“It has not yet flown, but it is the actual prototype number one Marenco SKYe SH09,” Matthias Sénès, chief commercial officer for start-up Marenco Swisshelicopter, said in explaining the helicopter it has on display this week at Heli-Expo 2014. The blades are mock-ups, but only because the actual prototype blades are on the test stand along with the engine, Sénès noted.
“We decided it was important to bring the actual prototype this year, even though it does delay the first test flight by a month, but there will be many test flights, and Heli-Expo is only once a year,” he said. Marenco rolled out the prototype at Mollis Airport in Switzerland in late November and to date has run the engine but not yet engaged the rotor blades.
The order book for the SKYe SH09 now stands at 51, including three new orders that Marenco signed yesterday at Heli-Expo. The all-carbon-fiber, single engine, Honeywell HTS 900-2-powered helicopter costs $3.25 million and is equipped with dual sliding cabin doors and a glass cockpit.
All deposits are refundable based on whether the aircraft meets minimum performance marks and its certification milestones in a timely manner. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2017, according to Sénès, who seemed pleased by the crowds surrounding the aircraft in the exhibit hall this week.