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Hill Helicopters HX50

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Hill Helicopters HX50

Old 13th Aug 2022, 17:15
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Originally Posted by Mee3 View Post
Lot of us here are in the industry as in design and certification, including me. We are not just skeptic. But a lot of the claim does not makes sense in the industry.
... and I'm one of those with just that experience (Head of Design, Chief of the Office of Airworthiness, Technical Director of an OEM, blah), so am not blind to the challenge. However, every new venture starts form zero and either gets there or it doesn't.

Hill Helicopters is setting itself a serious challenge, that's for sure, but they are going about it in an equally serious way. At first glance, I too was sceptical. However, from what I've seen of their activity they are as well equipped in terms of funds, expertise, drive and vision, not to mention order book, to have a decent chance of success.

There will be set-backs and upsets without doubt, and there will be delays (QED) but that doesn't automatically lead to failure. Show me a single successful aircraft programme of recent (or maybe any) years that hasn't had such problems.

Its very easy to stand on the side-lines as the cynical nay-sayer, but I, for one, am cheering from the side-lines and wishing them great success.

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Old 13th Aug 2022, 17:18
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... almost forgot, for what it's worth, I reckon the eVTOL 'industry' is fooling itself and its investors, big-time.
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Old 13th Aug 2022, 17:36
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Originally Posted by Mee3 View Post
Lot of us here are in the industry as in design and certification, including me. We are not just skeptic. But a lot of the claim does not makes sense in the industry.
I fully agree with this and will also share that the comments above about profiteering using 1960’s technology by current OEM’s is ridiculous and incorrect. The reason Sikorsky commercial, MD and a variety of smaller players have gone bankrupt or closed their commercial divisions in the last few decades is because the regulatory environment is staggeringly bad and deters new technology. None of the aircraft OEM’s is as healthy as most of the primary suppliers like engine and avionics OEM’s. The industry would love to iterate and improve like automotive but the barriers are crushing and shameful by regulators who crush innovation and deter safety enhancements.
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Old 15th Aug 2022, 03:06
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I've watched with interest from the sidelines the escalating presence of the Hill Helicopter, as there seem to be an abundance of advertisements promising what seems (to me) to be the unachievable.

And all the way through I've wondered just how they are going to transition from talking about a machine, to actually producing a real, flying example.

I'm no expert (in anything, sadly) but suspect that approval from the regulators (CAA, FAA, etc) is a painfully slow process.

It wasn't until today, after chancing upon an article written about Hill Helicopters in an obscure magazine, that I learned that essentially this is going to be a kit-built helicopter...!! (Apologies if you guys have mentioned that fact in this or other threads, I simply had not seen this rather significant element before.....)

So, if my understanding is correct, the new owners will go to the factory and 'build' their machine, then circumvent a huge tranche of the current regulations by flying it as an experimental (or amateur-built kit here in the UK) aircraft on a Permit to Fly. Don't the rules associated with Permit aircraft somewhat stifle the potential usability of the machine - I'm thinking maximum 4 POB, no night flying, UK airspace only, VFR only, etc.etc......

If they plan to be actually delivering machines to customers by 2024, how long will those early customers have to wait to exercise all of the capabilities and refinements of their wonderful (and it does indeed look wonderful) aircraft? No point in having five seats if you can't fill the fifth one for half a decade; all those fancy avionics just to fly VFR in the daytime, etc.

It's a shame, because I, like everyone, would love to see the industry shaken up, and to see the massive overpricing for parts that are 'aviation' brought to an end, so flying can be more realistically available.

I used to look at all the hype and the ads for Hill and think 'Wouldn't it be great if they actually could...."

But now, sadly, I just think "It's a Rotorway, in a posh frock....."

Not that I'm knocking Rotorway, oh no! They've been in the industry for a very long time now, and produce a genuinely (almost) affordable helicopter. And they've sold hundreds and hundreds of them.

