Flight test and technical report on Aerokopter s AK1-3 helicopter

Document Sample
Flight test and technical report on Aerokopter s AK1-3 helicopter Powered By Docstoc
					                                  SA Flyer magazine                                 (March 2006 issue)
                                          Corrected and updated 2008
  Flight test and technical report of Aerokopter’s AK1-3 SANKA helicopter.
After my initial visit to Aerokopter in June 2005 to test fly their pre-production helicopter, I revisited the
plant again with Mr. George Snyman of Nelspriut in late November to view and fly one of the first
helicopters off the production-line. George, a seasoned helicopter pilot with many flying hours is also a
qualified helicopter technician and was looking for a replacement helicopter after selling his beautifully
finished Rotorway 162F. George has also previously owned a four place Hiller, R44 and Hughes 300 C.
 I found the Ukraine a country of contrasts. Observing the farmland over France and Germany, the
patchwork of small farms looks like a quilt in stark contrast to the enormous farm fields of the Ukraine.
Where the Europeans would measure in hectares the Ukrainians would measure in square kilometers.
Arriving at Kiev, the capital city’s Borispil airport, which is about the size of Durban airport, I caught a
connecting flight to the city of Kharkov in east Ukraine. (Due to a last minute visa problem, George only
arrived two days after me.) This city of some 2 million inhabitants has a very small airport. The small
passenger terminal building, which I had completely missed on my first trip, is only used for departure.
Arriving passengers walk off the plane, collect their luggage from a hand pushed trolley, walk through a
steel door in the “airport” perimeter wall and into the parking lot, where I met my contact and interpreter
Mr. Alex Miroshnichenko. The roads in and around Kharkov are not in a very good state but the many
public gardens in the city center are very nice and meticulously kept. It is true, the women in Ukraine are
mostly very beautiful, and no, I had not been away from home long. The people are very polite and
friendly and there are many new opportunities opening up in that country for bold entrepreneurs. The
worst part of Ukraine for me was my inability to speak or understand Ukrainian or Russian and to top it
all, their Cyrillic alphabet is different to ours. Later, when returning via Germany I already felt I could
half understand German just because I could read it, even though I don’t understand German either.

The Aerokopter factory is located in Poltava some 130 km from Kharkov. This town of some 300,000
inhabitants looked rather depressing and run down, made worse by grey skies and rain when I arrived.
The Aerokopter factory is situated in a narrow suburban street and these streets have not seen road
maintenance by the impoverished local council since they were built a long time ago. I. E. large potholes
every where. There were no road name signs or traffic signs visible, so an English speaking tourist with a
road map would have no chance of finding their way.

The factory itself consists of several separate old looking warehouse type buildings in different stages of
renovation, around a large open yard. My thoughts on arrival at Aerokopter the first time were, “Why
have we stopped here? They couldn’t be building any helicopters here!” Well they were!

Stepping inside the first building through a solid steel door, and up narrow concrete stairs we were led to
the managing director’s office and introduced to Igor Polituchiy, himself a helicopter pilot and major
shareholder of Aerokopter.
With introductions and pleasantries done via Alex translating, Alex and I then started on my tour of the
factory.
Inside, the various areas containing the different manufacturing departments were in stark contrast to the
dreary outside. With building renovations still underway, most rooms had been completed and were
clean, bright, and very neat inside. This same contrast we experienced at the flats that George and I
stayed in during our visit. Old and decrepit on the outside, but superb and modern inside. A strange type
of property sectional title exists, where the state still owned the building structure and common areas, but
the individual flats were owned privately.

The design office is equipped with numerous PC’s and the staff were busy manipulating drawings on
CAD type software. A small demonstration by one operator showed a complete helicopter on the screen,
then removing pieces on the PC and zooming in, till we were down to minute detailing on one selected
part deep inside the helicopter. Quite amazing to see! But that was only the beginning. Each of the
components that would require machining in their manufacture is linked to further software that
calculates and plots the tool paths of some of the various machining centers in the machine shop. These

                                                                                                              1
computer numeric controlled (CNC) machines then physically cut the 2 or 3D shapes out of the various
solid materials. This Computer Aided Machining (CAM) is a modern high tech manufacturing strategy
that has allowed relatively quick development of the helicopter allowing for rapid implementation of
design changes and quick manufacturing of new parts.
This type of manufacturing infrastructure is not usually cheap to set up, but allows a consistently high
quality of machining to within very small tolerances.
Aerokopter have utilized this strategy to the maximum by machining hundreds of different components
from solid billet raw material. The quality of fit and finish of all these components is outstanding! There
are no castings used in the production of the Ak1-3 Sanka, even the large main rotor gearbox casings are
machined from solid bars of aluminium alloy.




