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Scott’s-Bell 47, Inc. (SB47) has announced its presale of composite main rotor blades for the Model 47 series helicopters.
After having teamed up with HRA/HAC, Inc., the company that already holds the supplemental type certificate (STC) surrounding the Bell 47 composite tail rotor, a prototype replacement blade and grip assembly has been designed and manufactured.
“We have chosen to replace both the blade and grip as a single assembly, eliminating the drag brace through a clever design most customers will already be familiar with from helicopters such as the Bell 206,” said SB47 general manager Frank Hoffmann. “We are able to substantially reduce manufacturing cost with this new design to a price point that will likely be very appealing to most Bell 47 operators.
“We are aware of the fact that this legacy helicopter, with an estimated worldwide fleet of around 1,000 aircraft, is very price sensitive for both commercial operators as well as the recreational flyer customer base. Bell 47 Main Rotor Blades have not been manufactured for decades and supply is running thin, jeopardizing the fleet. Operators will now have to make a critical decision to invest in their aircraft for the long run; a helicopter that boasts, beside a very robust and reliable design, a comparatively low direct operating cost.”
“I am very honored to be able to contribute in sustaining the Bell 47 helicopter fleet for the next few decades,” said HRA/HAC, Inc. president Nicholas Hertelendy. “I know that the dwindling availability of main rotor blades has caused some concern for operators in the last few years. With this program, already initiated with the design and manufacture of a prototype blade and grip assembly, I am extremely confident to enter the STC certification phase and to have blade and grip assemblies ready for delivery in a timeframe of two to three years from now. Most operators will also be pleased to hear that this STC is designed to be fully compatible with the very popular No-Bar Kit.”
“This new composite main rotor blade and grip assembly, which is designed as a drop-in replacement for both the existing -21 and -23 blades and grips, is planned to be offered as an SB47-owned STC for helicopters operating under the 2H1 and 2H3 type certificates,” added SB47 owner and president, Scott Churchill. “Current projections show an increase in performance of about 10 percent over the existing blades by simply utilizing a proven NASA airfoil design. The blade and grip assembly is designed to have a 5,000-hour life limit with no overhaul scheduled during its life, providing a true Direct Operating Cost of $14.30 per hour.
“We are at a point where we are ready to accept orders. Through this aggressive presale, it is paramount to understand that we need to receive enough orders to hit our minimum numbers in order to justify certification and production cost. I very much urge every single Bell 47 operator to seriously consider placing an order for this presale. I cannot overstate the fact that if this program does not advance, replacement Main Rotor Blades will simply no longer be available, risking the future of this beautiful helicopter. At a heavily discounted presale price of only $71,500 per set of blades and grips, we are making the operator’s decision to participate in this program an easy one.”
The STC will be exclusively marketed and sold through the Scott’s Helicopter Services distribution center. The presale timeframe will only run through April 30, 2018, at which point the program will or will not advance, depending on customer response.