Composite Helicopters International Shows Flying Prototype at Oshksoh

KC-518 Composite Helicopter is shaped like a Great White Shark

Modeled after the efficient shape of a Great White Shark, the KC-518, destined to become the world's first all-composite, monocoque turbine helicopter kit is on display at the New Zealand Pavilion (Booth 406) at AirVenture.

"The KC-518 is designed around the shape of the great white shark because it is the most fluid dynamic shaped fish," said Peter Maloney, president of CH International and chief designer on the project. "The balance of the aircraft design comes from my experience in the helicopter world. The choice of a four-blade rotor system comes from my knowledge that it makes for a more comfortable passenger experience, smooth, and it is easier to track and balance. It also has exceptional performance. The ducted fan tail rotor can produce 105 its of thrust out of the tail rotor measured via pitot tube inside the duct, at 3800 pounds of thrust. We've optimized the efficiency of the tail rotor so that we'll have exceptional hot and high performance," he said.

The prototype on display sports the ubiquitous Rolls Royce 250 T63 700, a 320 shp turbine engine, though Maloney said that the airframe, rotor and gearbox are designed to accommodate more powerful engines in the aircraft's future. "We are showing the tail rotor gear box, the main rotor swashplate and the main rotor head here this year," he said. "We want people to see how we've over-engineered this helicopter so that we can achieve a 5000 hour TBO."

Expected performance is a 135 knot cruise airspeed, 3.6 hour endurance with standard fuel tanks, a hover ceiling of more than 10,000 ft (IGE), a rate of climb of more than 1000 fpm, and a maximum operating altitude of 14,000 feet. Passengers and baggage (payload) is expected to be 982 lbs with 2.6 hours fuel onboard. The helicopter has seating for four, plus the pilot, with an option for utility seating for five plus the pilot.

The helicopter kit, which will be available with several options will cost $335,000. A $5000 US deposit is required to secure a production slot for a kit. Maloney says that 15 kits are sold at this point in time.

For more information, visit www.compositehelicopter.com.

Contributing Editor Amy Laboda is a freelance writer and editor of Aviation for Women magazine. She's an ATP-rated pilot and instrument and multi-engine Flight Instructor with a passion for teaching and flying in light aircraft. Her steady rides these days are a 18-year old Kitfox IV and a fresh Van's RV-10.

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