Yes. Although vertical integration is challenging to set up in terms of work and infrastructure needed to get into production, it means that all spare parts will be available at the lowest price point possible. Hill will have complete control over when they are made and how much stock to carry, so the company will carry a high number of spares. As the aircraft rollout continues spares will be held in each of the major territories so that parts can be delivered to aircraft that are down as quickly as possible.
The aircraft will be fully digitally documented. You will have a full build log of the helicopter.
Every aircraft is sold with a maintenance type rating course so whoever your mechanic is in your local area you can bring them to the factory as part of your purchase price . We’ll train and equip them to be able to look after the aircraft domestically and then you’ve got the kind of support you need right on the doorstep. That mechanic will also have access to all of our technical support back at the factory so he gets all of our engineers right behind him to make sure your machine is properly supported. As we get more aircraft into the field there will be more distributor based support, but for initial rollout that’s how it will work.
Yes, the HX50 is being developed to resist corrosion, rust, etc. to the very high standards demanded by regulations and will undergo rigorous testing worldwide in extreme weather conditions. Flight controls will be sealed, coatings will be used, magnesium will not be used. There will be a careful selection of materials, composites and protection on the blades.
It will all be digital.
The maintenance will be delivered by your local service operators, so we will operate in the same way as a lot of car dealers do in that there will be book times for certain things, certain approved procedures. There will be a ready supply of parts and in the early years in particular it will be a case of swop the part and send it back to us and we’ll send you a new one to keep things simple. Hill Helicopters doen’t want lots of complex parts opened in the field so it will be a very simple process delivered by people you trust on the ground in your country.
You can nominate your mechanic to come to the UK to take our maintenance course to become certified to carry out the maintenance on your aircraft. Alternatively, as the HX50 community grows, you will be able to connect and share information with owners in your area – the Hill app will also provide information on where to find mechanics.
There is no de-icing system so you have to avoid icing conditions but the HX50 will be approved for temperatures down to minus 30 degrees C. Components are being developed and will be tested in all conditions including extreme cold.
Hill will carry a large parts stock as we roll out to a distributor model in the future and large parts stocks will be also carried by the distributors. This is all about the customers. We have control, we own everything, so we are not held to ransom for expensive parts from other companies. We make the parts as inexpensively as we can, carry stock here and in the other territories around the world that we sell in. So, expect better from us.
No. You would have to cross a threshold. But we will have to develop exactly what the threshold is, because we have to do a lot of fatigue testing to prove that out. One of the benefits of carbon fibre structures is that they’ve got lots of discrete load paths within the structure so they are inherently more resilient to fatigue than conventional metallic materials, so we can work with that.
A variety of ways depending on the location in the aircraft. For the metallics that are built into the components to connect the transmission etc. all of those metallic components are actually embedded in glass fibre before they get infused into the cockpit. There’s a protective layer of glass fibres that are non-conductive to act as an insulating barrier around those parts. There are also more conventional methods for dealing with similar metals throughout the engine and the airframe.
It is a fairly simple system so maintenance will not be complicated. Each aircraft is sold with a maintenance course, there will be a subscription based support for maintenance.
Yes. There is a filter over the inlet barrier which is suitable for extreme conditions and can be easily removed for inspection and cleaning.
HASM is delivered through the digital cockpit, through the Hill app, allowing Hill to track the health of the aircraft, licensing and medicals, as well as offering support and feedback to our pilot community, and giving social media updates. This will ensure commercial aviation levels of safety and support, and easy access to instructors, examiners and pilots, all around the world. It also enables safety issues to be pointed out. Airworthiness directives and service notifications are all alerted through the app.
A privately owned HX50 operating around 50 to 100 hours a year would need little more maintenance than its annual inspection, with costs well within £5,000 a year for a UK based aircraft. Hill intends to offer an in-house maintenance programme on subscription.
The aircraft is designed to be used, to be worked hard, and to require nothing between 100 hour services. For most private owners that will mean a once a year service, similar to most modern, simple helicopters. There will be an exchange program for any modules that need replacing, and we will ensure that parts are always in stock.
Each HX50 that is sold includes a build school course and also a maintenance course. The build school covers the owner’s technical familiarity with the aircraft, their contribution to the statutory requirements of the build, and a lot of technical familiarisation with the systems that the owner is not expected to be involved in directly. The maintenance course would usually be taken by an engineer appointed by the owner, usually an A and P mechanic, although in some cases this may be the owner themselves, if suitably qualified.
Regulations vary around the world, but the level of complexity of HX50 and the need to maintain the fleet’s safety will mean that maintenance would preferably be done by a suitably qualified engineer. Hill is supporting maintenance and support in the field at a reasonable cost, and the level of maintenance needed should be minimal, and would probably need to be done only once a year.
Yes, just the way it is for a car.
It will be no more difficult than replacing the window on your car.
Our business model is to make sure that the helicopters can be supported globally as inexpensively as possible. Any tooling needed will be readily available from us at a reasonable cost.