Helips Plans New Light Helo Family

 - December 19, 2007, 6:06 AM

Swiss start-up company Helips is striving to raise funds that would allow full program launch for a family of three- to five-seat, diesel-powered helicopters.

René Mouille, formerly director of Eurocopter’s design bureau, is the designer of the Helips concept. The company would develop seven versions of its diesel-powered helicopter. Variants would include a tandem two-seat trainer, an unmanned version, an EMS version and a four-seat VIP version.

The company is considering three engines to power the three-blade rotor: the SMA SR305, a model by German-based Zoche and a Swiss Wankel-type Mistral. All are diesel engines and should, sooner or later, meet Helips’ requirement for 300 hp. “We can easily start with 230 hp,” Philippe Petitpierre, the founder of the company, told AIN.

Petitpierre said his company is months away from finalizing negotiations with investors. “We need $36 million to fly the prototypes, gain certification and get initial production tooling,” he told AIN. From program launch, Helips plans to fly the first aircraft in 18 months and start production 18 months later. Target production rate is 150 aircraft per year after three years of operation.