The latest addition to the lightweight kit helicopter market in Europe was officially presented at Estoril during the Helitech exhibition. The HAD-1T was designed by Serolor, a company near the Franco-German border that specialises in industrial mechanical production. The HAD-1T’s first flight trials are scheduled for end 2010, with the project now at an advanced stage.
While the first prototype was not actually there at the exhibition, the project is well on track. The two-seater machine features a three-blade rotor and a maximum take-off weight of 700kg. The machine’s powerplant is –interestingly – the APU turbine the Solar T62- T-32. This is a new feature of the kit helicopter scene, and Project Director at Serolor Thierry André confirmed that the aircraft « may be named the Helineo in the future, and is not the same thing as an ultra-light aircraft at all. »
At the moment, 51% of the assembly takes place in a plant at Fameck in the Moselle area of France in Lorraine near the German border, with just the cabin section being built by a Swiss partner. The engine comes from the USA. The manufacturing plant is also working on the prototype of a mould for the manufacture of an anti-torque rotor for this helicopter. This first prototype is the result of over 2,000 hours’ machining time in a process that has drawn on the resources of three companies that specialise in machining, composite materials and soldering. The first aircraft was over two years in the making to get it right, and it took another full year for it to be built. The launch of this mew machine came about as a result of the competition between companies based in the East – Serolor explained that « With this aircraft, we really wanted to create jobs and to keep manufacturing and production on Lorraine soil. »
The private sector first and foremost
The prototype is expected to be JAR27 certificated and will be sold with a special airworthiness certificate the ‘CNSK 2’ (certificat de navigabilité pour aéronefs en kit). The aircraft’s price has been released: it will be marketed by a subsidiary shortly to be created by Serolor and is expecting to be on the market for between €200,000 and €250,000, with possibilities for delivering an already assembled aircraft. The main target market is the private sector. Serolor is looking to produce 10 aircraft a year, and right now two aircraft are on the production line. The HAD-1T is presently in early trial stages and should receive its certification within the next couple of years or so. The manufacturers are initially expecting the aircraft to receive VLR certification.