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Heli-Expo 2017: New customer for Eagle's 407 HP

9th March 2017 - 18:40 GMT | by Beth Maundrill in Dallas

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Helicopter Express, the latest 407 HP customer for Eagle Copters, will take delivery of the aircraft - which is equipped with the Honeywell HTS900 engine - within the next two weeks, the company president has revealed to Shephard.

This is the second Bell 407 HP that Helicopter Express has ordered and together Honeywell and Eagle have converted eight aircraft, with more in the pipeline.

'Our contracts are awarded by the government based on how much payload we can carry,' said Richie Kittrell, COO and president of Helicopter Express, 'This aircraft provides us unmatched capability. With this we are able to easily fight fires at altitude,' he added.

Helicopter Express also operates three standard configuration Bell 407s, with Kittrell noting that pilots can easily transition to using the 407 HP. As well as increased payload capacity, the 407 HP can operate in hot and high environments.

The fleet also consists of an AS350 B3, EC 155, Bell 205A-1 ++ and K-MAX and the company is a contractor for both the US Forest Service and Department of Interior.

Eagle Copters placed a new order for eight additional engines in January 2017, adding two engines from a previous order which will be delivered during 2017. Eagle Copters believes the demand for the Eagle 407 HP conversions is growing.

The Honeywell HTS900 is an engine design that provides additional payload, which equates to around 206 gallons compared with 128 gallons for the 407 GXP, improved dash speed and 12% lower maintenance costs compared with the original Bell 407. The conversion replaces the Rolls Royce C47 turbine engine originally fitted on the 407.

According to Honeywell, the HTS900 has a 17% reduction in fuel consumption compared with the standard engine and a 22% increase in shaft horsepower

Honeywell has been working with Eagle Copters for four years now and has converted eight aircraft.

The partnership received a Supplemental Type Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and a receipt of Transport Canada certification covering the retrofit programme in 2014. The launch customer was revealed at Heli-Expo 2015 in Orlando following the FAA certification.

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