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Hill Helicopters HX50

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Hill Helicopters HX50

Old 16th Mar 2024, 10:00
  #1561 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by admikar
And what were the answers?
Nothing really new. JH seems to be now getting more reluctant to give firm timelines (sensible), stating the main focus is getting the engine running by the end of the year, then having flying prototypes for testing all next year. In terms of production, they now have leased a reasonably large factory that needs to be completely fitted out, Production Centre 1, which they intend to consolidate their existing 3 separate facilities into, and start fabricating the prototypes.

They will then seek out a further Production Centre once they go into full scale production, and still claim to be on track to start churning them out in 2026 (improbable), with 475 units forecast to be made in the first year of production (again highly improbable). When pressed about why JH thinks he can churn out nearly 500 units per year, scaling up to 1000 per year, when other established helicopter manufacturers only make 100-300 units each year, he responded that manufacturers produce to match their demand, and that because he already knows there are 1,300 orders (likely many more once prototypes start flying), he will set up the factories to make 500 per year from the start. He is quite firm in his opinion that this number is not a particularly difficult number to achieve per year, and points to Robinson having made nearly 900 units in one of their early years (from a smaller factory than his) and Toyota making 13 million cars per year.

His confidence is somewhat convincing, and he does come with some pedigree given his background owning several engineering businesses with a good track record of delivering results, but this is a whole different ballgame.

Last edited by PowerPedal; 16th Mar 2024 at 10:42.
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Old 16th Mar 2024, 15:03
  #1562 (permalink)  
 
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Try read the body language in this update and compare to previous ones.
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Old 16th Mar 2024, 17:47
  #1563 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by PowerPedal
I'm a doctor and I can't wait to go over and assemble my HX50. That is not an issue- esp for aviation enthusiasts, regardless of their day job.
I think this is the attitude of a large number of HX50 depositors from what I've learned. I know two people who have made deposits, where both are also current helicopter (piston) owners and non-aviation industry professionals. Both are also very involved in the maintenance of their aircraft (R44/B47) and are looking forward to being able to handle all the 50 mx requirements on their own or with minimal assistance from myself or other mechanics/shops.

From their point of view, they fully understand what Hill is attempting to do in developing a 100% new version of an old idea from a clean sheet of paper as they have similar experiences of the same methods in their respective industries. They also believe keeping every aspect of the 50’s design and production in-house will be the key in the long run vs relying on 3rd party vendors for components and sub-assemblies even if it ends up creating delays.

I believe once the previous Kopter expanded its reliance on outside products and articles it was the beginning of the slide that led to Leonardo buying it. It would have been interesting if Kopter had elected to pursue an E/AB version first, then worked into a certified version as Hill is doing.

Regardless, having a new, larger turbine helicopter enter the E/AB market where the popular models are the much smaller turbine Mosquito and Helicycle, it has generated a lot more interest than I thought would happen especially from existing TC turbine rotorcraft owners.

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Old 16th Mar 2024, 18:42
  #1564 (permalink)  
 
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[QUOTE=wrench1;11617239]I think this is the attitude of a large number of HX50 depositors from what I've learned. I know two people who have made deposits, where both are also current helicopter (piston) owners and non-aviation industry professionals. Both are also very involved in the maintenance of their aircraft (R44/B47) and are looking forward to being able to handle all the 50 mx requirements on their own or with minimal assistance from myself or other mechanics/shops.


Personally I dread to think of the consequences of owners maintaining their own HX50 (non mechanically minded or trained). Having been an aviation engineer since 1976, certifying for over 40 years on numerous types from basic to complex, I can only see problems arising.

Most of the younger men I know cannot even do basic maintenance on the car they are driving, even adjusting tyre pressures is to much for them , and this is a fairly complex Helicopter.

I have seen many results of bad (and / or not recorded) owner maintenance, its sends shivers down my spine even thinking of it. How many times have I experienced a "trained" pilot drain a hot piston engine of oil, then forget to refill (due to being distracted) before starting the engine up............oops.

Would not purchase a used car without full service history by a reputable garage, never mind a helicopter.

Anyway enough ranting on, just my experience of owner maintenance with bent screwdrivers, worn out adjustable spanners and reusing old splitpins.
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Old 16th Mar 2024, 19:36
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[QUOTE=PEASACAKE;11617269]
Originally Posted by wrench1

Personally I dread to think of the consequences of owners maintaining their own HX50 (non mechanically minded or trained). Having been an aviation engineer since 1976, certifying for over 40 years on numerous types from basic to complex, I can only see problems arising.
just a clarification here- HX50 owners/pilots are not allowed do their own maintainence any more than replenish fluids etc just as per existing regulations.True, they’ve got to technically “build” 51% of the aircraft as part of the stupid rules relating to the experimental classification, however there are a whole stack of items including Engines, avionics , gearboxes etc are exempt. To meet this requirement, owners must do n in-house 2 week build school in which they will be involved in supervised final assembly of their aircraft. Then they do 3-5hrs endorsement flight training. Once the aircraft has been completed it must be maintained by licensed aircraft engineers as per normal practice.
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Old 16th Mar 2024, 22:05
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scaling up to 1000 per year
not a hope in hell
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Old 17th Mar 2024, 00:40
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Originally Posted by PowerPedal
Once the aircraft has been completed it must be maintained by licensed aircraft engineers as per normal practice.
That may be the case in your country, but in the US any aircraft issued an experimental certificate the maintenance requirements found in FAR Part 43 and Part 91 are not applicable. As such, there is no requirement to use certified mechanics to perform any maintenance or most inspections on those aircraft.

