Third Prototype Kopter SH09 Helicopter Makes First Flight
Kopter Group’s third SH09 composite turbine-single helicopter prototype (P3) made its first flight recently from the company's Mollis, Switzerland airfield headquarters. The flight lasted 40 minutes and involved a series of maneuvers aimed at obtaining preliminary flight data, evaluating flight qualities, and validating design test features.
P3 incorporates improvements and modifications based on testing of the first two prototypes, the company said. Richard Trueman, Kopter chief test pilot, said P3 “demonstrated excellent handling characteristics.” Trueman was joined onboard by Michele Riccobono, Kopter chief technical officer and head of flight operations, and Adam Reynolds, chief flight test engineer.
The company plans to continue flight testing P3 in Sicily and it will be joined by a fourth test helicopter, Pre-Series 4 (PS4), next year. Also next year, Kopter plans on turning its Mollis facility into a commercial production center. Kopter said earlier this year that it also plans to establish a U.S.-based assembly facility and hopes to begin construction on that facility next year. The Swiss helicopter start-up is aiming for EASA certification in 2019 and FAA validation in 2020.
The SH09 is powered by a single 1,020-shp Honeywell HTS900 engine. Preliminary data indicates a maximum cruise speed of 140 knots and a maximum range of 430 nm. The retail price is expected to be close to $3.5 million.
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