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Aircraft Review - AgustaWestland AW109SP by X-Trident

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Aircraft Review - AgustaWestland AW109SP by X-Trident


The helicopter category is one of the most competitive in features and innovation than any other area in the X-Plane 12 Simulator. To a point it is brutal, as developers are consistently upping the standards to higher and higher levels. Can you go even higher? even to the next level? We are all about to find out with the release of X-Trident's next project...   in the AgustaWestland AW 109SP.


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The AgustaWestland AW109, originally the Agusta A109, is a lightweight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter designed and initially produced by the Italian rotorcraft manufacturer Agusta. It was the first all-Italian helicopter to be mass-produced. Its production has been continued by Agusta's successor companies, presently Leonardo S.p.A. (formerly AgustaWestland, when merged into the new Finmeccanica since 2016).


The AW109 is a lightweight twin-engine helicopter, known for its speed, elegant appearance and ease of control. Since entering commercial service, several revisions and iterations have been made, frequently introducing new avionics and engine technologies. AgustaWestland have promoted the type for its multi-role capabilities and serviceability. The type has proven highly popular with VIP/corporate customers (Think Succession TV Show); according to AgustaWestland, 50% of all of the AW109 Power variant had been sold in such configurations. Other roles for the AW109 have included emergency medical services, law enforcement, homeland security missions, harbor pilot shuttle duty, search and rescue, maritime operations, and military uses. In 2008, AgustaWestland claimed the AW109 to be "One of the industry’s best-selling helicopters".


X-Trident have a lot of experience and also have a great "Track Record" in the X-Plane Simulator, certainly with quality helicopters, with the formidable Bell AB 412 and the CH-47D Chinook being the class of the field. X-Trident have also dabbled with the Tornado and Harrier AV-8B in the fixed wing military arena... but it is their rotary-aircraft that they are mostly aligned to.


Like noted, quality is extremely high in helicopters. So any new debutant release has their work cut out to deliver something special. A first look at the AW 109 is really a special moment to savour, as the aircraft is totally eye-catchingly brilliant in detail. We have found the quality of dedicated X-Plane 12 aircraft to be already very good, even standout by a totally different level from even of the very best of older X-Plane aircraft, of say like Rotate's MD-80 and MD-11...  Good X-Plane 12 aircraft have that standout believability and crediblity of realism.


Note this aircraft is the AW 109SP. The "SP" is different by being a single pilot IFR, TAWS and EVS, with new avionics in Genesys Aerospace systems and the front section of the fuselage made from carbon fiber to reduce weight. Also it has the "S" lengthened main rotor blades with a different tip design from the Power version.


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When you first look at a lot of Simulation detail, it usually looks very good. But go close up and REALLY up close then the detail usually falls away. But not here with the AW 109, as when you get in close, you are just blown away, by not only for the excellent detail but also for the sheer quality of the work, it is "Realism 101", right down to every small rivet and joint. Your paying for this quality of course, but it is nice to admire the realism of it all.


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It feels factory fresh, but still a working machine as well. The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206C Turboshaft engine, 418 kW (560 hp) each, are both semi-visible, another X-Trident speciality (think CH-47D Chinook)...  and all vents and lockers are perfectly done, as are the massive exhaust cones at the top rear.


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Glass is perfection, lovely tinted, deep and have great surrounds... you won't get better detail than this.


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Helicopter detail is highlighted by one area, rotor movements, or the rotor system. X-Trident was one of the first to do detailed links and hub mechanics...  so I expected the same here, I was not disappointed.


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Rotor hub assembly detail is intricate and fully detailed right down to the last cotter nut and pin. The red centre rubber cone is also highly realistically animated (the same on the tail rotor assembly), so you can spend a lot of time in moving it, and personally working it all out to your heart's content.


Roll (right-left)

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Pitch (forward-back)

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Collective (down-up)

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Tail rotor detail, shows a developer at the very top of their skills development, it is a piece of simulated art. YAW is animated (right-left rudder).

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Retractable landing gear is excellent. Not only the perfect tyre and rim detail, but the internal bay is fully detailed as well, rear gear is perfectly realised to near perfection...  it is about as good as you could do, and I love the scruffed tyres for ultimate realism.


