HOT AND HIGH PERFORMANCE
For more than 30 years, Heli Niugini Limited has operated on the western South Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea and throughout Australia, Asia and the Pacific. It specializes in helicopter support for the precision construction, mining and oil and gas industries, conducting both general visual and instrument flight rule operations. The company also provides charter services.
Heli Niugini is based on Papua New Guinea’s main island of New Guinea, which the country shares with Indonesia. An unbroken chain of mountains with peaks above 13,000 feet dominates the topography. Papua New Guinea’s highest peak, Mount Wilhelm, rises to 14,793 feet. In addition to those elevations, much of the country is covered by tropical rain forest. Year-round, temperatures in the capital of Port Moresby, on the southern coast of the main island, hover around 27 degrees Celsius. Humidity averages 80 percent at Heli Niugini’s main base at Madang, on that island’s northern coast.
All of which is to say Heli Niugini’s operating environment is among the toughest for helicopters. The experience of flying 12,000 hours a year in that environment, with a mixed fleet that includes the Bell 407, has made the operator’s staff severe skeptics of helicopter performance claims. When at May 2016’s Rotortech trade show in Australia they heard claims of what the Eagle 407HP could do, Heli Niugini executives wanted to see firsthand.
Shortly after the show, Eagle Australasia flew the Eagle 407HP to Papua New Guinea for trial operations. Privately owned Eagle Australasia is a joint venture set up by Eagle Copters and the Australian company Aero Assist, a long-term partner, to market and provide support to the aircraft.
In the trials, the Eagle 407HP, fitted with mission-specific equipment, replaced a standard Bell 407 on a drilling exploration contract. Among other work, it lifted various internal and external loads at around 6,500 feet (density altitude 8,000 feet). The 407HP showed it could launch with more fuel and loads similar to a 407, lift and move heavier parts of the drill rig reducing the need for disassembly, and land with a heavier internal load enabling it to complete a food resupply in one trip instead of two.
The trials also included testing on the 10,993-foot Mount Otto, which has a communication tower on it. Heli Niugini transports 420-gallon drums of diesel to the summit to keep the tower’s generator running. An experienced Heli Niugini 407 pilot calculated that on the day of the test, with the density altitude at 13,000 feet at the peak, the 407HP could have lifted four drums of diesel. With the drums, long line and cargo hook, that would be a load of 1,760 pounds. The standard 407 would lift only two drums under those conditions.
The trials proved the 407HP’s hot-and-high performance, demonstrating that it can outlift a Bell 212 above 8,000 ft., said Eagle Australasia CEO Grant Boyter,
The Eagle 407HP is torque-limited to around 10,500 feet, compared to around 3,500 feet on a standard Bell 407 in Papua New Guinea. That is one of many factors that make the 407HP a game changer. Heli Niugini officials said they are excited about now being able to bid for jobs at altitude that in the past have been done mostly been done by Bell 212s, standard 205A1s and Airbus SA315 Lamas.
Testament to the game-changing nature was Heli Niugini’s decision after the trials to lease that 407HP and to convert one of its standard 407s to the HP configuration. Eagle Australasia completed that conversion, with support from three Eagle Copter mechanics, in April 2017, on budget, and right on the six-week schedule.
With Honeywell’s powerful, efficient and reliable HTS900, Eagle Copters’ 407HP upgrade turns a workhorse single-engine helicopter into a true hot-and-high performer with capabilities that outmatch competitors and, in some cases, surpassed those of bigger, twin-engine rotorcraft. The upgrade also gives 407HP operators added safety margin, reduced operating costs and the ability to execute missions longer and more effectively.
The 407HP provides the best possible performance, highest efficiency and lowest maintenance costs for the Bell 407. Experience the 407’s full potential powered by the HTS900 engine.
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