|Enstrom TH180. By Frank Lombardi|
At Heli-Expo 2014 in Anaheim, Enstrom Helicopter of Menominee, Mich., pulled the wraps off of a brand new design – a two-seat, piston helicopter. The aircraft, dubbed the TH180, shares the same general shape of the larger three- and five-seat Enstrom products, but scaled down to accommodate just two people.
“The TH180 is designed primarily as a training helicopter,” said Orlando Alaniz, Enstrom’s director of marketing. “In addition, the TH180 will be well suited for other missions, such as patrol, surveillance, or personal transport.”
A fuel-injected, Lycoming HIO-390 piston engine will drive the TH180’s high inertia main rotor. And in the company’s attempt to appeal to helicopter flight schools, the designers included an engine governor, shock-absorbing skids, sturdy airframe, and what Alaniz described as “excellent autorotation capabilities.” The TH180 “is also designed with the flight instructor in mind,” Alaniz added. “It has a quiet cabin with plenty of head and leg room.” Alaniz did not say what the TH180 would cost, but did say that maintenance would be economical. Enstrom has already received orders from launch customers Indiana Helicopters in Goshen, Ind., and Sharkey’s Helicopters of West Lebanon, N.H.