Kopter has frozen the design of its SH09 turbine single-engine helicopter and will begin assembly of its first production aircraft by mid-2020, the company announced yesterday. It further said the final design will be revealed next month at Heli-Expo in Anaheim, California, where it plans to present a full-scale mockup of the helicopter kitted with a seven-seat “Traveller” configuration designed and manufactured in cooperation with Metro Aviation.
The design freeze comes one year after Kopter began accelerated flight testing of its P3 prototype aircraft at its flight test center in Pozzalla, Sicily. Kopter also said it would reveal its SH09 training simulator developed with VRM Switzerland at Heli-Expo.
Earlier this year, Kopter announced it was redesigning the SH09 to feature a larger cabin and increased mtow. At that time, the company said the redesign allowed the helicopter to carry an additional passenger and increase its mtow to 6,613 pounds from 6,283 pounds, due in part to a redesign of the fuel tank system. In October, Kopter revealed that it had successfully tested a new main gearbox aboard aircraft P3.
The $3.5 million SH09 features a digital avionic suite with capability to integrate a four-axis autopilot and allow IFR operations approval. Power comes from a single 1,020-shp Honeywell HTS900. The helicopter will have a projected maximum cruise speed of 140 knots and range of 430 nm.
In March, Kopter announced it had assumed occupancy of the former Bell 505 facility in Lafayette, Louisiana, and expects to eventually build half of its total production there, with deliveries from that facility beginning in 2021. Kopter also said earlier this year that it will start building a 215,000-sq-ft pre-assembly building at its Mollis, Switzerland headquarters later this year, with its opening slated for 2021. The company claims it has orders for more than 70 SH09 helicopters.