The private helicopter market is a section of General Aviation that is known to only a select group of people in the world - the market made up "air taxis" capable of ferrying VIPs and others to-and-fro high, above the masses stuck in daily traffic. The industry is open to but the few who can afford it but is also one that has not experienced a revolutionary leap in quite some time. Britain-based (Staffordshire, UK) start up Hill Helicopters is set to change all that with their proposed HX50 series platform - a sleek, streamlined offering seating five and powered by a turbine engine intended as a private ownership, luxury-first VIP passenger hauler.
Series introduction is expected to be had in the early part of 2023.
As designed, the aircraft exudes the styling expected of a product of this caliber: the nose section and sides of the fuselage feature clear-view glass panels to provide for maximum viewing from within the helicopter. Hinged automobile-style doors allow for the needed access to the cockpit and passenger cabin. The engine is fitted to the top of the fuselage in the usual way and drives a low-mounted three-bladed main rotor unit as well as a Fenestron-shrouded tail rotor unit embedded in the tail fin. The tail rotor is powered by way of a drive shaft seated within the tail stem. The stem is also home to a pair of horizontal planes, each with down-turned tips. The helicopter accomplishes ground-running by a simple tricycle arrangement that is wheeled though fixed in flight. Overall construction will incorporate composites to the fuselage as well as the rotors.
Internally, the helicopter will be piloted by a single crewman with seating for four passengers. An all-glass cockpit, advanced systems management, and enhanced safety will be featured.
Detailed specifications up to this point paint a relatively compact, light-class helicopter with an overall length of 32 feet and fuselage width of 5 feet. Empty weight is 1,870lb against an MTOW of 3,630lb and the cargo-carrying threshold reaches 1,760lb.
Power is a single engine of unknown make and model rated at 500 horsepower output. Cruising speeds would reach 140 knots. While other specifications are unknown at this time (2020), it is intended that the HX50 will provide exceptional performance and agility.
Hill Helicopters is taking orders for its HX50 product in the last quarter of 2020. Three prototypes will make up the development/flight-testing phase which is set to start sometime in 2022.
September 2020 - Hill Helicopters will be developing an in-house turboshaft engine solution for its HX50 project.
November 2020 - Hill Helicopters has unveiled its CT50 twin-spool turbine engine rated at 500 horsepower.
June 2021 - Hill Helicopters announced presale totals of more than 200 units of its anticipated HX50 helicopter. A first-flight is tentatively scheduled for sometime in 2022.
United Kingdom (Possible); United States (possible)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Used in roles serving the commercial aviation market, ferrying both passengers and goods over range.
Used in the Very-Important-Person (VIP) passenger transport role, typically with above-average amenities and luxuries as standard.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
32.2 ft (9.80 m)
1,874 lb (850 kg)
3,638 lb (1,650 kg)
+1,764 lb (+800 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Hill Helicopters HX50 production variant)
1 x Hill Helicopters turboshaft engine developing 500 horsepower driving a three-bladed main rotor unit and Fenestron shrouded tail rotor unit.
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