Monday 15 September 2014

One of Our Newest New Zealand Helicopters: Composite Helicopters KC 518 Adventourer ZK-HOL

Recently I was at North Shore Airfield to check on progress with Composite Helicopters new machine ZK-HOL.  This is their second flying helicopter.  The prototype ZK-ICM has been featured on this blog previously and it hit the headlines when it force landed in the Waitemata Harbour on 7 May 2013, see:   Although the ditching which resulted in the main rotor striking the tailboom was a setback to the company, it in fact proved to be a graphic illustration of the strength of the all composite airframe, which was recovered from the harbour and was found to have only relatively minor damage.  Contrast this to images of other types of helicopters ditching or suffering main rotor blade strikes such as the highly publicised breakup of the AS 350 at Auckland's Viaduct Basin in November 2011.

ZK-HOL features nine and a half inch chord carbon fibre main rotor blades which were also manufactured in Composite Helicopters facilities at North Shore.  As at mid-May the new helicopter has completed 45 hours test flying and is performing very well.

ZK-HOL is towed from the hangar.  That is ex-French Air Force test pilot Norbert Idelon walking behind.

Testing on the day was to measure the performance of the rotor blades.  A lot of data is fed back to computers on board for later downloading and analysis in association with Auckland University.

The hovering flight was completed in ground effect.

Back to the pad flown by test pilots Norbert Idelon and Peter Maloney. Peter Maloney is President/CEO of Composite Helicopters International Ltd and is also a very experienced helicopter pilot.


  1. I don't really think you can compare the ditching into water with the AS350 crash at the Viaduct. The impact forces applied to structure are quite different.

  2. However, both accidents involved very sudden stoppage of the main rotor blades with attendant huge forces. I was trying to highlight the strength of the composite airframe.