Yellowhead Helicopters Praise Performance and Reliability of Eagle 407HP
Honeywell HTS900 engine shows its strength during hot and high missions
Yellowhead Helicopters' two Honeywell HTS900-powered Eagle 407HPs recently reached the benchmark of more than 1,000 hours total flying time. The engine's performance is delivering benefits to a range of hot and high altitude missions, with the HTS900 found to be both reliable and easy to maintain.
Yellowhead acquired its first Bell 407 in 2005. It found the helicopter to be a robust and reliable workhorse, and over the next five years another three were added to the fleet. However, as customer needs evolved, the Bell 407 played a smaller role in the company's operations and the fleet was downsized to two. Yellowhead's appetite for the Bell 407 increased again when it came across the Eagle 407HP, developed by Eagle and powered by Honeywell's ground-breaking HTS900 engine.
The HTS900 is the result of years of combined effort between Honeywell, Bell and Eagle. This technology increases power output, reduces fuel consumption and allows for future engine growth with the same compressor architecture.
Eagle's version of the original Bell 407 takes the best of the rock solid airframe and replaces the original 813 shaft horsepower (shp) Rolls Royce 250-C47 turboshaft engine with the more muscular 1,020 shp Honeywell HTS900 turboshaft.
The HTS900 engine delivers a game changing performance and substantial operational efficiency improvements.
- It is based on a new dual-centrifugal compressor architecture which allows for higher power output and lower fuel consumption.
- It delivers up to 22 percent more takeoff power and significantly improved hot and high performance, as well as improved payload, speed and operating costs, the Eagle 407HP can lift 225 kilograms more than the standard Bell 407.
- It provides an improved hover ceiling, with a 19 percent increase in gross weight capability at 10,000 feet and a 40 percent increase in payload at 12,000 feet.
- Fuel burn is reduced by up to 17 percent, whilst direct maintenance costs are around 12 percent less than those of the original Bell 407 model.
Yellowhead is now operating two Eagle 407HPs for a range of missions, including fire fighting, heli-skiing and exploration work. It is finding the extra performance beneficial to all its missions.
When heli-skiing, Yellowhead can carry an extra passenger in the HTS900-powered helicopter compared to the Eurocopters, with safety also increasing.
"Typically, with heli-skiing you have six people getting in after an aggressive ski run," Yellowhead's Director of Operations, Sean Rickards, tells us. "They're sweaty, they're hot and they've got wet snow on their clothes. As soon as they get in, the aircraft fogs up. With the HTS900 engine not running as hot as the original 407, we're allowed to run our anti-ice and our head all day which, in my mind, has increased safety ten-fold."
However, the performance benefits of the Eagle 407HP become most noticeable at hot and high altitudes. Yellowhead says when fighting fires, the Eagle 407HP has been able to operate at higher temperatures and altitude.
"It's allowing us to take a full bucket load all the time," Rickards explains. "Last summer we had the
opportunity to operate against an Astar B3. We were able to continue flying away with the bucket whereas the B3 struggled to get the bucket out of the water."
This performance is also assisting exploration work - Yellowhead can now lift loads continuously up to high altitudes. "We can typically go heavier on fuel and go longer on our cycles," says Rickard.
Before deciding to convert its Bell 407s, Yellowhead was concerned about the additional weight which would be added to the airframe. Fortunately, the company was able to work with Honeywell and Eagle to achieve weight reductions.
"The detriment isn't as bad as we thought," explains Rickards. "We're working on exploration projects in the middle of summer. The pilots are actually able to put a little bit more fuel in and do longer cycles, and the benefit of being able to lift drills right through altitude has been huge."
Yellowhead have now flown a total of more than 1,000 hours in its two Eagle 407HPs and they have proven reliable and easy to maintain.
"The support we're receiving from Honeywell and Eagle Copters is very good," explains Yellowhead's Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, Robert Wittmack. "We're all new to it and the support has been excellent. I would recommend the Eagle 407HP to other operators. I believe, from a maintenance standpoint, they are easy to work with and easier to maintain."
* HTS900 turboshaft helicopter engine
* Installation and completion by Eagle
* Increased hot and high performance
* Ability to carry additional loads
* Easier maintenance
Why Yellowhead chose the Eagle 407HP
* Need for additional power and payload
* Enhanced safety of the dual channel FADEC
* Fuel savings and resultant reduction in CO2 emissions