Enstrom flies first JGSDF 480B
August 25, 2010, Menominee, Mi. - Enstrom Helicopter Corporation has completed the
first day of flying for the first 480B helicopter destined for the Japanese
Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) Pilot Training Program.
By Carey Fredericks
first day could not have gone better", said Jerry Mullins, President and CEO of
Enstrom Helicopter Corporation.
"All necessary flight performance requirements were met and Production
Flight Testing has been completed.
We will enter into the certification phase of the testing early this
aircraft configuration procured by the JGSDF has multiple new options that were
developed for this program. The
industry unique 2+2 (two pilots and 2 passenger) cabin configuration was one of
the major developments undertaken for the JGSDF. Certified in November of 2009, Enstrom and its Japanese
representation, AERO Facility, Ltd. Inc., teamed up to develop and certify the
newly configured cabin that allows two sets of controls and additional seating
for two passengers. "The unique
thing about this configuration in the 480B", said Tracy Biegler, Director of
Sales and Marketing, "is that both pilots and passengers are all in the same
area, able to view all instruments, watch each of the pilots, and see what each
2+2 configuration was one of the major requirements of the program and was
recognized early on as a key to success.
The requested configuration was very stringent and required excellent
visibility of the instruments, controls, and external views from all seats
within the helicopter. Therefore,
a unique cabin configuration, such as the 480B provides, was required to create
a successful solution without compromise to the rest of the program. With the versatility of the Enstrom
design, along with a company infrastructure designed and staffed to react
quickly, the design went from concept to certification in record time.
Other items that were developed for this program are primarily special
support avionics for the missions defined by the JGSDF. Certification will now drive the final
delivery timing for the aircraft.
It is expected that this process will be completed within the next six
to eight weeks. The program calls
for this first evaluation helicopter to be delivered in 2010, with a total of
30 aircraft to be delivered by 2014.
Enstrom was chosen in a competitive bidding process over two formidable
manufacturers in February of this year.