Menominee, MI, February, 2017–Enstrom’s TH180 helicopter program is moving forward towards certification. The TH180 is Enstrom’s latest foray in the ab-initio flight training, personal flying, and light commercial market. Designed to be simple and low cost, the TH180 will boast a number of traditional and beloved Enstrom features such as a high inertia fully articulated rotor head, unblocked tail rotor, and rugged landing gear. Enstrom’s are renowned for their safety, and it expected the TH180 will build upon that and be a class leader in safety.
Enstrom is currently flying it’s second (and first fully conforming) prototype TH180. In addition, a third prototype is undergoing static tests and will be added to the flight test program shortly. Enstrom’s flight testing to date has included handling and controllability surveys, load surveys, and continued systems development. Upcoming tests include fully defining the performance envelope and the FAA mandated 100 hour ground run.
“We are very happy with how the aircraft is flying,” said Enstrom Senior Test Pilot Bill Taylor. “There have been no real surprises. In fact most of the issues we’ve run into have been with the test equipment, not the aircraft itself. It’s really a good little helicopter. We look forward to really accelerating this test program and getting the aircraft onto the market.”
Enstrom is currently anticipating FAA certification by the end of 2017, with EASA and Transport Canada validation to follow shortly after. The helicopter will be powered by the new 210 hp Lycoming HIO-390-A1A engine, and will be initially certified with Garmin avionics. Enstrom is targeting a sub-$400,000 price point and holds a number of Letters of Intent for the new helicopter.