Composites-intensive helicopter makes commercial debut

The newest model from Safari Helicopters includes an all-composite freestanding tail boom and other composite parts built by Carbon Fiber Composites Inc.


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Safari composite helicopter

Source | RCBI


A composite-intensive helicopter, developed by a collaboration between Carbon Fiber Composites Inc. (Ona, W.Va., U.S.), Safari Helicopters (Marianna, Fla., U.S.) and the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University (Huntington, W.Va., U.S.), is now commercially available and has made its first sales.

“What makes the Safari helicopter different is it is composed almost entirely of composite materials and is one of the only helicopters on the market to utilize an entirely composite freestanding tail boom, which allows for simpler and less expensive repairs,” says Brian Alley, owner of Carbon Fiber Composites.

The Safari helicopter made its debut at the 2018 Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture, the world’s largest annual convention for aviation enthusiasts that takes place in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The company’s team returned to Oshkosh this year to demonstrate the aircraft’s capabilities by providing rides for convention participants and potential buyers. Carbon Fiber Composites is now manufacturing all of the composite components entirely in West Virginia to fulfill orders for the new aircraft.

“This new aircraft is an example of a company identifying a niche market and taking advantage of RCBI’s resources to grow its business,” says Charlotte Weber, RCBI’s director and CEO. “From our startup support, to design engineering prototypes to manufacturing assistance, RCBI has been helping to build and diversify West Virginia’s economy for 30 years by supporting businesses like Carbon Fiber.”