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DUBAI: Quest for a new generation helicopter

Start-up Quest Helicopters has unveiled plans to develop and manufacture helicopters in the UAE emirate Umm Al Quwain.

Ukraine's Volodymyr Udovenko of Aerovortex has designed the helicopter, which will be powered by a new series of Progress DB/Motor Sich Ukraine Al-450M FADEC engines. The company hopes to build a production facility by 2014, and manufacture up to 20 helicopters a year.

"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 ejectable crew and passenger safety capsule cabin, and a telemetry downlink maintenance monitoring system," said Quest Helicopters.

Quest Helicopter, Billypix

 © Billypix

The primary investors are Quest Investment, the holding company of the UAE's al-Ansari family who have pledged $50 million towards the project.

The initial four-seat model will be priced at $2.95 million, have a range of 435nm (800km), a maximum speed of 185mph (298kmh), and a maximum endurance of 3.6h hours. The maximum take-off weight will be 2,250kg (4,960lb).

Quest is targeting markets such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, China, India and Africa. The helicopters can be deployed in VIP, police, emergency medical service, surveillance and utility missions, said the company. At the show, the company is displaying a full-size mock-up of the VIP variant (static P11), which has an interior designed by UK firm Design Q and a prototype of the capsule cabin.

"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 of the west, as well as adding some exciting commercial enhancements," said commercial director Mike Creed.

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