Paul Derby

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has announced the first two sales of its MH2000 intermediate twin helicopter - the first commercial helicopter to be developed entirely in Japan.

Two single unit deals have been agreed. The first is with Excel, a privately-owned Japanese firm specialising in helicopter pleasure flights. The second aircraft will go to an unnamed Japanese customer. Deliveries will begin in February 1999.


MHI has two prototypes of the MH2000, one of which is currently in flight tests in Japan while the other is being used for ground testing. Powered by two Mitsubishi MG5-110 engines, the craft has a maximum speed of 150kt (280km/h).

The aircraft has won basic type certification from the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau. Yosuke Takigawa, manager of MHI's civil aircraft and aero engine department, says there are a number of potential markets for the MH2000.

"We will be looking to customers such as the emergency services and local government in Japan and the aircraft can also be equipped for search and rescue missions."

Takigawa adds that there is potential to develop the aircraft for corporate use, but restrictions on landing slots at Tokyo International airport because of the heavy volume of air traffic remains a stumbling block.

"We would like the Japanese government to act on this issue because until more slots and helipads are made available, potential corporate customers would have to think hard before making a purchase."

Farnborough '98 will mark MHI's first opportunity to raise the profile of the aircraft in Europe. The development of the MH2000 was still in its early stages at the time of the 1996 show.

Source: Flight Daily News