This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Leonardo subsidiary Kopter announced yesterday that flight testing of the third SH09 light-single helicopter prototype—dubbed P3—restarted in Pozzallo, Italy, last week. The Kopter flight test and prototype maintenance teams arrived in Pozzallo earlier this month to prepare P3 to resume flight tests that had been halted March 10 due to Covid-19.
Flight testing activities will now assess the benefits provided by the new main rotor configuration, Kopter said. Advancements in development and trials planned in the forthcoming months include new tail rotor head, the Garmin G3000H avionics suite, final main rotor head, and flight controls, the company added.
During the Covid-induced three-month pause in flight testing, Kopter said it maintained a “good level” of operational activities, leveraging its digital approach to operations and organization that allowed much of the staff to work from home. That allowed engineering teams to continue design activities for the upcoming P3 upgrades and pre-series 4 (PS4) configuration definition, while the operations and procurement teams continued to ensure the delivery of parts for both aircraft.
According to Leonardo, Kopter’s competencies will boost future developments of more disruptive technologies, mission capabilities, and performance, including hybrid/electrical propulsion solutions.