Enstrom Launches Low-cost Training Helicopter

 - February 26, 2014, 4:39 PM

Enstrom Helicopter unveiled a mockup of a new, low-cost, two-seat piston-powered trainer yesterday at Heli-Expo 2014 in Anaheim, Calif. The TH-180 is a scaled-down version of the company’s three-seat FX-280.

Company officials said the TH-180 should have direct operating costs of $175 per hour and an hourly fuel burn of less than 12 gph. The launch price is $365,000. It will be powered by the 210-hp Lycoming HIO-390 and feature an engine governor and electric clutch switch. First flight is anticipated this summer and certification is targeted for 2015.

Compared with the 280, the TH-180 has more robust landing gear and weighs 500 pounds less, about 2,250 pounds maximum gross weight, said Enstrom CEO Tracy Biegler. “We basically scaled an F model,” he said. He called the market for the TH-180 “huge.”

He said that Enstrom’s new expanded production plant in Menominee, Mich., has the capacity to build 100 TH-180s per year. The company’s new owner, the Chongqing Helicopter Investment Co. (CQHIC), contributed engineering assistance on the pylon and tailcone modeling for the new helicopter.