Hill Helicopters names engine for the HX50

Hill Helicopters names engine for the HX50

3-Nov-2020 Source: HeliHub.com

In another step away from long-entrenched industry norms, British manufacturer Hill Helicopters is today announcing that the power for its new HX50 luxury personal helicopter will be their own Hill GT50 light turbine engine with a continuous power output of 400hp. This newly designed powerplant eliminates the need for a compressor turbine gearbox to save weight and complexity, while manufacturing methodologies have enabled a much shorter development lifecycle. An in-house FADEC brings further simplicity to the complete package.

In an exclusive interview with CEO Jason Hill, HeliHub.com particularly noted that the creation of its own powerplant has allowed Hill Helicopters to move away from the constraints of existing engine suppliers and designs, many of which trace their origins back to the 1950s or 1960s. The benefit of being able to match engine with airframe from the ground up means that the design will be optimised for the refinement demanded by the HX50 helicopter. The combination of time-tested, proven engine technologies and today’s turbine engine advancements makes the GT50 a compact, light, and innovative solution that defines the future of the light turbine helicopter.

“The GT50 has been designed and developed by a team of industry veterans using methods, tools, and techniques pioneered over decades,” says Jason Hill. “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 Hill GT50 employs state-of-art component and gas-path design delivering unmatched efficiencies for an entry-level turbine. The 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 trouble-free, rapid startup and shutdown, tight RPM management, and optimal engine monitoring and control.

Additionally, the Hill team took advantage of today’s economies of scale in manufacturing turbine components. On-demand advanced manufacturing processes and improved supply chains for the specialized materials used in turbine engines allowed for significant cost and time savings in developing, manufacturing, and delivering an affordable new engine.

“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. In simple terms, by developing the advanced GT50 engine, Hill has completely unlocked the potential of the helicopter in terms of both performance and cost, providing the enchanting opportunity to relaunch general aviation.”

Hill GT50 Turbine Specifications:

  • Maximum Continuous Power: 400 hp
  • Take-off Power (5 mins): 440 hp (Up to 10,000 ft, ISA +15°C)
  • Emergency Power (30s): 500 hp
  • Fuel Consumption (MCP): 35 U.S. gallons per hour
  • Fuel Type: Jet A1 (Alternatives to be announced soon)
  • TBO: 5,000 hours or 20,000 cycles, on condition.
  • Control: Hill FADEC (Dual channel, with manual reversion)
  • Management: Fully integrated with Hill Digital Cockpit
  • Weight: 100 kg / 220 lbs

Hill GT50 Turbine Engine Features:

  • Two-spool turboshaft engine
  • Single stage centrifugal compressor with two-stage axial gas generator turbine
  • Single stage axial free power turbine
  • Direct-drive starter generator replaces the traditional expensive and heavy compressor turbine gearbox
  • Hill FADEC system
  • Inlet barrier filter and silencer as standard, minimizing compressor noise, maximizing protection, and extending the life of the engine components
  • Light, low-profile, compact design

About Hill Helicopters
Founded Dr. Jason Hill, Ph.D., Hill Helicopters’ mission is to fully disrupt the modern general aviation market with a completely revolutionary new private aircraft design. Built from the ground up and incorporating the latest structural, propulsion, navigation, and experiential technology, the HX50 is the helicopter redefined. For more information visit hillhelicopters.com



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