The new Zefhir helicopter, a product of Curti Aerospace in Italy, was recently publicly unveiled in Germany. Curti began designing the aircraft in an effort to renew the small rotorcraft segment with a new two-seater helicopter. The project was granted regional and European funding when launched in collaboration with PBS Velká Bíteš in 2013 and the aircraft took its first maiden flight last year.
It is currently the only helicopter to be equipped with a ballistic parachute, which is located above the main rotor. According to Curti Aerospace, the parachute was designed as a back-up in “the unlikely condition that the autorotation maneuver is not possible, due to technical problems, inexperience of the pilot or unfavorable environmental conditions.”
The helicopter features a turboshaft with Fadec, glass cockpit, and composite materials. Claudia Curti, president of Curti Aerospace, said, “Zefhir is the perfect synthesis between intuition and competence. Zefhir’s airframe is made entirely of composites. This choice maximizes lightness and optimizes the shape from both the aerodynamic and the design points of view. The main and tail rotor blades are also made of composites, using technology acquired by the leading European experts in the sector.”
Curti said that in light of new European regulations that will raise the takeoff weight limit to 600 kg/1,323 pounds, the process to obtain approval as an ultralight is under way. The approval would allow for the Zefhir to be used in applications in Germany and any country that recognizes the German ultralight certification.
“This project stems from the team passion that managed to put together this jewel in a short time. Our expertise as a supplier for AgustaWestland was key. So was our attention to technology, advanced mechanics, and electronics, which is a specialty of our region and its well-known Motor Valley district,” said Alessandro Curti, CEO of Curti.