The SKYe SH09 is an in-development, low-cost, light utility helicopter venture originating out of Swiss-based Marenco SwissHelicopter. The company is looking to capitalized on the growing light helicopter market which will begin to see several long-running competitor products reach their useful operational service lives in the ongoing decade. With the program begun in 2007, the SH09 was first unveiled in mockup form at Heli-Expo 2011 and the first prototype speedily arrived in November of 2013. To date (January 2014), the company has recorded orders for 48 units. Ground testing is expected to begin in January of 2014 with certification targeted for 2015.
The SH09 relies on an American Honeywell Aerospace HTS900 series turboshaft engine of 1,020 horsepower driving a five-bladed composite main rotor assembly and a multi-bladed shrouded tail rotor. The main rotor measures 36 feet in diameter. The tail rotor is driven by a shaft running through a thin raised stem. The stem is also home to a horizontal plane containing a pair of vertical rudders. The SH09's external shape is very sleek, almost lozenge-like, with a heavily glazed forward section and heavily windowed sides. The basic internal configuration allows for two primary crew seated side-by-side with passenger seating (also side-by-side) in the cabin just aft of the cockpit and ahead/under the powerplant compartment. Cockpit visibility has been given special attention throughout the SH09's design phase which has led to large forward windscreens, transparent floor panels and large windows along the sides of the fuselage. Sliding doors allow for access to the passenger cabin from either fuselage side while each pilot is also given individual doors for entry/exit. The aft portion of the fuselage sports a clamshell-type access feature. The helicopter makes use of a fixed skid undercarriage which connects directly into the fuselage at two primary support points.
Reported performance specifications include a cruising speed of 170 miles per hour and a range out to 500 miles (430 nautical miles).
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March 2017 - EASA certification for the SKYe H09 is now planned for sometime in 2018. Some ninety units are already contracted for by various global carriers / services.
January 2018 - Marenco SwissHelicopter has rebranded to become Kopter to help push certification finalization on its SH09 sometime in 2019.
February 2018 - The SH09 is expected to enter the market in the Second Quarter of 2019.
November 2018 - Kopter has flown the third prototype in its SH09 development phase. Reduced weight is one of the key changes of this entry over previous models.
March 2019 - The SH09 product is nearing type certification as the company makes plans to expand serial production efforts into the United States.
October 2019 - Flight testing of the third SH09 has been restarted after changes were enacted to the transmission system.
January 2020 - As many as 70 firm orders are credited to the SH09 program to date.
January 2020 - Certification of the SH09 platform is hoped for sometime in 2020.
January 2020 - It was announced on January 28th, 2020, that Italian aircraft-maker Leonardo will be purchasing the Swiss-based helicopter manufacturer Kopter Group in a $185 million USD deal from current owner Lynwood. Leonardo will gain 100% control of the company in the deal.
June 2020 - Flight testing, derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, has resumed for the SH09 helicopter.
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