Tuesday 17 January 2023

Homebuilt and Sport Helicopters of New Zealand - Vertical Aviation Hummingbird 260L

A new one off type of sport helicopter was registered in New Zealand in July 2008.  This was a 4 seater Vertical Aviation Hummingbird 260L that was manufactured by Vertical Aviation Technologies of Sanford in Florida as a kit.

The Hummingbird was developed from the Sikorsky S 52.  It has a similar 4 wheel undercarriage and its nose and windscreen is adapted from a Bell 206.  Construction is of rivetted aluminium and the engine is a 6 cylinder Lycoming that produces around 265 HP (There is a later 300L model that uses a six cylinder Lycoming IO 540 derated to 280 HP).  The main rotors consist of 3 blades with a 33 feet (10.1 metres) diameter rotor disc.  The empty weight is around 1,790 pounds (812 Kg) while the MAUW in New Zealand was 2,700 pounds (1,224Kg).  The maximum speed is quoted as 110 mph (96 knots).

ZK-IBU (c/n 727) was registered to Johnson Aviation Importers Ltd of Nelson on 9/7/08.  I think it spent its life in the Nelson area and Johnson Aviation Importers Ltd later shifted to Brightwater.  I don't know if it flew much here (can anyone advise?) and it was cancelled from the NZ register on 24/8/16.  It was exported back to the US where it became N3352S and later N52S to Wings on Safari LLC.

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