HELI-EXPO: Eagle Copters begins testing new engine in Bell 407

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Calgary-based Eagle Copters has started flight testing its three-year-old concept to install a Honeywell HTS900 engine in a Bell 407.

Eagle Copters completed 6h of flight tests before halting to bring the re-engined helicopter to the Heli-Expo convention, says David Whiting, executive vice-president.

The Eagle 407HP essentially revives Bell’s abandoned programme to certificate the 417 helicopter, which was a commercial variant of the cancelled US Army ARH-70 Arapaho. The 417 replaced the Rolls-Royce M250 engine with the dual-channel FADEC-equipped HTS900, which was originally developed for the ARH-70.

Eagle believes the retrofit option for an HTS900-powered 407 could appeal to as much as 15-20% of the installed base of more than 1,400 helicopters in service. It is especially aimed at customers requiring better hot and high performance.

“We’ve had a lot of interest, I can say that,” Whiting says.