In a first appearance at Heli-Expo, Marenco Swiss Helicopter brought along a full-scale mockup of its radical looking SKYe SHO9. The upstart helicopter maker is based in Niederurnen, Switzerland, which is described as a small town not far from Zurich on the Bodensee.
Fast standing still: the Marenco Swiss Helicopter SKYe SH09 mockup
Chief technology officer of Marenco Swiss Helicopter, Rolf Jacxsens, says the new craft has been under development since 2007, when the company was launched. Jacxsens was very forthcoming until asked where the financing for the company was coming from. Throwing up his hands in mock surrender, he said, "Oh, we can't discuss that." Keeping people guessing on that one should ensure at least a modicum of continuing attention to the project. At the core of the company is Marenco, Ltd., a marine construction company with projects in the Caribbean along with about 50 engineers and technicians with expertise in helicopters.
The aircraft is supposed to deliver superior performance based on its structure of carbon fiber composite and a mixed-composite five blade bearingless rotor system. The tail rotor is a Eurocopter-style shrouded tail rotor (the company doesn't call it a fenestron). And speaking of Eurocopter, how does this newcomer intend to compete with the global giant? "By making something better!" says Jacxsens, with enthusiasm. Example, a window in the floor between the seats in the cockpit so a pilot can manage hook loads without trying to crane through a side bubble. The rear clamshell doors look aimed at EMS, but Jacxsens says a single-engine helicopter can't fly EMS in Europe. (Yes, but what about elsewhere...?)
This 2.5-metric-ton craft is to be powered by the new Honeywell HTS 900 rated at 820 shp at takeoff. Forecasts of first flight and certification dates would be folly with a project in such early stages with a newly hatched company, but they've got the exhibit part down. That mockup looks like Mach 2 standing still. (www.marenco-swisshelicopter.com)