Clearly, Aerokopter had focused their limited capital resources in the right areas of the business to
develop an excellent quality product and chose good manufacturing capabilities rather than glitzy offices
to start with.

The brightly lit machine shop itself occupied the largest space of the entire plant which currently
occupies over 1200 square meters and growing. The selection of different types of machining centers
although relatively old is enough to make a toolmaker’s heart fill with joy and some two thirds of the
helicopters components are manufactured in house.

The small welding department is dominated by a robust looking welding jig in which an air frame was in
the process of being welded. The quality of the welding is superb. The exhaust system, lower skid leg
attachments as well as the Titanium-tube seat frames are welded here. The small air frame is made from
chrome alloy tubing and is triangulated in design for maximum rigidity. The Skid legs are made of 51mm
Titanium tubing and are attached to the air frame by semi circular clamps with a rubber bush insulators.
The lower skid foot then holds the 60 mm diameter Duralumin skids to the Titanium legs.

The blade making department had several long blade moulds in various stages of rotor blade production.
The composite main rotor blades are constructed from three main elements. First a rectangular shaped
spar is created from composites. This spar is then cured in its electrically heated mould. This high tensile
spar is then placed into the blade mould where shaped lead weights are placed along the outboard front
leading edge together with Rohacell foam trailing edge inserts. This whole assembly is then skinned in
composite material and cured. Stainless steel bushes at attachment points and the leading edge wear strip
is applied once the blades have been cleaned and painted. The tail rotor blades are also made of
composite material and Rohacell foam. Each main rotor blade has a non linear twist of 9.5º and a
variable profile and thickness along its length. The quality of finish was excellent. These blades have no
life limit and are only replaced on condition.



                                                                                                          2
The Instrument pedestal, tailboom, horizontal and vertical stabilizers was assembled in the sheet metal
room. The tailboom assembly including the stabilizers is made of formed and riveted sheet metal sections
and during construction a large assembly jig is used for proper alignment of all parts. Inside the tailboom
are 3 x CNC machined internal ribs, equally spaced to carry the tail rotor shaft support bearings. Even the
internal ribs for the stabilizers have been CNC machined from solid aluminium and all rivets are solid, no
pop rivets. Only close up photos will do justice and show the overall quality of this tail section.




The cabin structure including door frames are made from a composite material. The composite fuel tank
is made from sections bonded together. It incorporates brass fittings for the fuel filler cap, fuel drain
valves on each side and the fuel level sensor attachment point. The cabin floor is unusual and consists of


                                                                                                             3
two components, a 16mm plywood and foam floor and supported by a triangulated aluminium sub-frame
below, that attaches to the steel airframe. The cabin floor is made by machining out different sized
squares from the plywood so as to leave a light wooden grid to which other parts will be bolted to. All the
machined out wooden areas are then filled with foam inserts to replace the wood removed. Then a skin of
composite cloth is applied to both sides. The result is a very light and riged floor with the wooden grid
matching the aluminium frame below where they are joined.

The gearboxes and swash plate are assembled in a clean room that also stores the components for their
assembly. The heavy duty drive line components are out sourced from specialist aeronautical
manufacturing companies. These include the steel alloy rotor head components, Main rotor blade holders,
Main and tail rotor transmission gear sets, V-belt reduction drive shafts, sprag clutch and main and tail
rotor shafts. Each of these components had serial numbered tags attached to them with component
documentation, which I presume was a necessity for obtaining type certification in the Ukraine. The
heavy duty hardened and precision ground steel spiral beveled gear sets are very beefy indeed and would
do proud inside a large truck differential. From my intuitive mechanical perception, it appeared that all
the propulsion driveline components looked over-engineered and should last a very long time. Both main
and tail rotor transmissions have a large oil level sight glass and magnetic screw plugs (not chip
detectors). The main transmission also has a temperature sensor.




                                                                                                         4
Another interesting aspect of the Main rotor transmission and pulley reduction drive system, is that it
does double duty as part of the airframe structure, thus reducing the actual airframe size and weight. This
concept is used very successfully on motorcycles and in Formulae-1 where the engine and gearbox forms
part of the frame.