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Both front pilot and co-pilot doors open, and both rear doors slide open, but you can't hide them. You manually internally have to open the doors, first by moving the latch, then physically moving them open or backwards. There is a menu option as well. Note the fold out step...


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There is only one cabin option...  VIP or "Succession" layout, all in white luxurious leather. Tricky is moving from the cockpit to the rear cabin, as the boundaries are very tight, there is a (very small) gap between the seats, so the best way is out one door and back in via the rear door?


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There is only the pilot provided and his arms are animated to the controls...  there are no provided Co-Pilot or Passengers in the package.


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The "AW109SP" menu is set in the X-Plane banner....  It has three options; Options, Windows and Operations...  there is the "Toggle FPS", but this is just the X-Plane framerate data for development.


AW109SP - Menu 1.jpg


Options (Configurations); In the options tab there are six available choices; Controls, Options, Sounds, Anim, Maps and Obstacles.


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Controls; There are a lot of options to set the AW109 controls to your best feel and reaction, in fact a full page of adjustments.


Main are the "Damper" adjustments for Pitch, Roll and Yaw rates, a Non-Centreing cyclic, Servo (Autopilot) motors (off-on-test), Rudder Ovrd (override), lower are sections for "Collective", Pedals, Power Levers, Auto Mute, Auto HDG (Heading) and VNAV. Right side adjustments cover the Collective, with; FT rel (release) mode, Threshold, Pedals FT rel mode and pedals threshold. Collective Input can be via the keyboard, throttle or auto-detect, you can also reverse the settings as well.


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Options; X-Trident give you a lot of setting options. Synt Vision Range  (0-2400 meters), Instruments (Standard or Performance), Popup (Standard, Performance or Show in VR), Scale, (0.5 - 1.5), APMS ALT knob mode (Select or Pre-Select), Collective Cue (Off, Normal or Bright)


Tickbox options include; Auto load windows, Hide Frames Labels, Duplicate Popup, Hide 3d model...  the "Hover" can be set to; velocity, Position or Auto. You can Enable the PFD-HDG, have a Realistic "Direct To" and a Custom VRS-Vortex Ring State (X-Plane 12 only).


You can enable the "Replay mode", Show VFR labels, Hide the main rotor, Force the collective for ALT, and Use the collective with ATT.


Notable is that the above is for what you would call a professional grade setup, another layer of adjustment above the normal conditions.


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Sounds; Top is the "Master", then you have two separate selections for both the Interior and Exterior sounds...  Engines, Starter, Transmission, Main Rotor, Avionics, Cockpit and AWS - Advanced Warning System



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Anim (Animation). Left are the door sliders; Pilot, Co-Pilot, Rear Right & Rear Left. There is a glareshield animation which we will see soon. Bottom is a "Rotor Demo" that turns the rotors. MISC. are optional objects; Top are a pair of headsets in the cockpit, you can also touch them to hide.


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You can have the choice of putting the duel UHF aerials under the front fuselage, or a single one on the roof left.


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The sliding Step on the lower right fuselage can be seen or hidden if required. Detail of the step is excellent, only a step, but so well done.


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Last two options is an external Camera, and Anchor Plates on the fuselage.


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Crew...  is the Pilot setting, Off (hidden), On (visible), or Auto (pilot visible only from the external view).


Remove Before Flight...  This set of options will put a load of tags, covers and plugs on the AW 109, including; Engine cover and plug (left and right), Pitot (left & right), cowlings (left & right) and set some nice wheel chocks. You can also "Ignore RBF" or hide them all.


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Maps; On this menu page you can insert custom area maps on the central "Mission Display" (MFD Multi-Functional Display).


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Obstacles; Selections of "Obstacle Groups" can be selected from this menu page. 


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Windows: You can load and save instrument windows, and there are ten pop-out options available, SBY (Standby), EDU (1&2), PFD (Pilot/Co-Pilot), ND (Navigation Display), RTU (Radio) and Mission Display. The popup Window panels will also be seen soon.


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Operations: under the "Operations" there is only one option...  to hide or show the rear wheel chocks.


