Wed, Aug 25, 2010
Certification Phase For Enstrom 480B To Begin Soon
The first day of flying for the inaugural 480B helicopter
destined for the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) Pilot
Training Program "could not have gone better," according to Jerry
Mullins, President and CEO of Enstrom Helicopter Corporation.
"All necessary flight performance requirements were met and
Production Flight Testing has been completed," Mullins said
The aircraft configuration procured by the JGSDF has multiple
new options that were developed for this program. The industry
unique 2+2 (two pilots and 2 passenger) cabin configuration was one
of the major developments undertaken for the JGSDF. Certified in
November of 2009, Enstrom and its Japanese representation, AERO
Facility, Ltd. Inc., teamed up to develop and certify the newly
configured cabin that allows two sets of controls and additional
seating for two passengers. "The unique thing about this
configuration in the 480B", said Tracy Biegler, Director of Sales
and Marketing, "is that both pilots and passengers are all in the
same area, able to view all instruments, watch each of the pilots,
and see what each other see."
The 2+2 configuration was one of the major requirements of the
program and was recognized early on as a key to success. The
requested configuration was very stringent and required excellent
visibility of the instruments, controls, and external views from
all seats within the helicopter. Therefore, a unique cabin
configuration, such as the 480B provides, was required to create a
successful solution without compromise to the rest of the program.
With the versatility of the Enstrom design, along with a company
infrastructure designed and staffed to react quickly, the design
went from concept to certification in record time.
Other items that were developed for this program are primarily
special support avionics for the missions defined by the JGSDF.
Certification will now drive the final delivery timing for the
aircraft. It is expected that this process will be completed within
the next six to eight weeks. The program calls for this first
evaluation helicopter to be delivered in 2010, with a total of 30
aircraft to be delivered by 2014.
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