At Sun 'n Fun I had the opportunity to meet with Bobby and Delane Baker, the owners of Safari Helicopters. The Safari Helicopter line has a long history dating back to 1954--started by Harold "Pop" Emigh and the original Commuter which evolved into the Commuter II. The rights were bought by Murray Sweet and production was taken to Canada under the 'Canadian Home Rotors' brand name. A machinist by trade Murray made many evolutionary improvements to the helicopter and took it to Oshkosh in 1995. Due to the visual similarities with a Bell-47 the type became known as the "Baby Belle" but was later renamed the Safari. Continue reading "Safari 500 at Sun 'n Fun"
After 600 hours of build time my 2008 Rotorway 162F helicopter departed the earth. First flight was from my driveway after pushing it out of the garage. I have great neighbors! Continue reading "Dave Armando's Rotorway 162F"
It took Bryan Cobb three years to assemble this helicopter while working a full-time job. It is equipped with all factory updates and the PEP tuned exhaust (78 HP). The Mini-500 started life as a new-in-the-crate kit, purchased on eBay in February 2013. Another old barn-find Mini-500 was also purchased on eBay from which to cannibalize all of the mast support and other items. A second-hand Rotax 582 bluehead was purchased off of a flying airplane (Rans S-14). Bryan has been a Mini-500 enthusiast since the early 90's and flew one for 100 hours in the late 90's.
I have 140 fun flying hours to date in my WindFire helicopter.
It's powered by a Subaru EA81 engine short block, rebuilt by Ron @ RAM Performance with an excellent Simple Digital Systems ECU (EM5). 5 gph average fuel burn of non-ethanol premium auto fuel.
MGL Voyager screens and V10 com radio, controlled and tuned by buttons on cyclic control. Microprocessor-controlled fans on radiator, front cabin heater and finned oil pan, keep engine cool even during long ground maneuver practice on warm days. Cabin and cowls are carbon fiber. Tail cone is a one-part uni carbon prepreg, and the fuel tank a one-part carbon-kevlar lay-up.
Time consumed fabricating and assembling parts: thousands of hours! More than I kept track of.
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. Continue reading "Composite Helicopters International Shows Flying Prototype at Oshksoh"
As the beginning of the 2012 show season approaches, Safari Helicopter has announced that the company will have six helicopters flying at Sun-and-Fun this year and will be displaying the new Safari 400 that was launched at Oshkosh last year. Continue reading "Safari Helicopter SNF Show Special"