Marenco Swisshelicopter unveiled the first prototype of its all-composite SKYe SH09 light single helicopter on Thursday at Mollis Airport in Switzerland. First flight is expected early next year and production should start in 2015, the company said.
Targeting the higher end of the light single segment, the SH09 features a carbon-fiber airframe, a five-blade main rotor to cut vibration and a 1,020-shp Honeywell HTS900-2 turboshaft. A compact instrument panel and extended transparencies afford the helicopter exceptional visibility for the crew and passengers, Marenco said.
The helicopter can carry up to seven passengers or 3,300 pounds as a sling load. The SH09’s mtow stands at 5,840 pounds with an internal load or 6,170 pounds with an external load. Preliminary performance data includes a 140-knot cruise speed, 430-nm range and up to five hours of endurance.
With its SKYe SH09, Marenco hopes to offer a more modern alternative to existing-production light turbine singles. The Eurocopter AS350’s design dates back to the 1970s, while the AgustaWestland AW119 Koala and Eurocopter EC130 were introduced in the 1990s.