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The PZL Swidnik W3 Sokol

Country of origin  
Poland

Photos  

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Powerplants  
Two 670kW (900shp) takeoff rated WSKPZL Rzeszów PZL10W turboshafts driving a four blade main rotor and three blade tail rotor.

Performance  
W-3A - Max cruising speed 243km/h (131kt). Initial rate of climb 2008ft/min. Hovering ceiling (at max takeoff weight) out of ground effect 6220ft. Service ceiling 19,680ft. Max range with reserves 745km (402nm), with auxiliary fuel and reserves 1290km (696nm), with max payload and no reserves 200km (108nm).

Weights  
W3A - Basic operating empty 3850kg (8488lb), max takeoff 6400kg (14,110lb).

Dimensions  
Main rotor diameter 15.70m (51ft 6in), length overall rotors turning 18.79m (61ft 8in), fuselage length 14.21m (46ft 8in), height overall 5.14m (16ft 10in), height to top of rotor mast 4.20m (13ft 10in). Main rotor disc area 193.6m2 (2034sq ft).

Capacity  
Two pilots or pilot and flight engineer or passenger on flightdeck. Main cabin seating for 12 in passenger configuration, or three medical attendants and eight rescued survivors in SAR Anaconda version, or four stretchers and medical attendant in ambulance configuration, one stretcher and medical attendants in critical care EMS version, or five/six passengers in executive configuration. Can carry a 2100kg (4630lb) sling load.

Production  
Approximately 130 Sokols of all models have been built, including against Polish military orders.

Type  
Mid size twin engine utility helicopter

History  

The W3 Sokol (Falcon) utility is the first helicopter to be fully designed and built in Poland, and is PZL Swidnik's most promising sales prospect in the near to medium future.

Developed during the mid 1970s, the Sokol made its first flight on November 16 1979, and has since been certificated in Poland, Russia, the US and Germany. Following a fairly protracted development program, low rate production of the Sokol commenced during 1985. Initial sales of the general purpose Sokol were within Poland and in the Eastern Bloc, before the collapse of communism allowed PZL Swidnik to broaden its sales base. To do this PZL Swidnik developed the improved W3A Sokol aimed at achieving western certification. Certification to US FAR Pt 29 standards was granted in May 1993, while German certification was granted in December that year.

The Sokol is of conventional design and construction, with two PZL10W turboshafts, which are based on the Russian designed TVD10B turboprops that power the Polish built An-28. Composites are used in the tail and main rotor blades.

The Sokol is offered in a number of variants and is capable of performing a typical range of helicopter missions, including passenger transport, VIP, cargo, EMS, medevac, firefighting and search and rescue (the W3 RM Anaconda).

An upgraded version of the Sokol is currently under development. The SW5 (a provisional designation) would have twin FADEC equipped 745kW (1000shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6B-67B turboshafts, Sextant supplied avionics, a simplified rotor head and greater use of composites.

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The backbone of this section is from the The International Directory of Civil Aircraft by Gerard Frawley and used with permission. To get your own copy of the book click here.