Honeywell, Soloy boost AStar power
Honeywell dove back into the civil helicopter business here at Heli-Expo with a series of initiatives it hopes will land it squarely among the major players in the turboshaft propulsion business. Of course, the biggest news came during a Saturday afternoon press conference, when Honeywell revealed that its new HTS900 turboshaft will power the Bell 407X. But its new joint venture with Soloy that found the latest LTS101 turboshaft engine upgrade a home in the Eurocopter AS 350B2 AStar could prove just as significant.
The joint venture was officially launched here at Heli-Expo, but the partners actually began working on the project in November, only a month after a group of investors bought Soloy from its previous shareholders.
Dubbed the LTS101-700D-2, the upgrade owes its design to the LTS101-850 now mounted on the U.S. Coast Guard’s Eurocopter Dauphins. The engines would give the AStar 14 percent more takeoff power at sea level and 18 percent more power on hot days. Soloy has already begun taking orders for an AStar upgraded with Honeywell LTS101-600s, labeled the Super D2. Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, which now flies four Super Ds, has signed as the launch customer for the Honeywell-Soloy LTS101-700D-2 program.
“Our current LTS101 engines are burning almost 25 percent less block fuel per hour on our tour missions compared with competitive engine installations and are delivering significantly lower maintenance costs,” said Papillon maintenance director Dean Brandt. “We expect that same level of performance with these new LTS101-700D-2 engines.”
The improved power comes from a cooled gas producer (GP) turbine assembly designed to last 15,000 cycles, compared with 6,000 cycles in previous iterations. The LTS101-700-D2 also uses an updated gear set that reduces accumulated power turned cycles by 35 percent and raises torque limits by 6 percent.
The engine’s footprint mirrors that of existing 101s, allowing operators to upgrade with no real change to installation or mechanical interfaces. Soloy has already begun the new engine installation on a B2 AStar at its facility in Olympia, Wash.
Another of Honeywell’s engine variants, the 1,800-shp T5317BCV turboshaft, recently powered the first flight of the Bell 210 Medium Utility Helicopter. Based on the T53-L-703 that powers the Bell Huey II, the T5317BCV uses new PM Astroloy turbine disc material, an improved reduction gearbox and accessory drive carrier design. The new derivative gives operators a 5,000-hour TBO and a four-year or 2,000-hour warranty. The company provides a support package, including maintenance publications and limited initial provisioning, with each production engine.
Honeywell expects to win certification of the new variant by the end of March, at which time it plans to immediately start production.
In other Honeywell news, the company announced today that Sikorsky has chosen its VXP health and usage monitoring system (HUMS) for the S-76. The helomaker plans to offer the VXP as an option on new production S-76C+ machines, as well as a retrofit for existing S-76C+s and older S-76s. o