You may recall the innovative design of the Marenco Swisshelicopter SKYe SH09 – the light helicopter with the double doors at the tail section and large sliding door entry for the glass cockpit – and wonder what is happening with the Swiss project. The answer is, a whole lot. The company announced last week it is making good progress on the development and testing program and is on track for type certification by the end of next year with deliveries beginning in 2019.
Marenco recently rolled out the third prototype for the multi-mission helicopter. The second prototype has accumulated 50 hours of flight testing, with more than 100 hours of rotor testing including the ground test. Plans call for a fourth prototype to roll out at the beginning of next year.
A Honeywell HTS900-2 engine powers the SKYe to speeds of around 145 knots. The rotor consists of five composite blades, which Marenco claims are low maintenance, have low vibration, and result in low lifecycle costs. The tail rotor is shrouded for reduced noise and increased safety, and the tail boom is mounted high for good access to the rear entry doors.The SH09 is designed to seat up to eight people.
The number of employees has increased by nearly 57 percent in the past year. There are currently 213 people on the payroll, the majority of whom are engineers. The ramp up of personnel will continue to support the start of serial production. A nearly 41,000 sq ft production facility, with space for administration, training and product support, opened in Mollis, Switzerland this year, with a logistics and pre-assembly center in the neighboring town of Näfels. Another administration and construction facility will open by the end of the year in Wetzikon, about 26 miles northwest of Mollis.