Enstrom flies first 480B for JGSDF training programme

Enstrom flies first 480B for JGSDF training programme

30-Aug-2010 Source: Enstrom

Enstrom Helicopter Corporation has completed the first day of flying for the first 480B helicopter destined for the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) Pilot Training Programme.

“The first day could not have gone better”, said Jerry Mullins, President and CEO of Enstrom Helicopter Corporation.  “All necessary flight performance requirements were met and Production Flight Testing has been completed.  We will enter into the certification phase of the testing early this week.”

The aircraft configuration procured by the JGSDF has multiple new options that were developed for this program.  The industry unique 2+2 (two pilots and 2 passenger) cabin configuration was one of the major developments undertaken for the JGSDF.

Certified in November of 2009, Enstrom and its Japanese representation, AERO Facility, Ltd. Inc., teamed up to develop and certify the newly configured cabin that allows two sets of controls and additional seating for two passengers.

“The unique thing about this configuration in the 480B”, said Tracy Biegler, Director of Sales and Marketing, “is that both pilots and passengers are all in the same area, able to view all instruments, watch each of the pilots, and see what each other see.”

The 2+2 configuration was one of the major requirements of the program and was recognized early on as a key to success.  The requested configuration was very stringent and required excellent visibility of the instruments, controls, and external views from all seats within the helicopter.

Therefore, a unique cabin configuration, such as the 480B provides, was required to create a successful solution without compromise to the rest of the program.  With the versatility of the Enstrom design, along with a company infrastructure designed and staffed to react quickly, the design went from concept to certification in record time.
Other items that were developed for this program are primarily special support avionics for the missions defined by the JGSDF.  Certification will now drive the final delivery timing for the aircraft.

It is expected that this process will be completed within the next six to eight weeks.  The program calls for this first evaluation helicopter to be delivered in 2010, with a total of 30 aircraft to be delivered by 2014.

Enstrom was chosen in a competitive bidding process over two formidable manufacturers in February of this year.

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