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First view of the AW 109SP Instrument panel is a moment...  Your actually shocked on how really good in realism it all is, it just "Blows your mind".


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The trick is in the instrument displays, they are an unusual colour in a dark, dark purple. But they give the panel a feel and look of complete absolute realism....  "oh wow".


As noted you can move the glareshield towards you, if you want more shade over the instruments.


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OHD (Overhead Panel) is excellent, and big for a small helicopter...  Lower panel is also really well done.


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Like noted earlier, the boundries are very tight in here, so moving around for a different angle to the instrument panel is quite difficult, hence the odd FOV angles to see the lovely white leather front seats. The VIP fitout and cockpit/cabin materials are all top notch, beautifully done and all very real. It is a seriously nice workplace. Look hard at the majestic fitted carpet... incredible, and the door frame moldings, perfection!


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Another "blows you mind" moment is when the instruments are powered up, it is not just blown this time, but your head explodes by the sheer detail before you, it is a kaleidoscope of colour...  "wow', simply, "wow, wow".


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I will first note the excellent power up on all the displays, as each can be activated/shutdown separately via the units power switches (arrowed below). The procedures are beautifully activated, the centre EDU has a brief colour on startup, then it will "Test" the system, finally the IDU will display the current system information. The lower radio panels also take time to focus and turn on...  it is all so very authentic, also highly realistic.


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All four IDU's popout in windows by pressing the centre of the IDU screen, also in the "Windows" menu as noted earlier. All the popout windows are scalable and can also be moved anywhere on the screen.


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Other popouts include the top Mission Display, SBY (Standby Instrument), EDU (Engine Display Unit) and RTU (Radio)


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Genesys Aerosystems IDU-450 EFIS

The highlight here is the Genesys Aerosystems IDU-450 EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System). It comprises of two IDUs (Integrated Display Unit)s. Top the PFD (Primary Flight Display) and lower the MFD (Multi-Functional Display) with MAP. This set up is per normal with most Aircraft Avionic suits, but here the IDU-450 takes on a different concept. Notable is that the AW-109 has it's own dedicated set of EFIS flight systems software 8.0E, created by Genesys just for this machine, and that software version is replicated here by X-Trident. Note the 8.0E Manual can be downloaded directly from Genesys Aerosystems, the link is set below.


In the last two decades, cockpit resources have followed the commercial carriers’ trend toward “Automation Centered” systems. These sophisticated systems minimize pilot involvement and automate control of the aircraft and its systems to the greatest extent possible, “pilot-centered” system. While still highly automated, this type of system, common in other military tactical applications, presents the pilot with information necessary to make decisions about the flight and take the appropriate actions. A good example is the Highway-In-The-Sky (HITS), which allows for highly automated approaches, but its predictive nature provides the pilot unprecedented awareness of upcoming maneuvers.

EFIS Flight Logic goal is IFR-VFR equivalence and the basic concept of the FlightLogic EFIS is proven HUD symbology overlaying a real-time 3-D virtual reality view of the outside world. The resulting “Synthetic Vision” provides the pilot in IMC with the same simple visual clues for navigation and aircraft control as those used in VFR conditions.


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UPPER IDU (PFD) has the standard flying instruments, which are set out before the "Synthetic Vision" background, including the Speed and ALT tapes, Pitch and Artificial Horizon, Rate of Turn, and top a compass, also V/S Vertical Speed indicator is visible when used.


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The IDU has a simplistic military feel to the layout and to use. Access and selection is via the eight buttons set around the instrument. Left; FPL (FlightPlan), ACTV (Active), INFO and OBS...  Right; MENU, BARO, NRST (Nearest). The MENU brings up the selections. (ZOOM, DCLTR, HRZ SYNC, DESIG and TIMER). BARO shows Barometer selections. NEAREST and OBS are also available.


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One tool is the "HORIZON SYNC", that locks the Artificial Horizon to the SYNTH VISION.


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IDU Menu selections are deep, and they need time to learn and navigate, there is a manual provided, it is also 500 pages long!


