The lone flying prototype KC518 helicopter made a controlled ditching into Auckland harbor last week following an apparent engine malfunction. The Composite Helicopter Adventourer ditched during a photo mission after the pilot, company CEO Peter Maloney, autorotated into the water following the annunciation of several engine warnings from the helicopter’s Rolls-Royce 250-C18 turboshaft.
Maloney and his passenger escaped unharmed and the company said it plans to continue the helicopter’s development with two more aircraft currently under construction. The flying prototype had accumulated approximately 200 hours before the incident.
The New Zealand company announced the KC518 in 2011 and plans to offer the five- to six-place Kevlar and carbon-fiber helicopter initially as a kit and then as a certified product powered by either a Rolls-Royce RR300 or a de-rated RR500.
Maloney later posted to the company’s Facebook page that the helicopter “performed beautifully” with a “sedate entry into auto[rotation]…Up until now, the helicopter has been flying really well.” He also posted a video of the ditching on YouTube.