Where the required maintenance/inspection requirements are listed for an experimental, amateur-built aircraft in the US are on the Operating Limitations which are issued as part of the airworthiness certificate. And generally, those requirements are simply an annual Condition Inspection by either the builder of record, or an A&P if the owner is not the builder.

And while Hill is recommending the use of certified mechanic, in my experience there are plenty of owners who could be up to the task themselves based on the projected mx requirements of the HX50. Regardless, there is a big regulatory difference when working on an E/AB vs a TC’d aircraft.

I don’t follow the E/AB rules much outside the US, but perhaps in respect to your country, contact Hill support or your local CAA office and see if you as the builder of record could legally work on the aircraft? I believe with some countries, they follow a similar route as with the FAA in the US.

Originally Posted by PEASACAKE
Anyway enough ranting on, just my experience of owner maintenance with bent screwdrivers, worn out adjustable spanners and reusing old splitpins.
While I agree there are bad owners, I’ve found its more driven by their attitude than their skill levels. I was involved with owner-assisted maintenance as a side business on both airplanes and rotorcraft for many years. So my experience is a bit different at least in the US.

But, from what I’ve seen and been told, I think the caliber of owner attracted to the HX50 is closer to the top shelf than the bottom of the barrel variety and they will keep their aircraft properly maintained to include the two potential HX50 owners I know. But that’s just my take.


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Old 17th Mar 2024, 11:21
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peasacake

I have seen many results of bad (and / or not recorded) owner maintenance, its sends shivers down my spine even thinking of it. How many times have I experienced a "trained" pilot drain a hot piston engine of oil, then forget to refill (due to being distracted) before starting the engine up............oops[/QUOTE]

And I’ve seen many results of professional maintainers committing similar sins:-

Running a 300CBi without oil and writing off the engine
Not tightening the tail rotor drive shaft spline pin on E480
All fastenings loose on top of an E480 rotor head
Countless tools left in engine bays/transmission decks
Loose bolts on combustion chamber of Ariel after Turbomeca overhaul
Bolt anti-locked on brand new AS350
Chafing oil pipe on same brand new AS350
Lack of split pin on AS350 hydraulic servo retention bolt.
plus multiple more that don’t immediately spring to mind

Apart from the 300CBi at the top of the list, these were all my own finds in aircraft released for flight/ground run. Going to a ‘pro’ maintenance organization, or even OEM doesn’t guarantee anything.
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Old 18th Mar 2024, 17:41
  #1569 (permalink)  
 
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.
A long and very interesting interview of Jason Hill for those who want to understand the HX50 project and the motivations of Jason :
Vertical Magazine
.
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Old 18th Mar 2024, 18:15
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Only 8 months to wait then.


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Old 18th Mar 2024, 23:05
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Originally Posted by PowerPedal
I'm a doctor and I can't wait to go over and assemble my HX50. That is not an issue- esp for aviation enthusiasts, regardless of their day job.
Hmmm. I see doctors making these comments on a regular basis.....'I am really confident I can do this operation.....'

What could possibly go wrong
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Old 19th Mar 2024, 08:31
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Originally Posted by Radgirl
Hmmm. I see doctors making these comments on a regular basis.....'I am really confident I can do this operation.....'

What could possibly go wrong
Bonanza?
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Old 19th Mar 2024, 12:53
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Originally Posted by admikar
Bonanza?
You beat me to it!

For those not familiar with the reference - https://generalaviationnews.com/2017...doctor-killer/
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Old 19th Mar 2024, 14:24
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An interesting perspective...
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Old 19th Mar 2024, 18:03
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Where are the real blades? And the blade tooling?
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Old 19th Mar 2024, 19:13
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Originally Posted by 206 jock

An interesting perspective...
I think Airbus fixed wing had the same philosophy which promoted the cases of "What's it doing now?"
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Old 20th Mar 2024, 08:17
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I've no experience with AB fixed wing products, but I find their modern rotary wing AFCS automation and protections very intuitive and helpful. That said they are mostly helpful in marginal weather, IFR and category A operations, where a private single engine helicopter pilot should never be. I admit that having several simulator sessions in a year helps to mitigate that "what's it doing" phenomenom.

I've also little exeperince with light helicopters with a SAS and a 3 axis autopilot, and I would argue that an altitude hold alone frees a lot of capacity of an inexperienced pilot when things start to go wrong. But that is of course not an excuse to not develop adequate hands on flying skills.
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Old 20th Mar 2024, 09:31
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Originally Posted by 206 jock

An interesting perspective...
If you are going to to hop from garden to garden, you will need confined area landing practice, a lot of it, the 5S (size, shape, surface, slope, and surrounds), your power check, your escape plan, + good set of eyes so you don't chop anything out (poles, branches...)
what is the autopilot and digital cockpit going to do for you? likely just give the private owner a false sense of confidence. "you will be able to get in and out without undue skills" he says, that is stupid talk, that type of thinking will get your experimental airframe in the news for the wrong reasons.
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Old 22nd Mar 2024, 11:24
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Hopping from flower to flower & being able to get in & out without undue skills? Not sure if I fully understand this. But I know for sure I would not want to use an autopilot for that type of operation.
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Old 22nd Mar 2024, 11:56
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Most private owners who are in the "cheaper" end of ownership (R44, R66, B206, Gazelle etc) are petty crap at any kind of planning or risk assessment and invariably don't listen to "advice" (eg the weather is crap, maybe you shouldn't fly?). The advent of the ipad/Skydemon has made this situation worse. ie plug the route in and follow the pink line, easy.

I dread to think what these kind of people will get up to ("hopping" from confined area to confined area) in the HX50, if the whole philosophy of the aircraft is that "automation will help you" if you have "undue skill"
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