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Hill Helicopters HX50

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Hill Helicopters HX50

Old 23rd Sep 2023, 08:57
  #1081 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Aluminium Mallard
both are really smart people with little mechanical knowledge completely convinced by the marketing.
I need to hire whoever mixes his cool aid, it is powerful stuff.
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Old 24th Sep 2023, 14:09
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Do you have a similar 'permit to fly' system for experimental aircraft there?
Yep - experimental amateur built aircraft are massive in Australia. I have one.

They are issued a Special Certificate of Airworthiness:
https://www.casa.gov.au/experimental-certificates

CASA recognises UK:
https://www.casa.gov.au/sites/defaul...agreements.pdf

Certification of Amateur Built Aircraft (Part 13 building outside AU):
https://www.casa.gov.au/certificatio...-abaa-aircraft

More on commercial assistance for amateur built aircraft (basically engines/rotors/avionics excluded, but fabrication & assembly required):
https://www.casa.gov.au/commercial-a...built-aircraft
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Old 24th Sep 2023, 14:35
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I've trained two pilots now that have dropped HX50 deposits, both are really smart people with little mechanical knowledge completely convinced by the marketing.
I know a few who are in industry or private existing R44 owners. I think what you're seeing is a new market emerge. People who wouldn't have otherwise bought a heli at all, now have a reasonable sub $1m machine that doesn't cost $400k every 12 years. As Hill describes (taking a swipe at Robinson), his market opens up to "People who can afford the capital cost of a helicopter, but who can't afford to lose it". 1000 (paid deposit) orders proves he's onto something...
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Old 24th Sep 2023, 14:36
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Originally Posted by Shagpile
Yep - experimental amateur built aircraft are massive in Australia. I have one.

Certification of Amateur Built Aircraft (Part 13 building outside AU):
https://www.casa.gov.au/certificatio...-abaa-aircraft
So limited to 4 seats and 3300 lbs MTOW.
How does the HX fit into that?
They have a fairly detailed list to calculate the 50% fabrication portion, with Hill pre-fabbing a lot of the components, I am curious to see how it complies, it appears to be more assembly than anything else.
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 01:27
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Originally Posted by Bell_ringer
So limited to 4 seats and 3300 lbs MTOW.
How does the HX fit into that?
They have a fairly detailed list to calculate the 50% fabrication portion, with Hill pre-fabbing a lot of the components, I am curious to see how it complies, it appears to be more assembly than anything else.
Yeah really good question for Australians. I want to track down the answer for this, but it seems the special CoA is unlimited in size & POB (generally), but the ABAA is a sub-category inside there that recognises Amateur Built with those restrictions mentioned. I suspect it will be something along the lines of UK permit, then transfer, rather than an Aussie LAME/Inspector on site. But I could be wrong. Unsure if that happens and itís outside the ABAA AC, whether owners will have privileges of issuing their own MRís and things like that as they do with Vans RVís they built (or have built a similar type).

FAA have a complex formula to determine what constitutes 51% and JH has mentioned several times that commercially assisted build and assembly will comply. Most major components such as engines, gears, avionics, blades (etc) are allowed to come factory built. He mentioned the owner will be involved in composite fuselage layup, and basically all assembly. Iím sure he will get this compliant and if it ticks the FAA formula, it should satisfy every other jurisdiction.
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 07:50
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He mentioned the owner will be involved in composite fuselage layup, and basically all assembly
Unskilled labour involved in the creation of the crucial component of the aircraft, the monocoque fuselage, who could see a problem with that?
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 08:32
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Unskilled labour involved in the creation of the crucial component of the aircraft, the monocoque fuselage, who could see a problem with that?
This is where lack of knowledge on the project is important, and throw-away comments like this are unhelpful to the casual lurker reading this thread.

In this case, it's literally builder assist & there's an inspection regime afterwards to test for hull integrity & dry spots etc. Thousands of pilots build their own perfectly safe aircraft all the time. Some from kit, some from design, including maintenance critical items such as spars and flight controls. Yep some are horrendous if built fully unqualified with zero assistance and poor quality skills, tools & equipment, but those are the ones that get an inspector put on rigid requirements such as "POB 1, within 10NM of a remote airport, not over or near any built up area. Good luck". This project will not be that kind of aircraft. It'll be more like a high quality RV10 you see that's as good or better than the equivalent factory SR22.
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 11:24
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Originally Posted by [email protected]
Unskilled labour involved in the creation of the crucial component of the aircraft, the monocoque fuselage, who could see a problem with that?
being negative again Crabby!

The HX50 will be exactly the same as the certified HC50 version, and built to certification standards, but with the following differences:
1. it will be available several years earlier
2. it will be significantly cheaper
3. the purchaser will be involved in the final assembly
4. it cannot be used for any commercial purposes
5. it cannot be retrospectively certified.

Itís tempting to get caught up in the details of exactly what the owner will be contributing to the build to comply with the 51% rule, but I think at the end of the day this will essentially just involve assembly. There are so many items exempt from this 51% and I very much doubt that any customers will actually be laying up carbon fibre!

I am actually really looking forward to the assembly of my own machine as it will allow a much deeper understanding of it.

