Hill Helicopters unveiled its Hill GT50 light turbine engine, designed specifically for the new Hill HX50 personal helicopter. The company says their GT50 is a compact, light, reliable and innovative solution that “defines the future of the light turbine helicopter.”
Designing its own advanced engine allowed Hill Helicopters to move outside the constraints of existing engines designed in the 1950s and meet the unique demands of their HX50 helicopter.
“The GT50 was designed and developed by a team of industry veterans, using methods, tools, and techniques pioneered over decades,” says Jason Hill, Hill Helicopters president and CEO. “It is an intelligent ensemble of proven ideas and architecture, embodied into a new engine that fully exploits modern advancements, manufacturing methods, and supply chain opportunities to fulfill a specific market need.
The company says the Hill GT50 employs state-of-art component and gas-path design delivering unmatched efficiencies for an entry-level turbine. The outstanding performance and operating range for the compressor and turbines is coupled with an efficient and robust three-can combustor system, offering a low-risk development route, flameout redundancy and fuel flexibility.
The historically expensive and heavy compressor turbine gearbox of current helicopter engines has been eliminated and replaced by a direct-drive starter-generator to dramatically reduce the cost and mechanical complexity of the engine. Extensive use of redundant electrical engine ancillaries further simplifies the engine package and a modular design makes for easy maintenance of the unit’s core components. The engine is also fully electronically controlled and features the Hill FADEC System, providing rapid startup and shutdown, tight RPM management, and optimal engine monitoring and control, the company says.
“The availability of reliable, powerful and affordable engines is what limits light helicopter design today,” Hill adds. “When considering the overall mix of requirements necessary to power a truly ground-breaking aircraft, we saw the opportunity to design a simple turbine engine with unmatched efficiency, power, and cost. ”