LOWER IDU (MFD) The access buttons around the MFD are the same as the upper IDU, so do so the same menu actions... The MENU however has also a few different options; PAGE, FORMAT, DESIG and TIMER.


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Under PAGE you have eight screen options; MAP (Main), HSI (Horizontal Situation Display), NAV LOG, STRIKES, TRAFFIC, DATALINK, HOVER and WEATHER RADAR.


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HSI is your standard degree navigation tool, NAV LOG will show you your Flights, STRIKES (not yet implemented) will eventually show your current data, TRAFFIC will show the aircraft around you, DATALINK, the actual datalink page is not implemented here, but shows your control position (Cyclic & Rudder) and WEATHER RADAR shows the current weather. HOVER gives you a radar look of your hover position, movement and speed...  we will look at this more in the flight section.


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The IDUs are brilliantly brought to life here, highly realistic and have excellent working menus. There are also like mentioned, a "deep dive" of branches of detail to get the most out of the Genesys system, "Study"...  oh yes, certainly a study depth learning curve.



Centre instrument panel is the EDU (Electronic Display Unit), there are two units in EDU 1 and EDU 2. The EDUs are installed on the instrument panel and are identified as Primary EDU (EDU1), on the pilot side, and Secondary EDU (EDU2), on the co-pilot side. During normal operation both displays are operative.


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Important is that if one EDU goes out of operation, then the basic requirements of that EDU unit are then transferred to the other EDU unit called REVERSIONARY Mode. That aspect is really well done here.


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EDU 1 details N1, - TOT - TRQ - NR - N2 &  Caution, Warning and Advisory messages

EDU 2 details - Engine 1 oil pressure - Engine 1 oil temperature - Transmission oil pressure - Transmission oil temperature - OAT - Engine 2 oil pressure - Engine 2 oil temperature - Main hydraulic pressure 1 & 2 - Fuel Quantity - Fuel Pressure - Utility hydraulic pressure - DC current - DC voltage - AC voltage - Fuel flow - Normal utility hydraulic pressure - Emergency utility hydraulic pressure and Advisory and status messages.


ON-OFF is the EDU power switch, BRT-DIM the unit's brightness. You can CLR mesages, and ENT (Enter) details, and the non label right lower scroll switch is for editing the Caution, Warning and Advisory messages (CWA), or new options to be scrolled.


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Caution/Warning menu is  – WARNING messages (red) – CAUTION messages (yellow) – ADVISORY messages (green) – STATUS messages (cyan).


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M - Menu. Lower on each EDU is a menu button "M". This gives you a lower menu that covers three main options...

- START. This key selects the START mode on the EDU1.
– CRUISE. This key selects the CRUISE mode on the EDU1.
– MAIN. This key selects the MAIN mode on the EDU2.


Secondary options include

– AUX. This key selects the AUX (auxiliary) mode (i.e. hydraulic, electrical and fuel information) on the EDU2.
– TEST. This key initiates the BIT of the IDS system. It can be operated only when the helicopter is on the ground (WOW active).
– POWER CHECK. This key initiates the Power Assurance Check recording.


The "TEST" mode is particualarly well done..


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Centre lower panel are both the Radio Management System (RMS) panels, each side of the Automatic Pilot Management System (APMS)


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RTU 1 is right (Pilot) and COMM 2/NAV 2, RTU 2 is left (Co-Pilot) and is COMM 1/NAV 1. The central APMS is part of the AFCS - Automatic Flight Control System, and is basically a SAS or Stability Augmentation System. It stabilises a helicopter against pitch and roll disturbances due to wind gusts and turbulence. Modern systems include yaw as well and are sometimes called “three-axis systems.


But the APMS is a far more advanced SAS in being say just an Automatic system, rather than a Manual action, Airbusie to Boeing if you sort of know what I mean. We will look at the APMS in more detail when flying the aircraft.


Mission Display

Located top central of the Instrument panel is the large "Mission Display". It has four options, PiP - Picture-in-Picture with a compass, "North UP" is also available.  There are two settings for the External "Video Camera", close (ENHC - Enhanced) and long. You can zoom the MAP all the way out and in, via the Pop-out panel, there will be the option to add in moving maps.


