First Brazilian Pantera HM-1 Helicopter Starts Test Flights
By Dialogo October 30, 2012
The first Pantera HM-1 helicopter, modernized by Helibras, and belonging to the Brazilian Army Aviation Command, has started the flight test program in a new configuration. Designed as Pantera K2 by the company, the delivery of the first aircraft is scheduled for next December.
“The partnership between Helibras and the Armed Forces is built on a vision of future. It is already generating benefits for all of society by expanding the Brazilian industry as a strategic step into the company’s expansion program. It entails the use of important technologies offered in a model of high performance …,” said Eduardo Marson Ferreira, president of Helibras.
In the contract between Helibras and the Brazilian Army, the modernized HM-1 helicopter is the first of 34 units that will be worked on in the process [of modernization]. The aircraft will have brand-new wiring, engine hoods, a built-in Vehicle Engine Monitoring Display screen integrated with a crystal cabin, a four-axis automatic pilot, an Arriel engine capable of developing 40% maximum energy which is bigger than the previous propellant, an air inlet, and a completely modernized main transmission case. It will also have new meteorological radars and altimeters, modern navigation and communication radios, as well as a new rotary-wing tail engine, which will significantly increase the performance and security of operation in the aircraft.
The modernization of HM-1 Pantera into the K2 version will extend the service life of these helicopters for over 25 years, and it was estimated that the last aircraft would be manufactured by 2021.
Marco Wagner, Program Manager of Helibras’ Pantera K2 program, explained that after the perfecting phases in the preliminary project and the detail of the aircraft’s new configuration – all executed by the Helibras’ engineering center, as well as their decision of sending Helibras engineers and mechanics to Eurocopter in France to participate in an “on the job” training – the company will be following up with the certification and qualification evaluation processes, as well as training pilots and instructors.
According to Helibras, the project is providing the company with a significant technological leap which will lead to the development of the new Brazilian helicopter planned for 2020, with the fabrication of EC725 model and other ongoing programs.