Kopter Group AG (Kopter) has commenced the next phase of its helicopter development and certification program with its latest SH09 prototype number 3 (P3).
P3 has achieved the necessary technical clearance and regulatory compliance to start flight tests. Designed in Switzerland and assembled at the Kopter facility at Mollis airfield, it incorporates several improvements and modifications based on feedback resulting from the testing of Kopter prototypes 1 and 2.
P3 flew from Mollis airfield for 40 mins and successfully completed its first flight test schedule, which included a series of maneuvers aimed to obtaining preliminary flight data, validating test design features and evaluating flight qualities.
“P3 demonstrated excellent handling characteristics today, I expect Kopter to make rapid progress in development of the SH09” reported Richard Trueman, the Kopter Chief Test Pilot after the flight.
The Kopter Chief Technical Officer & Head of Flight Operations, Michele Riccobono was on board P3 today together with Adam Reynolds the Kopter Chief Flight Test engineer. Riccobono added “I am very pleased with P3, the Kopter design team have developed this latest SH09 to bring forward Kopter development and certification activity over the coming months, with P3, we have a key tool for this task”.
While P3 will continue the development of the SH09 by performing an intensive flight test campaign in Sicily (Pozzallo, Province of Ragusa), the Kopter team in Mollis will finalize the preparation of the next prototype, the Pre-Series number 4 (PS4), which will join P3 in 2019 to undertake flight testing in Sicily. In addition to its essential contribution to the development aircraft, the Mollis team will set its future focus on upgrading the existing facility into a fully operational commercial production center.
“I am proud of the Kopter team and its ability to develop the next generation single engine rotorcraft” said Andreas Lowenstein, Kopter Chief Executive Officer. “With P3 we are set on the path towards delivery to our customers”. He added: “We have seen a tremendous response from the market for the SH09, which offers the highest standards of safety, mission capability and cost efficiency, which our customers are asking for.”