Kopter pro­gresses, US pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity an­nounced

Pilot - - ROTORHEADS -

Fol­low­ing its first flight on 22 November, the third pro­to­type Marenco Kopter SH09 (P3) has com­pleted more than fifty hours of test­ing at the com­pany’s head­quar­ters at Mol­lis, Switzer­land. Dur­ing these flights it climbed to 5,000ft, achieved a max­i­mum speed of 126kt, and per­formed au­toro­ta­tions and short field takeoffs and landings.

P3 will now move to the com­pany’s new test cen­tre at Poz­za­llo, Si­cily, where its flight en­ve­lope will be ex­panded and fi­nal con­fig­u­ra­tion frozen in prepa­ra­tion for type cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. It will be used pri­mar­ily to de­velop and test dif­fer­ent mis­sion con­fig­u­ra­tions, avion­ics, cabin in­te­ri­ors and op­tional equipment.

Kopter is now fi­nal­is­ing the de­sign of the pre-series air­craft (PS4), which fea­tures an en­larged cabin ac­com­mo­dat­ing one more pas­sen­ger−now up to eight− fol­low­ing re­design of the fuel tank. The pay­load ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the SH09 are con­firmed, while the max­i­mum take­off weight has been in­creased to 2,850kg, or 3,000kg with ex­ter­nal load. An ad­di­tional air­craft, Pre-series 5 (PS5), will be added to the test fleet to cover the ex­ten­sion of the flight en­ve­lope for hot-and-high and low tem­per­a­ture con­di­tions. At March’s HAI Heli-expo show in At­lanta, Ge­or­gia Kopter Group Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer An­dreas Löwen­stein an­nounced that Lafayette, Louisiana will be home to the com­pany’s US sub­sidiary, which will take over an 84,700sq ft pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity that was va­cated by Bell last Au­gust. Kopter’s man­u­fac­tur­ing head­quar­ters in Mol­lis, Switzer­land will pro­duce SH09 sub­assem­blies, with Lafayette un­der­tak­ing fi­nal as­sem­bly, cus­tomi­sa­tion, North Amer­i­can de­liv­er­ies and cus­tomer sup­port.

Kopter cur­rently has 25 or­ders from US cus­tomers for the SH09, which is sched­uled for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and first de­liv­er­ies next year. The first fully Us-as­sem­bled he­li­copter will be de­liv­ered from Lafayette in 2021.The com­pany ex­pects that the US mar­ket will ac­count for some fifty per cent of sales dur­ing the first decade, and pre­dicts that by 2025 pro­duc­tion will reach 100 per year.

ABOVE: Swiss Marenco Kopter in its home Alpine set­ting

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