Leonardo Helicopters will shortly revise downwards the official fuel consumption figure of its AgustaWestland AW189 super-medium-twin.
Based on operational feedback and information collated via flight-recorder and helicopter usage monitoring system data, the new figure will show an improvement of between 4-7%, depending on the mission profile, it says.
The manufacturer has conducted a series of test flights to validate the figure in conjunction with GE Aviation, which supplies the helicopter’s CT7 engines.
Fabio Nannoni, senior vice-president of engineering, says the fuel-burn figure falls from near 480kg/h to around 440kg/h, based on a typical oil and gas mission with engines at 80% torque. This, he says, an improvement which is “closer to 6-7% than 4%”.
Daniele Romiti, managing director of the division, says it initially “undersold” the AW189. “Operators have been asking why we published such penalising figures when they have seen fuel consumption which has been better than expected.”
Roberto Garavaglia, senior vice-president of strategy and business development, says its former performance figures were “very conservative”.
He adds: “Now it is in service we have realised that we can be a little bit more adherent to reality, a reality which is better than anticipated.”
Leaonardo Helicopters will update the AW189’s flight manual in the coming weeks, allowing operators to make more accurate performance calculations.
In addition, the airframer is to deliver further improvements as part of its “phase 5” software update at the beginning of 2018.
This will include both LPV and oil rig approach capabilities – the latter derived from the mission system on the AW101 heavy-twins being developed for Norway’s all-weather search and rescue requirement.