Eagle Copters of Calgary, Alberta (Booth No. 3717) said development and testing of its Bell 407 HP engine-conversion program was proceeding and that the company expected Transport Canada and FAA approval next year. Mike Mallon, Eagle Copters director of maintenance, said the company had yet to set a price for the conversion, but was striving to keep costs down by using as many original 407 components as possible, including cowling inlets and drive shafts.
“We’re doing everything we can to keep the costs down and simplify certification,” he said. Mallon used the engine inlets as an example of this philosophy. “By retaining the original cowling inlets, we don’t need to do icing testing on them. We can still use the original (tail rotor) drive shaft, too, although we do put spacers in them.”
Mallon said Eagle plans to conduct flight testing later this year. Conversions will be installed at Eagle and conversion kits will be shipped to qualified maintenance shops of a customer’s choosing. “Just about any shop with competent engine, structure and avionics capability can do this,” he said. The conversion requires minor changes in engine monitoring instruments.
The Eagle 407 HP program was announced at Heli-Expo 2010 and allows operators to replace the standard Bell 407 Rolls-Royce 250-C47, 813-shp engine with a Honeywell dual-channel Fadec, 970-shp HTS900 engine. The conversion is expected to yield a 26 percent increase in shaft horsepower, a 40 percent increase in hover-out-of-ground-effect (HOGE) performance, overall better high/hot performance, increased useful load and a 10 percent reduction in specific fuel consumption.
At this year’s Heli-Expo, Rolls-Royce announced a VIP upgrade kit for the series 250 engines on the Bell 407 and MD600. The M250 kit was certified in late 2011 and reduces fuel burn by 2 percent and increases engine performance by 5 percent.
Mallon said he expected some customers to opt for refreshed avionics, such as the Garmin 500H system, when the engine conversion is installed, but that most of them “just want more power.”