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OHP (Over Head Panel) covers ELEC, LIGHT (Internal and External), FIRE EXTINGUISHER, VENT, AVNX BAY and ECS - Environmental Control System. All Circuit Breakers (Fuses) work. Both Throttle handles control the power to each engine, in set positions, and there is a very nice Rotor Brake as well.


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Lower panel covers Landing Gear lever and indicator lights, Park Brake, Fuel Valves, Engine Modes, AHRS - Attitude and Heading Reference System, and AURAL WARNING options.


Cyclic and Collective

There is great detail and functionality on both the Cyclic and Collective controls, slightly less on the Co-Pilot's control set.


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Pilot's Collective has 2 engine GOV (governors), Engine Trim, Float, Main Trim, Search Light and Landing/Taxi lights, there is a Master rest on the handle. On the Cyclic is a ATT (Attitude Retention System), Wiper (right), NR, Main Trim and a AP DISC (Autopilot disconnect.


Co-Pilot's Collective is slimmed down to Engine Trim, External Search Light and Main Trim, on the Cyclic is the ATT button, Wiper (left), Main Trim and AP DISC.


AW109 Lighting

In my version the lighting feels not finished? There are three adjustment knobs for the INST PNL (Instruments Panel), OVHD (OverHead Panel) and PED (Pedestal), mostly the highlighting. There is a Cabin light, but it doesn't work? and the two overhead spot lights are dead as well. There is a DAY and NIGHT lighting mode and the Passenger Warning Lights work in the rear.


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External Lighting has very nice Landing/Taxi lights in the stub wings, Navigation Lights (Stub and Tail), Two Beacons (top and bottom fuselage). Under nose left is also a retractable "Search" light.


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Flying the AW109

The first question is...  is the AW109 easy to fly? This is still a helicopter with helicopter controls and feel, so you still fly it like a helicopter. But the trick here is that like an Airbus, it also has control laws and protections. These so called "helpers" do however smooth out your inputs and give you more control in the hover, modes you could call them. But it does make it a far more easier machine to master and control, so it is a very nice helicopter via it's controls, a sort of Limousine for the air, also noted as "Ferrari of the skies" because of it's speed.


Now a note. You don't get an external power unit with the X-Trident AW109? So when you want to fly from a "Cold" set up, you have to move quickly once the battery switch is thrown, as your then on a "Battery Drain" timer, so you will need some engine/generator power as soon as possible. If you do go dead... the AgustaWestland is "dead, dead". And only a complete restart will get you back to life (a fault fix doesn't recharge the battery).



In most cases I don't usually do flightplans in Helicopters, as most flights are usually only short distances, or a circuit back to the same airport. But the AW109 is a more of point-to-point aircraft, and the flightplan system is extremely good here, so we will take a look at it...


Select FPL (Flightplan) and it will show two options... SELECT and CREATE-EDIT. SELECT is a selection of .fms flightplans from your X-Plane/Output/FMS plans folder. The navigation of the flightplan selections is very easy via the right knob, press the centre to activate!


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CREATE-EDIT allows you to create a flightplan from scratch, or edit a flightplan. In CREDIT-EDIT mode you now have a menu option, CREATE FLIGHT PLAN, ACTIVATE FLIGHT PLAN, EDIT FLIGHT PLAN, (Reverse Flight Plan), (Delete Flight Plan), CREATE USER WPT (Lat-Lon) also (Rad-Dst), EDIT USER WAYPOINT, DELETE USER WAYPOINT and (Raim Prediction).


Selecting "CREATE FLIGHT PLAN" will bring up the Flightplan editor....    with two options "EXIT" or, and back when editing ICAO codes.


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Press ADD to construct a Flightplan. You are given options in NRST APT, NEAREST VOR, NRST NDB, NRST FIX and NRST USER (AIRWAYS is also available). Then your Airport ICAO code can be directly keyboard entered via the lower box, return works as well.


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If you press NRST APT (Airport), the IDU will bring up a scroll box of nearby ICAO airports to choose from, again navigation is by the right knob and press the centre to activate. ADD again and this time a FIX (Waypoint - OKTOV), then build up the flight plan with the required VOR - NDB - FIX - USR - AIRWAYS...    then another APT at the end. The system is very simple and extremely easy to use. When done you can SAVE the Flightplan to the the .fms folder.


