Safari 500

Safari 500

I spent the a few hours wandering the warbirds area this morning looking in vain for a Sea Fury, my favorite of that era, but a couple of Spitfires kept me happy. After a bit of break it was off to the kit manufacturers area in search of a plane for my girlfriend. She quite liked the Panther and Lightning so perhaps I will be roped in for some builder assistance sometime in the future.

For a couple of hours, I visited with Safari Helicopters crew, one of small number of helicopter kit manufacturers.

They have mated a composite tailboom and fuselage shell to the existing chrome moly tube-frame center section structure of their Model 400. The new Model 500 uses the existing engine, transmission and rotor system of the Model 400. Although I am a fan of the Bell-47, a legacy of watching too many MASH episodes as a kid, the new Model 500 has a much sleeker and refined appearance. The helicopter is still in development, but I was afforded the opportunity for a short flight and was able to do some basic hover maneuvers. I look forward to seeing the aircraft develop as it is one of only a few in this market segment.

Nigel Speedy

Nigel Speedy started flying helicopters with the Australian Army and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. He currently instructs at the National Test Pilot School in Mojave, California. Nigel enjoys flying his Van's RV-8 and the freedom of E/A-B to experiment.

One Reply to “Safari 500”

  1. Remember that little single seat "500"kit that killed several of its pilots a few years ago? I certainly do! Thats why I wonder why an experimental helicopter company would choose the name "500" on any of their crafts!

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