The Eagle Copters 407HP, a more powerful re


The Eagle Copters 407HP, a more powerful re
ustralia’s first Eagle Copters
407HP, a re-engined Bell
407 with a Honeywell
turboshaft engine installed
to improve the type’s high
altitude and hot ambient
temperature performance while
reducing operating costs, made
its debut at Rotortech 2016 on the
Sunshine Coast (see Rotor Torque)
in late May.
Carried out under a
supplemental type certificate
(STC) by Alberta, Canada-based
Eagle Copters, the Eagle 407HP
re-engine program sees the
407’s factory-fitted Rolls-Royce
250-C47B turboshaft replaced with
a 1,021shp (760kW) dual-channel
FADEC Honeywell HTS900D-2.
After the re-engine process is
complete, which takes around four
to six weeks, the helicopter gains
a 22 per cent increase in shaft
horsepower capable of lifting an
additional 316kg of payload while
burning through 17 per cent less
fuel than a conventional Bell 407.
“Any Bell 407 passing through
4,000ft on a warm day is going to
benefit from this conversion,” Eagle
Copters director David Whiting
said. “That’s where the advantage is
going to be – lifting more payload
to higher altitudes or in hotter
temperatures. It adds up to a 700lb
advantage of fuel, people, water,
The Eagle Copters 407HP, a more powerful re-engine
of Bell’s popular 407 light single, has landed
cargo – you choose where you want
that advantage.”
The 407HP is the further
development of Bell Helicopter’s
cancelled 417 program, a civilian
version of its ARH-70 (407)
armed reconnaissance helicopter
being developed for the US Army
powered by a Honeywell HTS900.
Despite accepting 136 deposits
from customers for the more
powerful machine, Bell cancelled
the 417 program in 2007 and
subsequently its ARH-70 in 2008.
“When they decided to cancel
the program we were on the heels
of completing our first Eagle Single
(a converted single-engine Bell
212) so we had experience with a
re-engine program and were a longtime customer of Bell and a partner
with Honeywell,” said Whiting.
“Both independently approached
us to see if we could take the 407
re-engine program on. We signed
an agreement which allowed Bell to
provide us with all the intellectual
property of the 417 and we were
able to take full advantage of that
through the certification process.”
The Eagle 407HP completed
its first flight on February 10 2013
and attained Transport Canada
certification in late December 2014
and its FAA ticket in early January
2015. To date, six 407s have been
converted at Eagle Copters’ facility
in Calgary, Alberta including
VH-EPU, the first of type registered
in Australia, arriving in-country
after its conversion only two weeks
before Rotortech.
“There are 1,100 analog 407s
fielded and we have identified 30
per cent of them really have a need
for hot and high performance,”
said Whiting.
“We wanted to get into a pure
production environment which
allowed us to ensure repeatability of
the installation. We don’t see it as a
one-off – it’s not a hybrid. It’s been
a matter of timing and everything is
coming together now.”
The 407HP STC is currently
only approved to be carried out on
existing analog-instrumented 407s
and not the glass Garmin G1000equipped Bell 407GX/GXPs.
“It’s all to do with intellectual
property around the Garmin
avionics suite which the engine has
to be integrated with,” said Eagle
Copters Australasia chief executive
Grant Boyter.
“The HTS900D-2 is in fact a
digital engine which we convert back
to analog on the flightdeck. So digital
to digital should be fine. We think it
will be driven by the operators in the
end. They will want it once there are
a few out there operating and they can
see the benefits of it – it’s the obvious
next step.”
Eagle Copters Australasia will
soon be ready to do the first local
407HP conversion at its Coffs
Harbour Airport facility. Boyter
said there are already Australian
companies tendering for contracts
using the Eagle 407HP specifically
to go in competition against the
H125 Squirrel.
“We originally thought the
re-engine would be applicable just
to current to Bell 407 operators
with the increased performance.
But once we actually developed the
charts we discovered this is now
going to compete very well with the
B3 and B3e Squirrel. The Airbus
product has enjoyed an advantage
for a long time, so hopefully we
will be able to pull some back.This
is going to be a true competition.”
In the coming months, Eagle
Copters Australasia will take
VH-EPU on a demonstration tour
along the east coast of Australia
and on to PNG.
“Operators and customers are
looking for something more for their
money right now,” said Whiting.
“A retrofit upgrade is perfect as
it allows the operator to keep their
helicopter, they get a new engine
with 22 per cent more horsepower,
a dual channel FADEC and less fuel
burn. It’s all the things an operator
needs to distance themselves from
the competition.”

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