I have absolutely no interest in x-hiring my HX50 commercially etc. Or moonlighting a few charters! I will be the only one that will be flying my ship, and purely for private recreation and travel so not at all bothered by the lack of certification, provided it is designed and built to the same standards. Would rather get it sooner and cheaper.
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 12:02
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Originally Posted by Shagpile
Thousands of pilots build their own perfectly safe aircraft all the time.
True, but none of them represent the complexity of this aircraft.
An RV is nowhere as advanced as what is required for the HX.
Kit build helicopters have been a disaster to date.
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 12:32
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The 51% build rule is just a ruse to get the CAA to grant a Permit to Fly. All the owner will be doing is this..


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Old 25th Sep 2023, 12:52
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This is where lack of knowledge on the project is important,
Do you actually know anything about composite materials?

inspection regime afterwards to test for hull integrity & dry spots etc.
Accurate and reliable Non destructive testing (NDT) for composites is a holy grail yet to be achieved which is why the layup is critical to eliminate voids which can cause structural failure under load.

As BellRinger says, the HX is far more complex than a microlight at every level - I've flown some and the engineering is pretty basic because it is a homebuild/assisted build..

When we see you potential owners cutting up the pre-preg and operating the autoclave I'll believe it is a 51% build.

Last edited by [email protected]; 25th Sep 2023 at 13:04.
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 12:58
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Originally Posted by [email protected]
Do you actually know anything about composite materials?

Non destructive testing (NDT) for composites is a holy grail yet to be achieved which is why the layup is critical to eliminate voids which can cause structural failure under load.

As BellRinger says, the HX is far more complex than a microlight at every level - I've flown some and the engineering is pretty basic because it is a homebuild/assisted build..

When we see you potential owners cutting up the pre-preg and operating the autoclave I'll believe it is a 51% build.
There's no pre-preg or autoclave involved.
It's dry carbon done under vaccuum infusion...
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 13:07
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There's no pre-preg or autoclave involved.
It's dry carbon done under vaccuum infusion...
it's still not a job for amateur builders and if you are making a monocoque structure, one imperfection, delamination or void means scrapping the whole thing and starting again.
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 13:11
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Vacuum Infusion Process

SHORTCOMINGS OF VIP

Most of the disadvantages of vacuum infusion are linked to the process’s long set-up time and general handling. Unlike hand lamination, vacuum resin infusion requires one to strategize and develop the optimal vacuum ports and resin injection locations for each composite that is made.

Furthermore, it also requires an experienced hand and can become expensive if there are continuous vacuum leaks as the entire part will have to be binned. Its cosmetic finish is also not as good as open mold processes due to the fabric print; however, this can be amended using a barrier coat.

At this stage of the process’s development, vacuum infusion is more suited to smaller projects. Too much time is required for applications that need high production rates or more complex processes on a mass scale. This is especially true when multiple-use flexible films or top molds are needed for one-off or large parts.
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 13:32
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Luckily for us, Hill has just spent 2 years working out exactly the layup strategy, vacuum locations, resin parameters, temperatures etc.

I suspect he hired half of Williams F1. And that's the team you want to poach your composites guys from because they are crashing every week and have lots of experience rebuilding the car and keeping the driver alive!!
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 13:36
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don't forget he's going to be making 500 aircraft a year.

that's two aircraft rolling off the production line (and being test flown, collected, built by the owner etc) every weekday

maybe i should start a B&B in the area

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Old 25th Sep 2023, 14:22
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TBH, I don't think owner will do more than a sniff of resin and be done with layup part.
I do wish for Hill to succeed, if for nothing more than "in your face" to established manufacturers. As long as any person being flown in one of these understands the risks, I'm good with whatever 51% scheme they come out.
That still does not erase all the bull he spouted so far and I fully intend to call it out every time .
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 18:32
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Originally Posted by admikar
TBH, I don't think owner will do more than a sniff of resin and be done with layup part.
I do wish for Hill to succeed, if for nothing more than "in your face" to established manufacturers. As long as any person being flown in one of these understands the risks, I'm good with whatever 51% scheme they come out.
That still does not erase all the bull he spouted so far and I fully intend to call it out every time .
I just have a bad vibration, that if, when, this aircraft enters production, the culture built around it will create more fiery potholes in the countryside than a Robbie ever could.
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 21:31
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Originally Posted by Shagpile
Luckily for us, Hill has just spent 2 years working out exactly the layup strategy, vacuum locations, resin parameters, temperatures etc.

I suspect he hired half of Williams F1. And that's the team you want to poach your composites guys from because they are crashing every week and have lots of experience rebuilding the car and keeping the driver alive!!
this is precisely the problem with Hill. Automotive and racing technologies for structural applications are not technically sufficient for helicopters. Composite fatigue is a real thingÖ and it will delaminate blades, hulls and rotor components very rapidly and catastrophically. All rotorcrafr with composite primary structures are heavier and less damage tolerant as a result. Repairs suck, antenna bonding sucks, and performance in many environments (hot and humid conditions) suck. Metal is easier and more predictable and repairableÖ but a race car guy will lie to you and tell you the opposite about his helicopter. Smh
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 21:57
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There are tons of aircraft (certified) with composite monocoque bodies. This is not new. Many airplanes use carbon-fiber.

I agree with Bell's comment about culture, though I don't blame Hill. They need to market it to get customers, and they're not specifically targeting morons (unlike Icon), but there inevitably will be interest from non-pilots. I was on a zoom meeting with the reps a month ago and one of the other customers on the call was not even a pilot but was interested and asking some (not well-informed, needless to say) questions about it. But I'm sure the vast majority are pilots.
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