Kopter P3 completes 34 test flights
Swiss helicopter manufacturer Kopter has completed 34 flights in its latest P3 – having flown more than 100 hours.
The company revealed its third prototype (P3) in March 2019. Alongside this, a new team was created to conduct test flights comprised of 20 flight-test engineers, pilots and mechanics based in Sicily.
This new prototype has flown 10,000 feet at 135 knot speeds and has conducted an average of nine flights per week since the P3 campaign started.
“Pozzallo provides the perfect operational conditions to conduct the SH09 intensive flight-test campaign needed in the frame of certification,” said a Kopter spokesperson. “It offers very limited restrictions and favourable weather conditions throughout the year, while giving the opportunity to experience a demanding climate with hot temperatures, high humidity, strong winds and a salty atmosphere.”
The next stage of the flight-test campaign will begin after the P3 implements aerodynamic refinements, improving qualities and a gear-box upgrade and will be flown on further missions to be replaced by the PS4 and PS5 (pre-series) aircraft which look to be certified next year.
Kopter also hopes to gain EASA certification for its first commercial SH09 model in 2020.
The company has also announced plans to build the final variant of the SH09 in Lafayette, Louisiana. This will be the main assembly plant for the aircraft and is expected to open its doors by 2025 and hire 120 personnel.