Despite a decrease in single - and twin-engine light helicopter sales in 2014, there was still substantial developments made for many helicopter engines. With a multitude of helicopters entering service and coming into the pipeline, engine manufacturers keep developing and designing new power plants for service.
Rolls-Royce has turned its attention towards the light turbine end of the helicopter market. One of its more popular models is the 300-shp RR300 on the Robinson R66. They have produced 600 of them since late 2010, when deliveries began. Another Rolls-Royce model is the M250-C47E, the latest version of the ubiquitous turboshaft family that gained FAA certification in September 2014.
One of Honeywell’s latest engines is the 1,000-shp HTS900-2, and it powers Marenco Swisshelicopter’s single-turbine SKYe SH09. Originally, it was designed just for prototypes, but it is now being offered as standard fit.
Eagle Copters International out of Calgary got an FAA supplemental type certificate that will retrofit the HTS900 into the Bell 407 light turbine single. It is set for certification in 2018.
Pratt & Whitney has come out with their newest model in the PW200 series of engines. It is the PW206B3, and will enter service sometime before July on Airbus Helicopters’ EC135 P3 light twin. As for Airbus Helicopter themselves, their X4 medium twin is set to launch for Turbomeca’s 1,100-1,300-shp Arrano. It will be unveiled at Heli-Expo.
Another engine that is now in flight testing, the Arrius 2R powering Bell’s Model 505 JetRanger X light helicopter, comes from one of the bigger programs listed here. They plan to produce up to 200 each year, and have already received letters of intent for 300 of them.
The new 7,500-shp General Electric GE38, which will power Sikorsky’s CH-53K King Stallion, is one of the most powerful helicopter engines ever made. Tests of this engine were delayed, but it could be in the air for the first time as early as this month.
Finally, the CT7 made by GE continues to support the heavier commercial helicopters, including Sikorsky’s S-92 and AgustaWestland AW189. Over 500 have already been installed.
Even in a down year for helicopter sales, the engines being produced for them look more impressive than ever.
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