US GYROPLANE developer Groen Brothers Aviation (GBA) has signed a letter of intent covering licence-assembly of its aircraft in China. Shanghai Energy and Chemicals (SECC) plans to buy 200 H2X three-seat commercial gyroplanes with which to establish an air-taxi company in China, and for corporate transport around congested Shanghai.

SECC would be the launch customer for the Hawk gyroplane, which Salt Lake City, Utah-based GBA has been developing for the past decade.

A single-seat prototype was first flown in 1991. A prototype of the H2X has also been flown, and a production prototype will be flown in October, says company co-founder David Groen.

The piston-powered vertical-take-off-and-landing aircraft has a range of more than 920km (500nm) and a maximum speed of 145kt (270km/h). GBA plans US Part 27 certification of the H2X within the next two years, but China will conduct its own certification effort, Groen says. The US company is also planning to develop five- and eight-seat turboprop-powered versions of the Hawk. These would have tip-driven rotors powered by small ramjets.

Source: Flight International