Helicopter secondary market expert Gualter Helicopters, which for years has displayed preowned rotary-wing aircraft at its LABACE static display area, is taking a new direction this year as Brazilian distributor for Swiss rotorcraft startup Kopter. The mockup of the SH09 that was displayed at the Heli-Expo show will be the centerpiece of Gualter's display, although "one or two preowned aircraft" will fill out the display, according to company founder Gualter Pizzi.
Pizzi said that Kopter is looking at locations for a factory in Brazil. He considers the product an excellent fit for the Brazilian market, as the carbon-fiber construction allows for a larger cabin, carrying a pilot and eight passengers. The large rear door makes carrying an aeromedical stretcher much easier.
The aeromedical market is one for which the SH09 is particularly well suited. "The noise level is lower, there's no hitting your head, there's a flat floor, and 6.5 cubic meters of interior space," Pizzi said. The SH09 has duplicated mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic systems for reliability but has a projected low operating cost with its single 1,020-shp Honeywell HTS900 turbine engine and its on-condition maintenance schedule.
A helicopter with a single conventional engine and a cabin size that requires the medic to crouch beside the patient may work for a short evacuation, but not for a 45-minute trip. The state of São Paulo is the size of France but only has two-thirds the population, and hospitals capable of handling the most serious traumas are rarer, which means aeromedical trips are longer. The purchase and operating costs of twin-turbine helicopters are steep for limited public health and police budgets. If the Kopter SH09 can provide adequate space at an acceptable price, it may well find a ready market in Brazil.
Pizzi is seeing a better preowned market in 2019, having sold eight units, and he is projecting sales for the year of 24-25 units, compared to 2018's 18 sales, "The second half is always better," he explained.