Tue, Jul 24, 2012
The KC-518 Journey Into Production
By David Juwel
Last year we wrote about the new totally composite helicopter called the KC-518. It had some interesting innovations and their goal is full certification, but for now, its still a high-end kit.
Using an RR250 C20B/J turbine engine, the KC-518 Adventourer is expected to carry 5-6 people at a cruise of 135 kts with an endurance of 3.6 hours. As a kit, there are 28 sub-assemblies and the fuselage is made of carbon/kevlar. For greater utility, the helicopter has 4 storage lockers built into the composite airframe. The advantage of the composite airframe is the protection it provides against corrosion. The manufacturer states that the helicopter is expected to have a 5,000 hr TBO. Even the four blades and the enclosed tail rotors are carbon fiber. The enclosed tail rotor is classed as a ducted fan and it is capable of producing 105 kts of thrust. The company indicates that they have a prototype flying and it can be seen in the video they provide.
The price has lowered somewhat over last year with it costing the builder $335,000 less turbine. The turbine is expected to cost somewhere in the vicinity of $35,000. Three-hundred and seventy thousand dollars is still less expensive than any other 4-plus multi-place helicopter.
Once certified, the helicopter will probably sell totally complete for about $800,000. They are advertising it as an aircraft designed and manufactured for full FAA certification, that you can now buy as a kit at less than half the certification price. Supposedly, you’d be getting certified quality at pre-certification prices.
Please be aware, its not certified until its certified. Until then, while it is certainly innovative, its still an uncertified kit helicopter. Were it able to become certified as designed, then you would truly have a bargain.
Due diligence may be called for in this situation, so I talked with Peter Maloney, the President of Composite Helicopters, and I asked him what assurance he has that his kit built will be certified as it is presently designed.He stated that his teams objective is to design each component of the kit to comply with FAA Part 27. Their rationale is that if they build each part to that standard, then they should have minimal issues certifying it.
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