Fri, Dec 16, 2005
Kit-Copter May Be Offered To Customers Next Month
Aero-News has learned that McCook, NE-based Pawnee Aviation
successfully completed the first hover test of its planned
kit-built Chief helicopter this week, one of at least four flights
the Chief completed. The results of the tests allow the company to
lockdown final design details of the helicopter, and may even mean
the company will be able to ship kits as early as January.
"We're real excited," Pawnee Aviation founder and CEO Ron
Willocks told the McCook Gazette. "The hard work is done in
The two-seat Chief features a converted Chevrolet racing V8
powerplant, derated to 306 hp. Offering such power sets the Chief
apart from other kit-built helicopters, according to Pawnee, by
offering a higher useful load and, especially, a higher service
ceiling (10,000 ft MSL) and better performance at high density
The helicopter features a 30' diameter carbon-composite rotor
assembly, and can cruise at 85 mph.
With the successful completion of the test flights, Pawnee
Aviation can invest in more tooling, according to the Gazette, to
allow the company to begin producing as many as eight to 10 kits
per month. The company aims for a first-year production total of 50
to 60 kits in 2006.
As many as 700 interested customers are already in Pawnee's
database, said Willocks, adding that he is fielding phone calls
from potential buyers. The company may also soon hire more
employees, adding to the staff of five currently working on
bringing the helicopter to market.
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