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A multi-role light helicopter, the Enstrom 480B was designed and developed by Enstrom Helicopter Corporation in USA to meet the requirements of the Royal Thai Army. It can be used for a variety of applications, including personal transport, flight instruction, law enforcement, power line patrol, executive transport (charter), electronic news gathering, pipeline patrol, aerial photography, sightseeing and cargo or passenger delivery.
The Enstrom 480B took its maiden flight in 1989 and entered into service in 1993. The helicopter is currently being operated by 18 countries worldwide. It was developed to replace the Bell 206B Jet Ranger and MD500. As of March 2010, about 90 helicopters had been manufactured by the Enstrom.
Enstrom 480B helicopter variants
The Enstrom 480B has four variants, namely Enstrom 480, Enstrom 480B, Enstrom 480B Guardian and TH-28.
The Enstrom 480 is a civil version helicopter equipped with five seats. It was developed based on TH-28 and was certified in November 1993.
The Enstrom 480B is an advanced version of the Enstrom 480. The gross weight and useful load of the variant is increased by 68kg.
Another variant, the Enstrom 480B Guardian, is fitted with a high-resolution camera and search light. It is principally used to perform police or law enforcement missions.
The Enstrom TH-28 is built based on Enstrom 280FX, a piston-powered helicopter. The TH28 features more cabin space, a larger rotor diameter, and bigger horizontal and vertical stabilisers. This variant is developed for military training and light patrol missions.
Enstrom 480B orders and deliveries
The first Enstrom 480B was delivered to Rotor Ukraine in February 2009. The helicopter can be used for travel and photography for commercial purposes as well as sale demonstrations.
Two Enstrom 480B helicopters were sold to India in February 2009. The president of Monarch International Aviation (MIA) bought the first helicopter, which can be used for commercial purposes as well as demonstrations. The second, which can be used for corporate transport, was procured by Orissa Stevedores. These helicopters were fitted with leather seats and air conditioners for VIP luxury to suit the hot weather in India.
On 18 February 2009, the Fortune Air in Bulgaria received its first Enstrom 480B helicopter, which is black and gold in colour. It is principally used for agricultural spraying using an ag-spray kit installed in the helicopter by Isolair. The helicopter can also be used as a commercial aircraft and search and rescue ship.
In October 2009, Enstrom Army was awarded a contract by the Thai Army to incorporate powerline detection systems in the Enstrom 480B helicopters.
The system detects electromagnetic fields emitted by the power line and alerts the pilot with a blinking red light. The 3lb powerline detection system along with an installation kit provides installation hardware, which encompasses the antenna and installation data.
The Royal Thai Army ordered 16 Enstrom 480B helicopters in February 2010. Seven different helicopters developed by various major manufacturers were hosted in the bidding process, from which the 480B was selected.
Enstrom Helicopter Corporation will supply the advanced training helicopters to the Japanese Ground Self-Defence Force under a pilot training programme. The tough airframe and auto-rotational capabilities of the helicopter will offer smooth flight training to the operators. The first helicopter was delivered in 2010 and the entire 30 helicopters are scheduled for delivery by 2014.
Enstrom 480B helicopter design
The helicopter has been designed to have more cabin space, better visibility and large seating. It is configured to accommodate five passengers and a single pilot. The new seating arrangement in the helicopter provides more leg and head room, while the design of cockpit allows it to perform multiple operations.
The right front seat in the cockpit can be removed to provide more leg room, while it can also be moved to outboard when used for pilot training. The right front seat of the helicopter is removed and the back seat is folded during freight. These conversions, which can be made easily in minutes, allow the helicopter to perform multi roles.
Multi-role light helicopter features
The Enstrom 480B is welded with steel central pylon. An extendible tail rotor and removable wheels are used for ground operations. The helicopter is also fitted with top and side windows, two removable doors, salon composite materials and fuel tank enclosed with hinge bracket. Two composite structural cameras are equipped in the aircraft.
Three blade main rotor system, adjustable pedal steering, standard controls and a bush tail rotor are featured in the helicopter. The aluminium blades of the helicopter are protected from corrosion.
Other flight instruments equipped in the helicopter include an altimeter, an Astrotech LC-2 digital chronometer and a compass. An outdoor temperature meter is fitted to measure the temperature inside and outside the helicopter.
Rolls-Royce 250-C20W turbine engine
The Enstrom 480B is powered by a single Rolls-Royce 250-C20W turbine engine. The engine can produce 313kW of power. The maximum continuous power of the engine is 206kW.
The helicopter can climb at a rate of 1,500ft a minute. The maximum and cruise speeds of the aircraft vary with different mission weights. Its maximum speeds are 231km/h (1,133kg), 231km/h (1,270kg) and 229km/h (1,360kg). The cruise speeds are 212km/h (1,133kg), 209km/h (1,270kg) and 201km/h (1,360kg).
The range and service ceiling of the Enstrom 480B are 806km and 3,962m respectively. Its maximum endurance is five hours. The helicopter weighs around 826kg and its maximum take-off weight is 1,361kg.
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