While the largest and main assembly hangar was still being renovated, a smaller “show room” stored the
complete and painted subassemblies and doubled as an assembly area. Here, there was an unpainted
assembled sample of the flight control system that I could inspect in detail. The amount of detailed
machining of the control system is amazing. Even the most mundane little re-enforcing brackets used in
this assembly are CNC machined from solid stock, including all bolts made of Titanium. Overall the
controls look robust and every part that moves or rotates is fitted with sealed bearings and locked with
either castle nuts and split pins or safety wired where needed. There are adjustable frictions for both
cyclic and collective controls. The Collective lever has an interesting mechanical mechanism below the
floor that keeps the lever in the down position via a spring loaded override arm, but when you lift it a few
centimeters up, it becomes light and with a little friction applied will remain in what ever position you
leave it in, but still easily moved if need be, thus making longer flights less tiresome on your left arm.

It had stopped raining by now and Alex called me out to the yard where the demonstration helicopter
with Victor Tomilin the pilot and company director was waiting for me. The demonstration helicopter is
the second prototype and their pre-production craft . This helicopter was being used for type certification
and has been flying for two years. This demo craft had additional measuring equipment installed on
board to measure control inputs and loading. It also had its vertical and horizontal stabilizers removed
and in its mounting point a control measuring devise was fitted. The production helicopter was will little
changed mechanically from this demonstrator, testament to good design know how by getting it right first
time. The result is a helicopter with a empty weight of 410 kg.
 Approaching the helicopter from thirty meters away there was no sound, yet the rotors were turning and
I thought the engine had been switched off, but as I approached, I realized it was idling very quietly.
With Victor as instructor and pilot in command in the left seat, I climbed in on the right. Getting into
most small helicopters is usually a bit awkward and the AK1-3 Sanka was no different to a Schweitzer /
Hughes 269C. There is a beautifully machined Duralumin foot peg on each front skid leg to ease
climbing in. The trick is to first place your butt on the seat, then swivel your legs in with one leg
swinging over the cyclic control. Whew!
                                             Relative size of cabin




                                                                                                          5
                                      Plenty of head and elbow room.




                                     Very similar to Schweitzer 269C

The cabin is very spacious and the width at the elbows is similar to that of the Schweitzer 269C at 1353
mm. I am 1.81 meters tall and there was still a good 100mm headroom clearance with me seated. The
aluminium anti torque foot pedals were positioned just right for me. The pedals are not adjustable for
reach, but the seats can be adjusted to three positions by unfastening and refastening the four the hold-
down bolts. The pedals, collective and cyclic controls are virtually the same as on the Schweitzer.
The instrument consul holds three separate panels one above the other at varying angles going down.
There is enough space for a good panel layout spread over these separate panels, including radio,
transponder(if required), switches and the like. The cabin interior is smart and neat, with colour-
coordinated comfortable seats with four point harness’s. The top instrument panel was fitted with, 10
warning lights, an altimeter, vertical and airspeed indicator (VSI &ASI), artificial horizon, a blade pitch
indicator, balance ball and a rotor and engine rpm gauge. There was no manifold air pressure (MAP)