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You can (edit) via INSERT or DELETE. Select the FIX or Navigation ICAO via the scroll knob, then select, or DELETE the FIX, INSERT is very much the same, by selecting the fix you want to add next, then fill in the ICAO.


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Flightplan competed it shows in the MAP and on the NAV LOG page. Other MAP options include; CENTER, N (North UP), PAN ON, SYMB DCLUTR and FNCT DCLTR (hint here, the TERRAIN selection is hidden in the FNCT menu).


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MAP RANGE (zoom) is also available, and DIRECT-TO is also great for changing the flightplan in flight. Just add in the FIX ICAO code lower right, or select from the NRST scroll list


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The flightplan mode is a very solid piece of work from X-Trident, and it is very well replicated from the original Genesys system.


LFML (Marseille Provence) to LFMN (Nice Côte d'Azur Airport)

Fuel selected on the lower console, and the Throttles are both set to Idle....  the engine starters (1&2) are on the top of the throttles, then you watch the EDUs come alive as the aircraft goes into a start mode. It is all Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC), so the start procedure for each PW-206C is fully automatic...  In come the start up procedure sounds, the start whine then the rotor clatter, but clatter is not the right word, an air-conditioned high whirr is closer in sounds to this modern machine.


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Both throttles go forward to "Flight" and the "NR" goes to maximum, wait a few moments to gain the extra thrust, then your ready to go... 


Feel is everything with helicopters, hands and feet. With the AW109 the feel is slightly different? The software helps in the controls, helping you manoeuvre the machine, mostly by giving you more of a wider parameter to work with. The effect is opposite...   as the machine will take smaller inputs, as explained by the yaw in the tail-rotor...  so usually in most cases you have to use a LOT of right rudder to control the tail rotor thrust, but here you don't as the thrust is more centralised, so you don't have to push so hard, as the system compensates for you.


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So getting up into a hover, and keeping the AW109 straight is very easy. I can even store the gear in the hover, just by holding the machine static with absolutely no effort.


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Slightly nose down and bit of collective and your moving forwards, more nose and more collective, and your now gaining speed.


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So manual flying with the AW190SP is excellent, a pussy cat really. As you can easily get the altitude and adjust forward speed that you want.


Here now I am doing 131 forward knots and 1600ft. There is a reason for this? I need a steady forward speed and height to activate the APMS or Autopilot.


AW109SP - Flying 13 APMS.jpg


To activate you select the AP1 & AP2 buttons, Then press the ALT pyramid to hold the altitude, then HDG for the heading selection. All your APMS selections are shown in the lower box on the upper IDU. The APMS does require a bit of study, it is a complicated system to a point, to navigate, but once you have worked it out, it is brilliant to use.


AW109SP - Flying 13 APMS 2.jpg


Some adjustments work on the fly, like speed (IAS) and V/S, but a few are select, then press the button on/off, in this case the HDG, select the new heading then click the HDG buton off then back on,  and only then will the AW109 go to the new heading.


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Now the Autopilot is flying the aircraft, and so I head back to the start point of my flightplan...  I spent time doing the flightplan, because it is an excellent requirement for one of the best features of the Genesys system...   I get past the first APT waypoint then line up the flightplan, then I press NAV to engage the AP to the flightplan.


AW109SP - Flying 13 APMS 5.jpgAW109SP - Flying 13 APMS 6.jpg


Once you activate the flightplan, you get a tunnel of wireframes on the upper IDU, that you will fly though, and they are your route guide right through the flightplan...   first you align with the wireframe tunnel, then it becomes the central part of the PFD.


AW109SP - Flying 13 APMS 8.jpg


AW109SP - Flying 13 APMS 9.jpg


It is exceptionally well done, beyond brilliant, so very authentic.


