By By Ernie Stephens, Editor-at-Large | March 6, 2015
|Enstrom pilot Bill Taylor lifts the newly-designed Enstrom TH180 into the air for its first flight on Feb. 6. Photo courtesy of Enstrom Helicopters|
HAI Heli-Expo 2015 Orlando, Fla. - Enstrom Helicopter’s newly designed, two-seat TH180 recently completed a successful first flight.The single-engine piston, which will be marketed primarily as an entry-level rotorcraft trainer and personal aircraft, made its debut in mockup form at Heli-Expo 2014 in Anaheim, Calif., but was not flown for the first time until Feb. 6, 2015, at the company’s facilities in Menominee, Mich.
With several sections of its skin removed so that engineers could see the internal parts while functioning, the TH180 completed a tethered, 30-minute ground run, followed by a 30-minute free flight with chief pilot Bill Taylor at the controls. According to Orlando Alaniz, director of sales and marketing, everyone was very pleased with the results.
“We were on a scanner so we could listen to the [radio transmissions] and see how it was behaving,” said Alaniz. “As Taylor was coming back in he said, ‘Guys, it flies just like an Enstrom!’ And that’s the best thing he could have said!”
Once the development and certification processes have been completed, the TH180 will join Enstrom’s family of single-engine piston and turbine helicopters. It could also become a third option for primary flight training operators, who have been relying heavily on the Robinson R22 and Sikorsky (formerly Schweizer) 300 series for well over three decades.
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