                                                                                                              6
gauge, but this will be fitted into the blank space provided for SA models. The rotor and engine rpm
gauge was very unusual and I was very skeptical when I first saw it. It consisted of two parallel vertical
columns of different coloured lights, one column for rotor rpm and the other for engine rpm. Each
column had three lower red lights, three amber, six green, three amber and three upper red lights. The
individual lights lit up indicating the respective rpm’s and move up and down the column as rpm’s
increase or decrease. Beam me up Scotty! Incredibly, they were very effective in use and I would not
change them for the more conventional instruments. The green light was easily visible out of the corner
of your eye while flying. The rotor rpm lights are driven via a magnetic pick-up mounted on the front end
of the tail rotor drive shaft and is independent of any external electrical power source. The blade pitch
gauge which consists of a horizontal row of coloured lights, I never got to interpret or understand
properly in the time that I flew.
The rest of the panels housed the switches, engine oil and water temperature gauges, fuel gauge, Microair
760 radio/com and the cabin heat and ventilation control system. The cabin heat system will be left out
for S.A. thus saving 7 kg of weight and replaced with circular vents in the doors. The final layout of the
central panel was still to be finalised for S.A. at the time of my visit.
Buckled up and engine warm it was time to lift off and try this craft. I did not check the elevation at
Poltava, but the whole country is very flat and below 500 ft according to my world atlas. The outside air
temp was 17 C and it had started to rain lightly again.
With me following on the controls, Victor brought up the rotor rpm to the middle of the “green” (lights)
and then slowly raised the collective without seeming to make further throttle adjustments, lifting into the
hover and using a fair amount of right pedal to hold our heading. The helicopter in the hover is pretty
smooth and confidence inspiring. Victor then performed rapid pedal turns to the left, then right to
demonstrate tail rotor authority, which was impressive in both directions. I have flown the last 380 +
hours in my CH-7 Kompress kit helicopter and have become used to its very sensitive pedals, where you
only have to think about a turn and that is sufficient pedal movement, so here I had to quickly readjust to
the longer pedal travel as in the Schweitzer that I had done my training in. Next we lifted to
approximately 30 feet and Victor performed tight fast circuits in the yard between the buildings –
backwards! Then back down to the hover and a power climb out of the yard and over the suburban
houses at 300 ft heading towards the open farmland nearby. They don’t seem to have the same rules of
the air as we do and height above built up areas does not seem to apply there. The only rule that we stuck
religiously to was a maximum height restriction of 1000 ft (300m) above ground level imposed by the
military airfield situated close by. Clear of houses Victor handed over control and I immediately started
drifting to the left and porpoising slightly. Gee this was difficult to fly! I can’t be so bad at flying? After a
couple of minutes I had it figured out and readjusted my brain to the clockwise rotating rotors.
Thereafter, straight and level flight at varying speeds was easy to maintain even without any stabilizers
fitted. The helicopter seemed to slip through the air easily and was very comfortable and smooth at its 85
knot cruising speed. I then handed back to Victor to take it to maximum level flight speed and 102 knot
Vne, which he duly performed with no fuss at all. I then tried the same and it was no problem getting to
100 knots. There was no shaking or increased vibration and it did not feel like we were pushing the
machine at all, in fact the only indicators were more collective and more forward cyclic stick. I did start
to miss the MAP gauge at this point as I had no sense of power measurement. Then slowing down again
to different speeds, I tried to fathom what the blade pitch indicator was telling me, but I gave up after a
while. Next I gently lowered collective and started a long approach for a landing on a field, slowly
reducing airspeed until we came to a hover. The pre-production helicopter had no governor but the
correlation between collective and throttle is good and needs very little pilot adjustment to keep the rpm’s
in the wide green band. The production helicopters have the option of a governor, utilising the Subaru
“cruise-control” system. This is turned on and off by a push-button and the rotor/engine rpm can be
adjusted up or down via a coolie-hat switch, both of which are mounted on the cyclic stick grip and easy
to use.
My first hover with the Sanka was no problem, but I still had to get used to the right pedal forward travel
required to hold our heading. Next I performed some square bashing exercise, hovering sideways
forwards, backwards with some spot turns thrown in and although my sideways flight was a little wobbly
I have no doubt that with a couple of hours on the machine I would get it significantly better. After
several minutes of witnessing this feeble performance, Victor took control and again performed some
more demanding maneuvers to demonstrate its true abilities. First side ways flight in a circular pattern
using a point approx 5 meters ahead as the center, at ever increasing speed while simultaneously gaining

