The third prototype of the SH09 helicopter (P3 prototype) completed its first flight with more than 50 hours of testing at the Mollis airfield, the Kopter Group reported in a press release. The aircraft climbed up to 5,000 feet (1,524m) and reached a speed of 126 knots (233km per hour). The company was very pleased with the results and now plans to carry out further test flights in Sicily.
In parallel to the remaining test flights, Kopter is already working on the fourth design of the helicopter (Pre-Series 4 – PS4). PS4 will offer space for additional passengers, meaning a total of eight will be able to fly in the helicopter. This extra space is enabled by the new design of the fuel tank system. The take-off weight of the SH09 has been raised to 2,850kg, increasing to 3,000kg for external loads. Once complete, the PS4 will also be tested in Sicily. It will help the Kopter Group gain the Type Certification for this helicopter.
The company plans to manufacture SH09 in Mollis in future and expects to achieve an annual production rate of 50 helicopters. Kopter also intends to construct a new building for its pre-assembly activities at the Mollis airfield by 2021 and increase the number of employees fourfold to around 400.