Leonardo AW101 (EHI EH101)
This helicopter started from a need to find a replacement for the Sea King helicopters, both in the United Kingdom and Italy. Hence Westland and Agusta teamed up under the name of EH Industries to develop the EH101. This was marketed as AW101 when the companies merged to AgustaWestland, and this remained when the merged company came under the umbrella of Leonardo.
The EH101/AW101 is quite a large helicopter with three engines. One is in the middle, behind the main rotor axis, and fed by an air intake on both sides of the pylon on top of the fuselage. The other two are placed at the sides of this pylon, with separated exhausts pointing a bit outward. The engines power a five blade main rotor with wide, curved blade tips, and a four blade tail rotor that is on the left side at the top of the vertical stabiliser. The helicopter has small sponsons in which the main gear retracts. On most versions all gears have two wheels, but some versions have single wheel main gears. Finally, the rear fuselage differs per variant: some versions have a rear loading ramp while others haven't but have a smoother transition from fuselage to tail boom. Along the majority of the tail boom is a long strake.
The different versions of the EH101/AW101 can externally be distinguish by
- the shape of the rear fuselage
- the presence of a rear loading ramp
- the number of wheels on the main landing gear
- the presence of a horizontal stabiliser on the left side>
- the presence and type of bulges and antennas under the nose, and underneath/at the side of the fuselage
Details will follow later.
Confusion possible with
The biggest competitor to the EH101/AW101 is also the most similar looking helicopter. The S-92 has two engines though, at the sides of the gear box housing, much larger sponsons, a four blade main rotor and a tail rotor on the right side, to name a few eye-catching differences.
The older and bigger stablemate of the S-92 is also known for large sponsons, but is essentially different in other areas. The S-65 and H-53 variants have six or seven main rotor blades, two or three engines and a high mounted horizontal stabiliser on the right.
This derivative of the S-61/Sea King has more in common with the EH101/AW101 than the original. It has a loading ramp at the rear of the fuselage, large sponsons and an all two wheel nose gear. The S-61R and CH-3/HH-3 variants have a five blade main rotor but without the wide, curved tips, and a tail rotor on the left. It also has a high mounted horizontal stabiliser on the right and two engines on top of the fuselage.
Russia's entry in this class of helicopters is the Mil Mi-38. You will immediately notice that this helicopter has no sponsons, a single wheel main landing gear and a six blade main rotor. Also, the angle between the four tail rotor blades is not equal.