Marenco Swisshelicopter is testing a redesigned main rotor head for its SKYe SH09 light single and is now planning on obtaining EASA certification between June and October 2016, adding a few months' delay. Modified blades are now being assessed on the company's “whirl tower” test bench at Mollis Airport, Switzerland.
The number of flight hours the first prototype (P1) has performed since its maiden sortie on Oct. 2, 2014, is in the high double digits, chief commercial officer Mathias Sénès told AIN. Since the first flight-test campaign was completed last spring, design engineers have worked to reduce vibration and complexity on the rotor head, while enhancing “tolerance to future upgrades.”
First to receive the new rotor head and accompanying blades will be the second prototype (P2). Rollout is anticipated within the next two months, and P2 will thus be the main test vehicle. P1, which has not flown faster than 50 knots yet, will then be modified with the new main rotor system.
Sénès said the company has 72 letters of intent for the all-composite, clean-sheet helicopter. The launch customer is scheduled to receive its SH09 late in 2016. With a 5,842-pound mtow, the Honeywell HTS900-powered SH09 is designed to carry one pilot and seven passengers, positioning it at the higher end of the single-engine helicopter segment.