But that amazing looking Hill machine........a kit? It just doesn't seem right......
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Old 15th Aug 2022, 07:15
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HX50 will be "permit to fly", owners have attend factory to "build 51%" of their aircraft (ie attend for 2 weeks)

https://www.hillhelicopters.com/blog...ges-hx50-build

HC50 will be certified

https://helihub.com/2021/12/17/hill-...-version-hc50/
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Old 15th Aug 2022, 15:11
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Originally Posted by DarrenL View Post
I learned that essentially this is going to be a kit-built helicopter...!!
Yes, that's why I'm saying it'll be a kit helicopter for quite a while. When their target market is private owners flying 1-4 people flying in VFR conditions... this aircraft is designed exactly for that market at the right price point between an R44 and R66. And for folks who can afford this, they can afford a two-week "vacation" performing 51% of the "build" while sipping their espresso. The question is will that price point be actually able to be held because of their vertical integration/high technology machines or if it starts climbing. And of course, does the aircraft (and ENGINE!) perform?

As mentioned in the latest Hill video, BREXIT has actually helped them because they're only dealing with the CAA and not EASA. For the HC50, I'm sure they're going to try and use all the flight data and deliveries to try and pressure the CAA/EASA/FAA to accept any of their deviations or whathaveyou, but that's likely going to get a big, fat, no. But if they have enough revenue (and deposits) from HX50 deliveries, I could see this being done by 2030.

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Old 15th Aug 2022, 16:27
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This is an old saying in business that you can't have all three sides of the triangle.

ie

if you want it on time, it will either be more expensive, or less quality/specs
if you want it to cost as agreed and the quality/specs as agreed, you will have to wait

you get the idea
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Old 15th Aug 2022, 18:09
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This helicopter is 100% VFR only; even the certified version cannot be flown in IMC. But in the US, the ONLY limitation of "experimental" aircraft is that they cannot be used commercially, except for training. There are tons of IFR/IMC-capable experimental airplanes for example. Anyway, the HX50 can definitely be flown at night here, and with no passenger limit. But if you're in the UK, being limited to GB does seem like a pretty big disadvantage. So perhaps the HX, if it ever actually exists, will primarily be sold overseas.
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Old 17th Aug 2022, 10:03
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If you have a spare couple of hours....

Interesting updates on the engine, around 1'12". I'm no psychologist but Dr. Hill looks distinctly uncomfortable talking about the changes they are making to the engine design
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Old 17th Aug 2022, 12:50
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Originally Posted by 206 jock View Post
Interesting updates on the engine, around 1'12". I'm no psychologist but Dr. Hill looks distinctly uncomfortable talking about the changes they are making to the engine design
It's called tap dancing.
I liked the phrase: "It is envisaged to be.."
Delays are inevitable, but in his position it must be spun to a positive - it's not a delay, it's a product improvement for your benefit.
Pretty standard stuff for these types of ra-ra events, to keep the punters happy and interested.
My inner cynic is always wary of anyone who only emits positives, but that is his job.
Looking forward to seeing the engine and aircraft at their next broadcast.
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Old 17th Aug 2022, 13:32
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Single stage centrifugal compressor, two stage compressor turbine and single stage free power turbine and an annular combustion chamber - not exactly a revolutionary design is it?

With all the R and D available to the major engine manufacturers, if this performance vs weight vs efficiency was possible, why wouldn't they have done it already?

Do Hill helicopters risk being overtaken by electric technology?
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Old 17th Aug 2022, 15:03
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Single stage centrifugal compressor, two stage compressor turbine and single stage free power turbine and an annular combustion chamber - not exactly a revolutionary design is it?

With all the R and D available to the major engine manufacturers, if this performance vs weight vs efficiency was possible, why wouldn't they have done it already?

