Marenco Swisshelicopter (Stand 12B10), manufacturer of the single turbine SKYe SH09, is making its debut at Helitech this year.
Although it won’t bring any of its aircraft, the Swiss company is eager to talk with potential customers while its composite helicopter is moving toward certification and production next year.
Photo courtesy of Marenco Swisshelicopter
Earlier this year, the second prototype (P2) started extending its flight envelope to higher speeds and altitude. “We are satisfied with the vibration and noise levels,” said Chief Commercial Officer Mathias Senes. “This is because we made the choice of a five-bladed rotorhead,” which is “unique in this category.” Noise is further reduced by a shrouded tail rotor.
“We think we will have a very competitive helicopter,” especially in tourism, said Senes. In the U.S., he said, noise rules are very stringent. Even in Europe, he sees noise reduction as an advantage for certain customers flying utility missions near cities, as they could fly longer during the day.
At a base price around $3 million, the 2.65-ton SKYe SH09 will compete against the Leonardo AW119, Bell Helicopter 407 and Airbus Helicopters H130 and H125. Its full-carbon airframe is bringing advantages in cabin volume, payload and safety.
The SKYe SH09 is designed to accommodate a pilot and up to seven passengers. It is equipped with a 1,020 shp (760 kW) Honeywell HTS900-2 turboshaft with FADEC that enables a cruise speed of 140 kt.
According to Senes, dual-redundant electrical and hydraulic systems will make the helicopter “equivalent in safety to a twin-engine.” He explained this should allow IFR operations, which he sees as a major trend in the market.
The design is now basically fixed, with only few changes from P2 to prototype P3, mainly aimed at easing maintenance. On-condition maintenance capability is expected to be another plus for the rotorcraft. P3 should roll out by the end of this year and fly soon after.
EASA certification is planned in 2017, with deliveries to follow.
The company, which employed 120 people in early 2016, plans to have 150 employees at the end of this year. It foresees a similar progression in the coming years. So far, the company has secured 90 letters of intent. Marenco expects to have a production capacity of up to 100 helicopters a year.
The company highlights its flexibility. “We are assemblers. We assemble the aircraft from a selection of suppliers,” said Senes. “So we’ll be able to move the line according to the markets.”
Moreover, technical margins have been taken to pave the way for future products: an extension toward a light twin is already being considered for the future.