By Helicopters Staff
Metro Aviation and Kopter signed a Memorandum of Agreement outlining Metro Aviation’s intent to purchase and take delivery of five SH09 helicopters following certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This contract brings the total number of orders for the SH09 to 70 units, to which another 100 letters of intent are to be added.
Kopter expects to begin certification flights of the SH09 next year. In March 2019, Kopter Group AG marked its full-scale entry into North America with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new 84,700-square-foot facility at Lafayette Airport in Louisiana. At the time, the aircraft manufacturer expected the Lafayette facility to create 120 jobs by 2025 for the annual production of around 100 aircraft, targeting assembly of its SH09 helicopters.
In June 2019, Kopter completed 34 test flights in Sicily with the third prototype (P3) of its SH09 helicopter, opening the aircraft’s flight envelope beyond 10,000 feet and hitting an airspeed of 135 knots. The next phase of the flight test campaign, according to Kopter, after implementing some aerodynamic refinements further improving P3 handling qualities and a retrofit of the main gear box housing, will see P3 going higher, faster and further.
Kopter explains its cooperation with Metro Aviation began in 2018, when the two companies worked on the design and completion of several interiors for the SH09, which were then presented at helicopter exhibitions in North America.
“We have become more familiar with the SH09 concept and we’ve worked in conjunction with Kopter to develop interiors for EMS, airborne law enforcement and tour operations, which Metro has rolled out to the industry in the last two years,” said Mike Stanberry, President, Metro Aviation.
Stanberry continues to explain the SH09 is an attractive option to Metro, based on what he describes as the helicopter’s twin-engine cabin with the purchase price and operation cost of a single-engine aircraft.
“[Metro Aviation’s] intent to purchase five of our aircraft brings a great deal of pride to our company, our U.S. operations and to all our employees,” said Larry Roberts, president of sales, marketing and customer support for Kopter North America. “Our goal will be to ensure that Metro Aviation can continue to provide their high level of customer service while operating these helicopters.”