Hill Helicopters reported that it has accumulated more than 342 orders for its turbine single-engine kit HX50 and to be certified HC50 helicopters.
The sales pace surprised CEO Jason Hill, who said that sales came from 38 different countries and significantly bested orders from competitors, although Hill's helicopters have not yet entered service. “We have a 51 percent market share. We're outselling the [Robinson] R44 by 2.3 to one, the R66 by four to one, and the Bell 505 by 4.6 to one,” he told a recent virtual global meetup audience.
Hill said development of the HX50 is “right on schedule and has met all major milestones.” He predicted the helicopter will achieve first flight next year and customer deliveries in 2023 “as originally planned.” Deliveries of the to be certified HC50 are slated to begin in 2026. Hill received additional orders for the $960,000 HC50 last week as part of a promotion to offer the helicopter at a substantial discount through Jan. 31, 2022, to customers who have already ordered the HX50. Those customers will be able to order an HC50 for $696,000.
The HX50 program has already made substantial progress, according to Hill, thanks to being completely vertically integrated and the use of manufacturing techniques new to the helicopter industry, such as making the composite fuselage as a single piece. Hill is also manufacturing its own engine, the GT50. “We make stuff in-house,” Hill said. “We have absolute, total control over our cost base. What that means for [customers] is not only we deliver you an aircraft at the right price point, it also means that we can control the cost of spares and that the through-life costs of support are properly controlled.”