Hill Developing Own Helicopter Engine for HX50

 - November 3, 2020, 10:21 AM
The Hill GT50 light turbine engine designed specifically for the new Hill HX50 turbine light single helicopter that was unveiled earlier this year. (Photo: Hill Helicopters)

Hill Helicopters today revealed a homegrown 400-shp (440-shp takeoff power) GT50 light turbine engine designed specifically for its HX50 turbine light single helicopter that was unveiled earlier this year. The company said designing its own turboshaft enables it to “move outside the constraints of existing engines designed in the 1950s” and create a “compact, light, reliable, and innovative solution” that fulfills “a specific market need.”

The new engine’s architecture features proprietary Fadec, a three-can combustor system, and eliminates the heavy compressor gearbox of current designs for a direct-drive starter generator. Hill said the engine also features “extensive use of redundant electrical engine ancillaries” and “a modular design” for easy maintenance of core components.

CEO Jason Hill said developing its own engine allowed the company to unlock “the potential of the helicopter in terms of both performance and cost, providing the enchanting opportunity to relaunch general aviation.” Specifications for the engine include a 5,000-hour/20,000 cycle on-condition TBO, an installed weight of 220 pounds, maximum fuel consumption of 35 gph, and the ability to burn jet-A1 (alternative) fuels.