Shortly after its May debut at Rotortech, the aircraft was a practical model for the first Australasian five-day maintenance training course run by Eagle Copters Maintenance Pty. Ltd. in conjunction with Honeywell and Intermountain Turbine Services Inc.
In trial operations replacing a standard Bell 407 on a drilling exploration contract, the Eagle 407HP met and – in some cases – exceeded expectations when lifting various internal and external loads at around 6,500 feet (Density Altitude 8,000 feet). Mission-specific equipment was installed for the trials with Heli Niugini.
Mark Burgess, Honeywell Asia Pacific Vice President for Defense & Space said the HTS900 is an ideal fit for the Eagle 407HP in Papua New Guinea since it is designed to operate in high altitudes and hot temperatures. Additionally, the engine’s light weight and high performance capabilities make it more powerful using less fuel.
“Understanding the operational conditions in Papua New Guinea is especially important due to its rugged and heavily forested terrain,” Burgess said. “This is why selecting the right type of engine will help to optimize both cost and efficiencies, while delivering improved performance.”
The trials demonstrated the Eagle 407HP:
- Lifted and moved heavier parts of the drill rig, reducing disassembly requirements
- Carried a larger fuel load, reducing ferry refueling time and costs
- Handled heavier internal loads, reducing food resupply trips from two to one
The Eagle 407HP is torque-limited to around 10,500 feet compared to around 3,500 feet on a standard Bell 407 in Papua New Guinea. The ability of the HTS900 to supply the maximum allowed transmission horsepower up to 10,500 feet makes the 407HP is a game changer.
Based on initial results, the aircraft was taken up over 10,000 feet to prove its performance at “hot and high” heavy lifting conditions.
“After multiple lifts at 11,300 feet (Density Altitude 13,000 feet), the words ‘awesome’ and ‘what a beast’ were heard reverberating around the mountains in our trial run,” said Grant Boyter, Eagle Copters CEO.