Record performances by the AW119Kx in the Everest region
The Leonardo team was at the airport by 6:00 am enthused by the exemplary performance of the AW119Kx over the last two days in the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna region. The day’s objective was to surpass the unbelievable performance demonstrated by the AW119Kx over the last week. As usual, the helicopter took off from Kathmandu with maximum takeoff weight inclusive of passengers and full fuel. En route to Lukla, in order to test the performance of the helicopter with a full load, the crew embarked on a new route wherein the helicopter easily managed to scale up to 17,300 ft in ISA+15 conditions (-4°C). After dropping off the passengers in Lukla, the AW119Kx proceeded towards the Everest region for further experimental flights. In a span of two hours, two remarkable feats were achieved. First, the crew successfully landed the helicopter at 18,260 ft in ISA (International Standard Atmosphere) +15 conditions (-6°C - Density Altitude of 21,500 ft) on the shoulder of Mount Changri Nup. Second, the AW119Kx defying its previous best, cruised through an altitude of 24000 ft (equivalent to a density altitude of 25000 ft for the given temperature conditions) in the Everest region.
The crew pursued further to demonstrate the AW119Kx’s unbeatable operational characteristics, wherein the Hover Out of Ground Effect was tested successfully at 14,600 ft in ISA+15 conditions (1°C) with three passengers onboard, which was followed by a 360° turn in Hover In Ground Effect conditions at 13,500 ft. After a day of impeccable performance by the AW119Kx, the helicopter returned to Kathmandu.