AW109SP - Flying 13.jpg


The machine is quite automatic, the APMS system will adjust for you in Speed (collective) and Altitude. Select a new altitude and then set the V/S for the speed of the climb (or descent), press ALTA to hold that altitude and the aircraft does the rest. Both IDU's are also independent of each other, so you can have different range (zoom) levels on either display


AW109SP - Flying 13 APMS 10.jpgAW109SP - Flying 15.jpg


At each waypoint you will get a symbol in the PFD IDU, a circle that gets larger as you approach the FIX...  as go though the circle you will then go to your new heading, again it is all fabulously well done. Selecting the NAV LOG will give you your full Flightplan with detailed Waypoints, Path, Distance, ETE, ETA and your Fuel useage.


AW109SP - Flying 16.jpgAW109SP - Flying 17.jpgAW109SP - Flying 18.jpgAW109SP - Flying 19.jpg


Other waypoints use other symbols, here an NDB waypoint shows the point of the position of the NDB on the forward IDU map.


AW109SP - Flying 21.jpgAW109SP - Flying 22.jpg


The AW108SP has a maximum speed of 311 km/h (193 mph, 168 kn), a cruise speed around 285 km/h (177 mph, 154 kn) and a never exceed speed of 311 km/h (193 mph, 168 kn). The ferry range is 932 km (579 mi, 503 nmi) and the the Rate of climb is 9.8 m/s (1,930 ft/min).


AW109SP - Flying 23.jpgAW109SP - Flying 24.jpgAW109SP - Flying 25.jpg


Spectacular is the cockpit in flight, the rear cabin is not bad either for the Logan Family, as we cruise by the French Riviera heading towards Nice.


AW109SP - Flying 26.jpgAW109SP - Flying 27.jpgAW109SP - Flying 28.jpg


Now at the final turn to Nice (LFMN), the final turn has a different fix symbol in a diamond on a point.


AW109SP - Flying 29.jpgAW109SP - Flying 30.jpgAW109SP - Flying 31.jpg


I am now down to an 80 kts approach speed at 200 ft... time to activate another brilliant feature, "HOVER" mode. The button is however slightly hidden on the very right middle on the APMS panel.


AW109SP - Flying 32.jpg


Once activated the HOVER display is automatically shown in the lower IDU. Activating and the AW109 with then slowly come to a stop at the designated height.


AW109SP - Flying 34.jpgAW109SP - Flying 33.jpg


On the display the Flight path marker is removed at low speed, <30 knots groundspeed, and is replaced with hover vector symbology. The hover vector indicates direction and groundspeed of drift at low groundspeeds (when lower than 30 IAS) consisting of Large Aircraft Symbol Reference Marks, an inner concentric ring indicating ten knots groundspeed, an outer concentric ring indicating 20 knotsgroundspeed, and a vertical and horizontal dashed line passing through the center extending to the outer ring.


AW109SP - Flying 35.jpgAW109SP - Flying 36.jpg


You manoeuvre in the HOVER by using your HAT (Joystick) set to Trim, Up, Down, Left, Right and a purple circle is your target point (arrowed) that moves at your commands, then the AW109 will follow in that direction... The pad's H will also show in the display to get the perfect alignment of the landing pad...   You then use the RHT knob on the APMS panel to descend (or gain height) with the Vertical Reference system VRS-3000, which is also available to make an absolute perfect landing!


It is totally brilliant, simply easy to use and a dream for those that struggle to land Helicopters... the old way to manually fly to a hover then land, still works, but this is way more fun and engaging. By the way I landed with my feet off the rudder pedals!


AW109SP - Flying 37.jpgAW109SP - Flying 39.jpgAW109SP - Flying 40.jpgAW109SP - Flying 41.jpgAW109SP - Flying 38.jpg


I can't even get close the detail and symbology available here with this Genesys System in a review and provided here by X-Trident, as noted the manual is 500 pages long, highly detailed, but well worth studying...   I will note it is certainly another major level in helicopter flight immersion, I was totally captivated by what you have here at your disposal...  unbelievably brilliant by X-Trident.



There are four liveries (with more expected). Default is the Brazilian Havan PP-UUU, plus MountainFlyers, Silver OM-TVR and a clever Thunderbird 1.