Do Hill helicopters risk being overtaken by electric technology?
Snake oil rings a bell?
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Old 17th Aug 2022, 15:30
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post

Do Hill helicopters risk being overtaken by electric technology?
We’re all just over the Hill
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Old 17th Aug 2022, 15:53
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Originally Posted by PhlyingGuy View Post
... For the HC50, I'm sure they're going to try and use all the flight data and deliveries to try and pressure the CAA/EASA/FAA to accept any of their deviations or whathaveyou, ...
Why are you 'sure'?

Their intention is to meet or exceed all of the CS-27 requirements for HC50, and to meet or exceed almost all of them for HX50 too.
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Old 17th Aug 2022, 16:19
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Originally Posted by Kemble Pitts View Post
Why are you 'sure'?

Their intention is to meet or exceed all of the CS-27 requirements for HC50, and to meet or exceed almost all of them for HX50 too.
Start from everything combined burn tested for the interior and per frame all in is under 1M sterling?

Bell still pulling their hair for not leaving part 29 for their 429.
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Old 17th Aug 2022, 17:53
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The idea of an electric helicopter is laughable; there is a reason why there are literally none, not even proofs of concept. There are electric ultra-efficient airplanes and they have an endurance of one hour at most.

I found the video very interesting and candid and it gave me more confidence that they are actually doing things. He said he expects to have a couple on the floor at the next conference around late spring or summer 2023, but it doesn't sound like they would actually be working prototypes. But who knows.
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Old 18th Aug 2022, 00:46
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I’m amazed the myth of the Hill helicopter ever being a reality has lasted so long. And it wouldn’t matter if it wasn’t for the fact that presumably a reasonable number or people have been induced to put deposits into what is bound to be a doomed business.

Why? Because if it sounds too good to be true, it is….. Simply look at their web site headlines: 140kts, 700nm range, 5000 hrs engine TBO. And all for just £495k. Never going to happen. Or even get close. The existing manufacturers have vastly more competency and have been infinitely better funded than Hill, and haven’t got near that performance in 50 years. Sorry, but it’s just laughable. And if the industry giants of Leonardo, Airbus, Bell and Robinson don’t think it viable to make their own engines, how on earth can Hill consider it? Perhaps because at least they’re keeping the myth in-house, with no OEM supplier to undermine it…..

To be fair though, fabulous futuristic shape and interior design. And amazing how far that seems to have taken them.
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Old 18th Aug 2022, 06:39
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Originally Posted by rotorspeed View Post
..The existing manufacturers have vastly more competency and have been infinitely better funded than Hill, and haven’t got near that performance in 50 years. Sorry, but it’s just laughable. And if the industry giants of Leonardo, Airbus, Bell and Robinson don’t think it viable to make their own engines, how on earth can Hill consider it?
I see where you went wrong, the existing manufacturers got this right decades ago and have been sitting on it so they can keep raking in HUGE profits.
It only really costs a fiver to make a typical aircraft.
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Old 18th Aug 2022, 18:29
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It sounds too good to be true, but it's definitely not an actual scam. Their goals may be overly ambitious, time will tell, but the existing manufacturers are using very old technology and that's largely due to the very high cost of certification. Hill is creating almost everything by themselves which seems crazy and would require a million certifications for the HC50 version, but the HX50 is more realistic if it works. And unlike airplanes, there are very few experimental helicopters because the private helicopter market is very small at the moment, so manufacturers have largely ignored it. Robinson is one of the few exceptions.
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Old 18th Aug 2022, 20:28
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Originally Posted by CGameProgrammerr View Post
It sounds too good to be true, but it's definitely not an actual scam. Their goals may be overly ambitious, time will tell, but the existing manufacturers are using very old technology and that's largely due to the very high cost of certification. Hill is creating almost everything by themselves which seems crazy and would require a million certifications for the HC50 version, but the HX50 is more realistic if it works. And unlike airplanes, there are very few experimental helicopters because the private helicopter market is very small at the moment, so manufacturers have largely ignored it. Robinson is one of the few exceptions.
Very old technology? That “revolutionary” turbine they’re designing isn’t new..
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