Is this the end of the New Zealand helo dream?
As we approach one of the largest commercial helicopter exhibitions of the year, Heli-Expo, sad news has reached the desks of reporters at Shephard Media.
New Zealand-based company, Composite Helicopters, seems to have gone into liquidation with the appearance of assets at online auction.
The Shephard team first met the budding new company at Heli-Expo back in 2015. Speaking to the company’s CEO, Peter Maloney, Composite showcased two aircraft prototypes with its EvoStrength composite technology.
The company displayed a high powered version of its helicopter and an entry level aircraft, the KC630.
Composite has had its fair share of challenges, not least the crash of one of its aircraft in 2014. In a video test pilots Peter Maloney and Norbert Idelon share the experience.
In 2016 a US-based company, Innova Helicopters, acquired the intellectual property rights of the C630 from Composite Helicopters and is now working on the aircraft under the name Innova Helicopters as part of Innova Aerospace.
Innova is still displaying the C630 on its website, designating the aircraft as ‘in development’, and chatter in various aviation forums seems to suggest that the American side of the business, presumably referring to Innova, is going to push forward with the type certification of the aircraft.
We have tried to contact Innova for comment with no success. It also appears that the company will not be exhibiting at this year’s Heli-Expo as they do not show on the current exhibitors’ list.
While the New Zealand helicopter experience may be coming to an end, we could still see a new aircraft enter the market thanks to US-backing. Time will tell.