Ever fantasized about owning your own personal helicopter? That fantasy may soon be possible and very real thanks to the HeliWhale Afalina. The Russian helicopter manufacturer is about to fulfill your fantasy of an affordable helicopter. Their pride, the Afalina rotorcraft, is expected to cost about half as much as what is currently the cheapest helicopter on the market. It is designed to run on car fuel, and its production started in early 2016.
The Siberian city of Kemerovo is home to the HeliWhale company. The Siberian based company revealed its unique helicopter at the HeliRussia 2015 exhibition show, which took place in Moscow.
The HeliWhale Afalina helicopter is designed as an ultra-light, coaxial two-seater. The word Afalina stands for the Russian word for the bottlenose dolphin, with the rotorcraft’s hull resembling the shape of the marine mammal’s body.
HeliWhale Afalina is designed as a lightweight multipurpose helicopter. It has capabilities to perform a variety of tasks. It can be used for training of pilots, maintenance of pipelines and power lines, aerial surveillance, police patrolling, transportation of personnel, farm work and recreational flights, and as we already said it will be the cheapest solution on the market. So basically you may own it like you own the regular car.
One of the HeliWhale Afalina’s key features is the customizable Enigma system. The Enigma system allows the pilot to pick and choose his cockpit display layout from hundreds of devices and functions.
The coaxial positioning of rotors used in the Afalina helicopter ensures that it is easier to pilot, generates less noise while in operation, and is highly resistant to lateral wind gusts.
Officials from the HeliWhale company said that the patented new control system of coaxial rotors also provides the helicopter with a maximum velocity of up to 250 kilometers per hour, and that should be enough for a full helicopter experience.
The Afalina helicopter, weighing only 270 kilograms, is capable of carrying a payload of 180 kilograms.
Afalina helicopter can also be refueled with conventional car fuel (95 octanes), with the consumption between 12 and 16 liters (3 to 4 gallons) per hour. In fact, it comes like a flying car.
According to the company, Afalina will cost only $120,000 when comes to serial production and for that price, heating and ventilation systems in the cockpit will be included.
“Today nobody else produces aircraft of this class, even the two-seater ‘Robinson’ is heavier than ‘Afalina’ and is, in fact, a completely different machine,” Jacov Kolesnikov, general director of HeliWhale told Russia and India Report website.
“The American Robinson helicopters are also much more expensive. A two-seat helicopter costs $300,000,” Kolesnikov added.
The Afalina helicopter has been built totally from scratch by the Russian designers and engineers, with HeliWhale producing all the parts itself, except for the engine, which is produced by Rotax in Austria.
“We are looking for domestic engines, and if there is a quality Russian engine, maybe we’ll switch to it,” he said.
Endurance tests for the flying prototype of the rotorcraft are about to begin very shortly. The prototype was shown during the HeliRussia 2017. The HeliWhale will be able to build 10 to 15 machines per year. They are planning to place the Afalina helicopter on the US, Australian, and EU markets. The future is near.