                                                                                                               7
a nose down attitude, then using the tail rotor as the center we rotated with a nose up attitude, some more
high speed backwards flight and followed by pirouette turns down the field. OK, I was not going to try
all that but it could be done by some one with only 3000 thousand hours experience!
After some 10 minutes of hover exercises, I checked the gearbox and engine temperatures and noted that
they were still nice and cool, bearing in mind that it had been raining all this time.
Next I performed a few short circuits around this large field with landings and take offs to assimilate
myself more with the helicopter behavior and control coordination. There is no carburetor-heat to worry
about, as the engine is fuel injected. Happy with that, I then checked the rate of climb with two 80 kg
persons and approx 35 kg (2/3rd’s) fuel remaining. From the hover I moved forward to the best rate of
climb speed of 45 knots and started the climb with an eye on the VSI, slowly pulling collective up.
Without the MAP I was unaware how far I could pull up before the rotor rpm would start to decay, but at
approx 1,300ft/min (6.5m/s) Victor intervened and pulled the collective up till the VSI indicated just over
9 m/s (1800 ft/m) with no sign of rotor rpm decay or able to determine if we were at full power. It was all
over in a few seconds as we quickly reached the 300 m ceiling. Wow! Very impressive! I estimate that
we were some 45kg below the maximum “normal” gross weight of 650 kg, so the maximum rate of
climb of 8.2 m/s (1600 ft/min) quoted in the performance graphs seems achievable. I say “normal”
because the Sanka is designed to operate at a higher gross weight of 740 kg with the optional crop
spraying option installed. This optional equipment is still undergoing durability field trails, but when
installed, is positioned so as to maintain the helicopters center of gravity within limits.
Now at 1,000 ft above ground, Victor demonstrated an autorotation at its lowest rate of decent speed of
45 knots with the “lights” split (engine at idle). I followed on the controls and monitored the rate of
decent at 9 m/s (1800 ft/min) on the VSI, while Victor adjusted the collective to maintain rotor rpm in
the green, then ending with a short flare and power recovery. Certainly good enough to get you to the
ground safely in the event of an engine failure.
Next was a slope landing near a river bank and this was done with no problem. The cyclic control on the
Sanka has about the same sensitivity as R22 that I remember from the distant past.
During forward flight the cyclic stick forces remain very light and I suffered no fatigue to my right arm
during this 35 minute test flight. There is no cyclic trim adjustment on the Sanka, and only on much
longer flights would one be able to determine if a lateral trim was necessary. I did check for the
possibility of eventually fitting an electric trim system myself afterwards and this seemed a fairly simple
add-on and there was plenty of space below for its installation.
The rain really started pelting down now and the last exercise I wanted to perform before heading back
was an accurate spot landing as for trailer landings. I selected a narrow dirt track ahead with a pothole as
a marker and without difficulty landed nicely on the selected spot. After 30 minutes of flying this craft I
would have very confidently landed it on my helicopter trailer back home.
After a five minute flight back ending with a steep decent into the factory yard, Victor switched off the
engine without a cooling down period as engine temperature was cool already, then disengaged the clutch
which takes approximately one minute. There is no rotor brake on the Sanka so it takes a while for the
rotors to stop completely. Like a small boy exited after a ride on a new toy, I realized I had discovered a
gem! I had to have one of these.
The next day I toured the central city streets of Kharkov on foot to get a better snapshot of daily life in
the Ukraine and to allow the previous days excitement to settle. The following day I had planned a
second test flight to verify that that my first flight assessment was not distorted by my own excitement.
Bright sunshine greeted us the next morning and this time I was to fly with company test pilot Nickolay
Morgoon with some 12,000 + flight hours. Start procedure was straight forward with master and
ingnition switches on, a press on the push-button starter situated on the cyclic grip, and the water cooled
EJ 2.5 Subaru fired up instantly. No priming, choking or fiddling with mixture levers required. Why can’t
they make certified aircraft engines that start as easily? Clutch switch on and within a few seconds the
rotors started to turn. The electric clutch tensioning devise is robust looking and tensions the primary
reduction pulley V-belts to a pre set tension. The demonstrator Sanka had 7 narrow standard cord V-
belts, but production units have 6 broader Kevlar reinforced V-belts with much longer times between
replacements.
It took about 3 to 4 minutes to warn up the engine, then we lifted off to perform a hovering autorotation
so as to check rotor blade inertia. At about 5 to 6 feet skid height Nickolay chopped the throttle and we
settled down with a solid thump that I think would have splayed the skid legs on my Kompress, but with
no apparent harm to this helicopter. I would rate the inertia in the disc on the light-ish side. No hovering

                                                                                                          8
for 3 + seconds available here! Heading out towards the open farm lands again I took control and
performed some steep turns left and right with out excessive vibration or shaking. I had not been
imagining, this helicopter was indeed smooth. Down to the hover, I tested engine recovery from low
rotor rpm and intentionally allowed the rpm to drop to the low amber lights then twisted the throttle and
the response was an immediate rotor rpm recovery! The smooth free spinning Subaru engine had plenty
of spare power and in the hover was quieter than the R22 and Schweitzer when standing outside as an
observer. The rotor rpm green band is from 505 to 565 rpm and the amber bands increase this from 465
to 600 rpm. After 30 more minutes of various flight maneuvers, I had reassured myself of my first
assessment and we headed back. I had not imagined it, it was indeed a nice helicopter.
                         Four-up at 750 kg gross weight on a cold winter day!




