The third prototype (P3) of the Kopter SH09 single-engine helicopter has achieved forward speeds of 135 knots and flight at altitudes up to 10,000 feet during testing in Sicily, the Kopter Group announced Wednesday. Since March, P3 has performed 34 flights, logged more than 100 flight-test hours, and undergone its first major inspection. The company said the aircraft will now undergo “aerodynamic refinements” and be fitted with a new main gearbox housing before returning to flight and further flight envelope expansion.
Data from the improved P3 will then be used to configure two pre-series aircraft that will join the flight-test program next year. Kopter said it remains on track to obtain EASA certification of the SH09 in 2020.
The SH09 is powered by a single 1,020-shp Honeywell HTS900 engine. Performance goals include 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. In March Kopter announced that it had assumed occupancy of the former Bell 505 facility in Lafayette, Louisiana, and that it expected to eventually build half of its total production there, with deliveries from that facility beginning in 2021. To date, approximately 25 SH09s have been ordered by U.S. customers. Courtesy of AIN.