NZ behind landmark plastic helicopter
Sun, 15 Jul 2012 6:04p.m.
By Brook Sabin
3 News has been given an exclusive preview of revolutionary New Zealand-made aircraft, which will soon be unveiled at the world's biggest aviation expo.
They include the first-ever plastic passenger helicopter.
The local aviation sector aims to add $15 billion to the New Zealand economy each year.
“In simple terms, it's a plastic helicopter with plastic main rotor blades and with plastic tail rotor blades,” says Composite Helicopter director Peter Maloney.
The helicopter, designed and built just north of Auckland, uses carbon-fibre technology like that found in America’s cup boats and Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner.
It's light, ultra-durable and is frameless, meaning it can be built in record time.
They're still in the test flight stage, but have already got 41 orders and are about to showcase at the world's biggest aviation expo in the United States.
“Who would have seen this coming?” asks New Zealand Trade and Enterprise aviation manager Peter Smyth. “Who would have thought a company in New Zealand could build a helicopter and be the world's best in its space and have huge international appeal?”
In a separate showcase of ingenuity a Hamilton company has made a super efficient propeller for planes.
Built in Hamilton, it is one of the most efficient ever created.
Most propellers are generally only using the tip to provide the thrust, whereas this is using the entire blade.
It means aircraft will go quicker, cheaper.
“We have come up with specific design propellers, which suit individual aircraft that start to get into the 90 to 95 percent efficiency range, compared to most propellers which are sitting at 50 to 65 percent efficiency range,” says Kiwi Propellers director Shaun Mitchell.
Combined with other local inventions like the Martin jetpack, the local aviation sector is set to take off.
“The total turnover in New Zealand is around $10 billion,” says Mr Smyth. “The industry wants to grow that by 50 percent over the next five years.”
That is $15 billion.
Composite Helicopters is keen to play its part.
“We do fully expect to turn the industry on its head,” says Mr Maloney.
The plastic helicopter is part of a burgeoning, and much needed, high-tech industry.
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23/07/2012 10:48:59 a.m.
ron collinson wrote:
please more info on nz made helicopter and the hi performance propeller also made in nz thankyou ronc
21/07/2012 2:07:38 p.m.
If anyone can, a kiwi can !!
16/07/2012 2:14:27 p.m.
long may this type of thinking prevail in NZ. I do worry that this type of thinking is slowly being strangled out of the average kiwi.
16/07/2012 2:02:19 p.m.
I love these types of stories. We are great at doing this type of stuff. Congrats to these people and every success.
16/07/2012 11:33:20 a.m.
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