Vertical Aviation Technologies has given its four-place kit helicopter, the Hummingbird, a new look for 2007: a composite carbon-fiber upper fairing that encloses the pylon structure.
Company president Brad Clark said he added the fairing to streamline the look of the helicopter and reduce drag, though he doesn’t expect the change to affect the aircraft’s speed or flight characteristics.
The Sanford, Fla. company is displaying the Hummingbird at Heli-Expo for the first time (Static Display No. 29). Clark said he sold 17 of the kits last year at $138,600 a copy; the engine costs an additional $31,920. Clark also said he has sold 32 of the kits to date and about half of them are completed and flying.
The Hummingbird is the first FAA-certified helicopter to be sold in kit form. Its design is based on the Sikorsky S-52, with stabilizers moved forward on the helicopter’s tail to help it hover more easily. With 950 pounds of useful load, the Hummingbird burns 14 gph from a 57-gallon fuel tank.