Eagle Copters president Mike O’Reilly was beaming yesterday when he introduced the launch customer–Air Resources Helicopters (ARH)–for his company’s newly certified 1,020-shp Honeywell HTS900D-2-powered 407HP conversion. The helicopter services company is buying two 407HPs and is considering the purchase of one more. Eagle Copters’ news comes after a 3.5-year certification program with partners Bell Helicopter and Honeywell, culminating with U.S. and Canadian approvals in December.
California-based ARH founder Chuck McFarland said he’d flown the stock Bell 407 loaded with skiers up to 14,000 feet agl and found the Rolls-Royce-powered helicopter to be a little out of its element. “The 407HP has the horsepower for hot-and-high operations. We flew our [stock] helicopter for firefighting with a 270-gallon tank. With the two helicopters we are purchasing, we’ll be able to fill it all the way up,” he continued.
The Honeywell-powered 407HP has a 19-percent higher payload capacity at 10,000 feet agl over a stock Bell 407, and it can do that burning 17 percent less fuel, according to Eagle Copters. Sean Reid, CEO of ARH, said his company is still trying to figure out what kind of Bambi Bucket to purchase for the new machines.