After reading an interesting series in Vertiflight Magazine (the subscription magazine for those of us in the American Helicopter Society), I thought it would be worthwhile to pull together a summary of the personal helicopter market. In this series of poss, I will provide some basic information about the ultralight and microlight VTOL vehicles that make up the personal helicopter market. This series of posts will include the following models/companies: the Helicycle, the Dragonfly, the Mosquito, Millennium Helicopters, and Safari Helicopters.
Arizona-based Avimech International Aircraft developed thier Dragonfly personal VTOL aircraft around a fundamentally different propulsion paradigm: the hydrogen peroxide rocket tip-jet. You read that right, this beast is powered by rockets in the tip of each rotor blade, not by the typical reciprocating or gas-turbine engine and transmission.
This truly unique architecture has some very interesting benefits. First of all, the hydrogen peroxide rocket drivetrain is environmentally friendly, very low noise, and generates no rotational torque. The system is also free from the typical maintenance required of traditional powerplants, and only requires a water wash of the rocket system every 20 hours of operation.
The Dragonfly is also FAA certified, is very light-weight (at 220lbs), and can be disassembled/reassembled in less than 2 hours – which makes transporting the Dragonfly a breeze. But don’t be fooled by the low vehicle weight – the dragonfly can lift a hefty 800lbs. At $120,000, the Dragonfly may be a little heavy on the budget, but it is clear that Avimech has done their homework and have produced a stellar machine (to Mil Specs, by the way).
Check out Avimech’s webiste here for more information: http://avimech.com/index.html
Up next in the Personal Helicopter Market Round-up: Mosquito Helicopters.