Kopter SH09. Photo courtesy of Kopter
Metro Aviation has signed on to purchase five Kopter SH09 twin-engine helicopters once the aircraft is FAA certified.
Kopter and Metro, the largest private hospital-based air medical service provider in the United States, announced a signed memorandum of agreement for the aircraft on July 23. The new contract brings the total number of orders for the SH09 to 70 aircraft, with another 100 letters of intent to purchase the helicopter following certification, which is expected this year.
The SH09 is a multirole aircraft, featuring a full glass cockpit, dual hydraulic system and dual electrical circuit. At a base price around $3 million, the 2.65-ton helicopter will compete against the Leonardo AW119, Bell 407 and Airbus Helicopters H130 and H125. Its full-carbon airframe provides relative advantages in cabin volume, payload and safety.
Metro Aviation chose the SH09 — three prototypes are currently in flight test in Italy — for its twin-engine performance, cabin volume, speed, range, payload and relatively low operating costs, it said in the announcement.
The 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.
“We have become more familiar with the SH09 concept and we've worked in conjunction with Kopter to develop interiors for EMS, Airborne Law Enforcement and Tour Operations, which Metro has rolled out to the industry in the last two years,” Metro Aviation President Mike Stanberry said in a prepared statement.
Cooperation between the operator and manufacturer began in 2018, when they collaborated on the design and completion of several interiors for the SH09, which were successfully presented at several helicopter exhibitions in North America.
“Those interiors were very well received by the industry,” Stanberry said. “The benefits of a twin-engine cabin with the purchase price and operation cost of a single-engine aircraft, along with exceptional performance, make the SH09 a very attractive option. It made sense for us to move forward with the MOA expressing our intent to purchase at this time.”
Switzerland-based Kopter announced in March plans to build a new 84,700-square-foot manufacturing facility in Lafayette, Louisiana, where it will build up to 100 of its new SH09 light single-engine helicopters per year over the next decade. Eventually, the Louisiana site will source parts from U.S. suppliers and will account for up to half of all SH09 production.
“Metro Aviation is very highly regarded in the industry for their innovation, and their constant and uncompromising dedication to customer service,” said Larry Roberts, president of sales, marketing and customer support for Kopter North America. “Their intent to purchase five of our aircraft brings a great deal of pride to our company, our U.S. operations and to all our employees. Our goal will be to ensure that Metro Aviation can continue to provide their high level of customer service while operating these helicopters.”
Andreas Löwenstein, CEO of Kopter Group, added: “I am tremendously pleased to bring our cooperation with Metro Aviation to this new level and I am equally very proud that our helicopter is now slated to be included in the future fleet of an Operator such as Metro Aviation who is recognized globally for their high level of expertise and service.”