Hill Helicopters, November 04, 2020 - The new GT50 turboshaft engine delivers smooth, refined power, an iconic soundtrack and reliable operation at high power settings, while providing extended periods between overhauls.
Designed specifically to meet the needs of the HX50, with simplicity, efficiency and a holistic approach to safety as core design values, the GT50 releases the untapped potential of a next-generation light helicopter.
Designed and developed by a team of industry veterans, using methods, tools, and techniques pioneered over decades, the GT50 is a masterful combination of time-tested ideas and architecture, integrating modern advancements, manufacturing methods and supply chain opportunities, to deliver a one-of-a-kind engine, purposely built for the HX50.
By developing the engine in parallel with the helicopter, we were able to define exactly what attributes were required for the powerplant in order to deliver the payload, performance, package and engine control characteristics essential to the HX50, rather than having to accept a poorly suited and unnecessarily expensive old technology engine.
The expensive and heavy compressor turbine gearbox has been completely eliminated, with a direct-drive starter-generator being employed to dramatically reduce the cost and mechanical complexity of the engine. Extensive use of redundant electrical engine ancillaries further simplifies the engine package, and modular design makes for easy maintenance.
The Hill GT50 employs state-of-the-art component and gas-path design delivering unmatched component and cycle efficiencies for an entry-level turbine. The outstanding performance and operating range for the compressor and turbines is coupled with an efficient and robust 3-can combustor system, offering a low-risk development route, flameout redundancy and fuel flexibility. The engine has been completely optimised around the unique requirements of the HX50, allowing for a significant improvement in engine performance and durability.
The GT50 is fully electronically controlled, providing trouble free, rapid, startup and shutdown, tight RPM management and optimal engine monitoring and control, through the use of the Hill FADEC system. The engine is tightly integrated with the Hill Digital Cockpit and the HX50’s advanced flight controls, providing simple engine and power management including full integration with Hill’s Haptic Power Management system that provides shaped force gradients and feedback through the collective as power limits are approached, allowing pilots to 'feel' power reserves and keep their eyes outside during critical phases of flight.
The GT50 is a two-spool turboshaft engine, comprising a single stage centrifugal compressor with a pressure ratio of 8.0:1 at 49,000rpm, driven by a two-stage axial turbine, specifically optimised for high efficiency, low fuel consumption and long-life.
The single-stage free power turbine operating at 36,000rpm includes a rear power take-off, dramatically simplifying the engine mechanical design, delivering output power through a high-speed reduction gearbox at 5,500rpm for the tail rotor, and a forward drive shaft located underneath the engine to provide drive to the main rotor gearbox.
The engine has been configured to use proven industrial combustion technology, with three inward-firing external combustion cans providing low cost, low development risk, high efficiency, low emissions and excellent fuel flexibility.
Watch Mischa Gelb (aka Pilot Yellow), Ambassador for Hill Helicopters, as he joins Jason Hill for a fascinating conversation about the new Hill GT50 turbine engine.
Follow the unique vision behind the creation of this revolutionary engine, get to know the unit’s remarkable features and performance, and learn why the GT50 is the perfect match for the HX50.
“If you want to make the best 5-seat helicopter in the world, you have to give it the right power and the right engine” — Jason Hill