The rotor head needs special mention as it is a very unusual design for such a small light weight
helicopter. I had not seen a Laminated Blade Retention System before and have since discovered that it
is also used on the Apache Longbow attack helicopter which I saw at the Paris air show. I have also been
told that this system is used on the Russian Black Shark attack helicopter and on some Mc Donald
Douglas helicopter models. The system principal and structural elements are very simple, but the
mathematical number crunching to determine the shape thickness and material of the metal laminates is
very complex and high tech. The Sanka’s main rotor system is comprised of three torsion bars, each
made from a stack of special steel plates. These torsion bars are flexible up and down, can twist easily
and replace the more conventional but bulky and heavy lead-lag, flapping and feathering hinges. The best
comparison is a stack of engine feeler gauges that also bend and twist easily. The torsion bars connect
the blade grips to the rotor hub. The major advantages are mechanical simplicity, massive weight
savings, ease of inspection and no maintenance servicing. These torsion bars are non-serviceable items
and are replaced “ON condition”. To reduce weight, the large diameter blade pitch torque-tubes are made
of composite material and have two large inspection holes on each side for easy pre flight checks of the
torsion bars. The replacement of these torsion bars does not appear very difficult to perform.




                                                                                                            9
The three blades can be removed or installed in less than 5 minutes with two persons. I witnessed this
myself. The Sanka is ideal for towing behind a car on a light trailer with its blades removed, as was
demonstrated to me on a 450 km drive to the Kiev air show with a small 1.2 L car towing on not very
smooth roads.
Servicing of the engine is very simple indeed, as all items are exposed and easily accessible.
Even the engine is very easily removed for overhaul, as there are only three engine mount bolts to
remove, the flexible coupling, radiator hoses and a couple of wires to disconnect and out it comes.
Airframe servicing too is relatively simple, again as all items are very easily accessible.
So how does Aerokopter’s Sanka compare against the popular light piston engine helicopter
competition? I have compiled a comparative table from information available.
I was unable to verify the actual IGE and OGE hover performance due to the 1000’ ceiling restriction
imposed. I therefore quote the Sanka’s and the competitors hover performance from their respective
flight characteristics performance graphs.

 Updated graph- 2008               RotorWay        R22     Schweitzer     Sanka      Schweitzer
                                     162F        Beta II     300CB        AK1-3        300C
 Seats                                 2            2           2            2           3
 Passenger payload kg                 180          181         211          186         271
 Cabin width m                       1,100        1,100       1295         1,353       1,295
 Operating weight kg                  682          622         795          650         865
 Empty weight kg                      454          388         495          410         510
 Standard Fuel load kg (L)          48 (64)      53 (72)    89 (121)      53 (72)     84 (114)
 Max. level speed at SL. Knots        100          102         84            97          84
 Cruise speed knots                    83           96         80            85          80
 Vne knots                            100          102         94            97         100

                                                                                                         10
 Max. range km                         290           330         354           320          375
 Max. rate of climb at SL ft/min      1000         1000+        1250          1600          990
 OGE hover ceiling                    5000          6500        4800          5000         5400
 IGE hover ceiling                    7000          9500        7000          7000         7900
 Engine power (Standard)               150         131**         180           156          190
 Kg / hp at sea level with two
 90 kg persons and full fuel           4.55         4.73        4.23          4.16         4.07


Only founded in 1999, Aerokopter is a young company that has just recently completed the development
of the Sanka helicopter and is now undergoing the long bureaucratic process of getting type certification
in the Ukraine. It appears that in the Ukraine, type certification for a complete aircraft can be obtained
with its installed engine, unlike many western counties where the engine has to be type certified
separately. Therefore the AK1-3 Sanka with the non-type certified Japanese manufactured Subaru petrol
engine will be imported to S.A. as a “factory built kit helicopter” under the ZU registration. The
advantages with ZU registered aircraft is that you are allowed to service and maintain the helicopter
yourself if you wish, to keep operating costs down. The down side is that you may not use it
commercially for carrying fare paying passengers. The Sanka has no calendar time limit before overhaul
and will not have to be shipped back to the manufacturer for an overhaul after 2,000 flight hours, as this
can be done by our local approved maintenance organizations (AMO). Because the helicopter is still a
new aircraft, there is as yet insufficient history to calculate accurately the direct operating costs over a
long period.
Pilot-production of 5 helicopters started in 2005 for first delivery to Ukraine customers. Production for
2006 is set at only 10 helicopters, of which five are destined for S.A. After assembly, each helicopter is
test flown for a couple of hours to ensure that all is working properly before delivery to client.
Aerokopter currently do not accept payment via letters of credit, as they literally use client pre-payments
to manufacture their client’s helicopter.
The factory offers a 1 year or 100 hour guarantee on airframe parts only.
And what did George think about this helicopter? “Wunderbar”! He has ordered a yellow one!

              Black machine about to start up for a demo with client. …..Nice weather!




                                                                                                          11
A red helicopter about to be shipped to a lucky customer.




                                                            12