Hill Helicopters Reveals Innovative New Engine Design for the HX50
Hill Helicopters unveils its Hill GT50 light turbine engine, designed specifically for the new Hill HX50 luxury personal helicopter. An elegant and intellectual combination of time-tested, proven engine technologies and today’s turbine engine advancements, the GT50 is a compact, light, reliable and innovative solution that defines the future of the light turbine helicopter.
“The GT50 was designed and developed by a team of industry veterans, using methods, tools, and techniques pioneered over decades,” says Hill Helicopters' president and CEO, 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.”
Designing its own advanced engine allowed Hill Helicopters to move outside the constraints of existing engines designed in the 1950s and optimally meet the unique refinement demanded by the HX50 helicopter.
The Hill GT50 employs state-of-art component and gas-path design, delivering unmatched efficiencies for an entry-level turbine. The outstanding 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.
For more information on Hill Helicopters, the GT50 turbine engine and the HX50 helicopter, visit www.hillhelicopters.com.