AW109SP - Livery Havan.jpgAW109SP - Livery MountainFlyers.jpgAW109SP - Livery OM-TVR.jpgAW109SP - Livery Thunderbird 1.jpg



The AgustaWestland AW109, originally the Agusta A109, is a lightweight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter designed and initially produced by the Italian rotorcraft manufacturer Agusta. It is known for its speed, elegant appearance and ease of control.


X-Trident have a lot of experience and also a great "Track Record" in the X-Plane Simulator, certainly with quality helicopters, with the formidable Bell AB 412 and the CH-47D Chinook being the class of the field. X-Trident have also dabbled with the Tornado and Harrier AV-8B in the fixed wing military arena.


X-Plane 12 is delivering exceptional quality aircraft for the X-Plane Simulator, and the AgustaWestland AW109SP is certainly well within that "Excellent" category. Quality and detail is off the chart, as we approach perfection in realism, as there is nothing to fault here, just to admire.

The rotor head/tail rotor is fully animated and detailed, right down to the last nut and screw, perfect glass is highlighted by the top rated undercarrriage with it's realistic hubs and tyres. The P&W Canada PW206C Turboshaft engine is only partly viewable, but well done.


The focus is on the avionics, or the installation of the Genesys Aerosystems IDU-450 EFIS. This is a deeply conceived system with built in “Synthetic Vision”, there are two sets of IDUs for both PFD and MFD for both pilots. EDUs (Electronic Display Units) are also highly developed as is the Backup Instrument, and Radio RDU. Another highlight is the Automatic Pilot Management System (APMS) Or Autopilot with built in Auto hover. The APMS is a highlight of the machine, but in also adding in the flightplan capability and symbology, it is a major step forward in Helicopter flight immersion. Both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 separate versions are part of the package.


Sounds are not a highlighted feature here, but they are FMOD 2 and quality based from a real AW109, I really liked them and the 3d dynamic sound was very good internally and externally.


Features are however not overly represented for a helicopter, with the focus on the Pro market for menu settings and features. Only one cabin version, and even missing a Co-Pilot and Passengers, the usual wire cutters, mirrors, doors off, belly hook and even an external Ground Power Unit are all missing.


The AugustaWestland AW109SP represents another level of immersion in the competitive X-Plane arena of vertical flight, big words can be said here, Amazing, Incredible, Category Dominating, Totally Immersive....  The AW109SP is all of these things and more, another step forward, another height achieved, overall it is a damn nice helicopter to use and fly, and a totally worthwhile investment.


X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


Yes! - the AgustaWestland AW109SP by X-Trident is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


AgustaWestland AW109SP

Price is US$45.00



Plane 12 or X-Plane 11
2 Separate files are provided at no additional cost
Mac, Windows, Linux
8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 593 MB
Current version: 1.0 (May 11th 2024)

Designed by X-Trident
Support forum for the AgustaWestland AW109SP



The AW109SP is a 432Mb download with an installation size of 934Mb, in your X-Plane Aircraft folder, this is an X-Plane 12 aircraft only.


All updates are via the built-in Skunkcrafts Updater



There is excellent full coverage documentation and installation details for the AW109SP, including;

  • 10_AW109SP for X-Plane - quick guide v1.0.pdf
  • 20_AW109SP for X-Plane - AP and FMS  tutorial v1.0.pdf
  • 30_AW109SP for X-Plane - CHECK LIST v1.0.pdf

The Full "8_0E-IDU-450-Rotorcraft-Rev-A" Genesys System manual is available for download here;



Review System Specifications: 

Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD

Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane Version 12.05r1

Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00

Scenery or Aircraft

- LFML- Airport Marseille XP by At (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.99

- LFMN - Nice Cote d'Azur v2 by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$18.50


Review by Stephen Dutton

12th May 2024

Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews


(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved


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Thanks for the review, just purchased it thanks to your review.

I admit that X-Trident planes never disappoints. 


By the way, I think it is time that we should press the helicopters developers to start and expose their plane information, through Datarefs, for SAR mission to be created by 3rd parties.

I already contacted X-Trident few months back, and I'm happy that he did not will consider that, but as MS2024 is looming, we need more options  and  I think that sites like this one is another platform to push this request since everyone will benefit from it.



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