Quest Helicopters, a new name in aerospace, helicopter design and technology, launches today (13 November) at the Dubai Air Show. The privately-owned company, headquartered in Dubai, UAE, is announcing plans to fund, develop, define and refine new technology for a family of innovative new light twin engine and twin rotor system helicopters.
Originally Dubbed “Project Q,” the QUEST AVQ series will be the first civil helicopters to be assembled and manufactured in Umm Al Quwain in the UAE and will incorporate a number of innovative features, including a unique passenger and crew safety system. Quest has found a suitable plot of land in Umm Al Quwain, UAE where it will build a comprehensive assembly and production facility in the UAE, as it aims to commence initial production in 2014.
These “clean sheet” prototype helicopters, have been designed by Volodymyr Udovenko and will feature a new series of engines with FADEC built in the Ukraine. The long life airframes have been engineered for robust operations, and feature a raft of ‘cutting edge’ technologies. These include an all-new primary “fly-by-wire” control system, a distinctive eject-able crew and passenger safety capsule cabin and a “telemetry downlink” maintenance monitoring system.
The UAE principals and investors in Quest Helicopters, a subsidiary of Quest Investments, have pledged an initial investment of up to US$50 million in the initial programme. Quest’s investment lends support to further develop the expertise of design bureau chief, Vlodomyr Udovenko, overseen by the Ukraine’s Academy of science and technology.
Quest’s project is expected to generate new jobs in the UAE from the end of 2012. Collaboration on the project has been further bolstered by a proposed bilateral agreement between EASA and the Ukraine’s Civil Aviation Authority enabling the new helicopters to be built with joint cooperation and a parallel certification program. The helicopters will be powered by new technology engines from aviation manufacturers Progress DB/ Motor sich Ukraine, 2 x AI-450 M turbines with FADEC, delivering up to 465 shaft horse power (shp) per engine.
Additionally, Quest Investments, a subsidiary of the Quest Group has recently signed an MOU between Ukraine’s Academy of Science and Abu Dhabi’s Higher College of Technology and Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training, to invest and develop specialist research into health, climate & other technological advancements.
The initial four-seat model, which is highly competitively priced at US$2.95 million will have a range of 435 nm (700 kms), a maximum speed of 185 mph (295 kph), and a maximum endurance of 3.6 hours. The Helicopters’ maximum take-off weight will be 4,960lbs (2,250 kgs) and empty weight will be 1,300 kgs.
New technology features include:
- Fly by wire primary control system.
- Eject-able crew and passenger capsule cabin.
- “In Tandem” Counter rotating dual rotor system.
- Touchscreen Cockpit Avionics.
- Unique Pro-active “Real time” Maintenance Monitoring System utilizing telemetry downlinks.
- No vulnerable tail rotor system.
Quest Helicopters has identified a niche sales market for the new helicopters providing a key differentiator over other OEMs. Primary markets include the UAE, Saudi Arabia, China, Africa and India. Quest is envisaging ‘”multi role” mission capability – including VIP, Police, EMS, Surveillance and Utility applications.
“Design Q” VIP interior on show In its 300 sqm Pavilion 11 at the Dubai Show Aircraft static park this week:
Quest Helicopters is exhibiting a full size mock-up “Quest AVQ” helicopter with a VIP luxury interior designed by British company “Design Q”, together with an actual prototype production capsule cabin. The “in Pavilion” display extends to a large screen simulator which utilizes re-active visual control impulses generated through the primary cockpit controls to create the “Quest AVQ” Helicopter experience”. A large screen video-loop will also play highlighting the unique capsule cabin safety ejection system.
Chief designer Volodomyr Udvenko comments: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to realise my dream with the Quest AVQ series of helicopters which will be utilising and incorporating unique technology in primary control and safety systems. Our initial prototype helicopter will be defining the technology as a test airframe and we expect the final production models to reflect many refinements in look and systems. If it were not for the vision of Quest’s Chairman Mahmood Al Ansari and his board of directors we would not have the funding to develop this new technology.”
Commercial & Deputy Project Director Mike Creed adds: “With this new family of helicopters we are pursuing a niche market with a design that combines the technological advances of the east, with many innovative refinements from the west as well as adding some exciting commercial enhancements. The result is “Quest’s AVQ” series of light twin engine Helicopters which offer a low acquisition cost, robust airframe with “cutting edge” new technology, low maintenance together with low operational costs.”
The goal is to produce 20 aircraft in the first year of production, rising to 40 in the third year, working toward a five-year initial plan to certification and production.
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