Saturday 31 December 2022

Homebuilt and Sport Helicopters of New Zealand - Composite FX Mosquito Drones

These are neither homebuilt or sport helicopters but I will include them here for completeness.

At Tauranga a company called Environment & Conservation Technologies Ltd has been building drones for commercial use since 2018 and they secured a contract with the Department of Conservation to build a drone based on a Mosquito helicopter.  In 2021 they changed their name to Envico Technologies Ltd.  Various Tauranga photographers have taken tantalising shots of this machine: 

The Envico drone is obviously based on the Mosquito helicopter.  For DOC the use of the Mosquito drone will be for predator control working towards Predator Free Aotearoa.  Based on the weights for the Mosquito XE helicopter, the payload without a pilot could be as much as 105 Kg which puts it into a pretty heavy class of drone. 

Obviously these machines do not need to be registered so it is quite difficult to find out about them.

In this shot you can see some of the remote control equipment in the cockpit, taken at Tauranga on 7/10/22.  And there is no need for forward visibility!

Envico Technologies has also recently received a couple of more minimalist drones from Australia and they are also working on these, as in the above photo, also taken at Tauranga on 7/10/22.

I understand the Composite FX factory in the US also builds drones based on the Mosquito helicopter.

I guess this type of development will be the future and the NZ CAA have a permissive approach to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, of which there are several examples that we could feature as details become available.  I understand that these types of vehicles are work focussed but I hope we will never lose the thrill of flying!

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