May 19, 2017

Kaman touts relaunch of K-MAX helicopters

PHOTO | K. Legace, Kaman Corp.
PHOTO | K. Legace, Kaman Corp.
Kaman Chief Pilot Bill Hart at the controls of the first flight from Kaman’s newly reopened K-MAX commercial production line.

Bloomfield-based Kaman Aerosystems' relaunched K-MAX helicopter made its first successful flight on May 12, a debut to be followed up with the delivery of two helicopters to China.

The K-MAX aircraft, which is used for firefighting, logging and other missions that require aerial lifting, had been discontinued due to lack of demand for at least a dozen years, said Eric Remington, a spokesman for Kaman Corp. Kaman Aerosystems is a division of Kaman Corp.

Now, globally, particularly in Europe and North America, demand has resurfaced and the company reopened the commercial production line for the helicopter last year, he said.

The first two production aircraft will be delivered to customer Lectern Aviation of China for a firefighting mission scheduled to occur in the next few weeks.

Customers from around the world have placed orders for the K-MAX helicopter from the reopened production line, the company said. The single-engine, single-seat aircraft features a counter-rotating rotor system and can handle external loads of up to 6,000 pounds.

Bill Hart, Kaman chief pilot, said the "flawless" flight bodes well for completion of the company's production flight test schedule within the next several weeks.

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