Composite Helicopters have developed and flown the world's first all-composite helicopter - the 5 - 6 seat Helipod KC 518 Adventourer. Driving forces behind the project are Peter Maloney, who is a licensed aircraft engineer and a director of the company and his wife Leanne who is the company's Chief Financial Officer, and who is also part of the build team.
The fuselage and rotor blades of the KC 518 are made entirely from carbon fibre, using the same technology as New Zealand's America's Cup challenging yachts. In fact Composite Helicopters has tapped into the carbon fibre design expertise that exists just up the road in Warkworth, where the AC 72 catamarans are built. The helicopter also features a unique gearbox design that is simpler and lighter than current helicopter gearboxes. Peter says that the KC 518 is a competitor for the Robinson R 44 and R 66 helicopters, but it is much cheaper at around US$450,000. The engine is a Rolls Royce gas turbine which can be from 250 to 400 HP.
The fuselage is manufactured in a mould that Peter and Leanne built. It is built as left and right sides which are then joined to form a monocoque. Then bulkheads and the floor are added, to transfer the rotor forces into the airframe. The helicopter will initially be offered as a kit with all the carbon fibre work completed, and will be licensed in the Experimental category.
Peter said that the third helicopter will commence building shortly.
This is a very impressive machine, that is truly locally developed. It is world leading technology on our doorstep!