1609 Hangar Road    Sanford, Florida 32773        phone-icon.png  (407) 322-9488    fax-icon.png  (407) 330-2647

Hummingbird History

1991-Present

Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. started selling Hummingbirds in 1991. During that time, we were involved in numerous other programs.  Early Hummingbirds were powered by an aluminum block V-8. In 2001, VAT started development on the Fuel Injected Lycoming IVO-435 engine for the Hummingbird helicopter. 

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Hummingbird with the Fuel Injected Lycoming IVO-435 engine

On March 21, 2006, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced that the Hummingbird was certified to fly in the country of Slovenia.  The helicopter was put thru a stringent flight test program.  One flight test required flying to 8600’ through snow covered mountains and another required an endurance flight of one full tank of fuel, which was 3.5 hours non-stop with ½ hour of reserve fuel left over.  Auto-rotations were performed to the ground and included run on landings up to 20 knots.  The chief test pilot was very impressed with the performance demonstrated by the Hummingbird over the 22-hour certification process.

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Hummingbird delivered to Slovenia

In 2006, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. introduced the Quickbuild version of the Hummingbird helicopter.  The Quickbuild version of the Hummingbird covers all the sheet metal and composite work this includes a completed fuselage, with the windshield, nose, instrument console and the doors finished and installed on the cabin, the tail cone installed and the fuselage is sitting on the landing gear.  The Quickbuild kit is accepted meeting the FAA 51% rule.

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Quickbuild Hummingbird

In 2006, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced an optional 4th door for the Hummingbird helicopter.  The cabin section was modified to accept a right rear cabin door.

 In 2007, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced the development of a new fairing for the Hummingbird 260L. The new fairing while pleasing to the eye also became an advantage to the airspeed.  The Hummingbird 260L had an increase in airspeed (Vne) to 120 mph.  The new fairing also reduces fuel consumption, engine oil temperature and eliminated vibration at the tail rotor.  Made from composite materials this new fairing helps quiet the cabin and is standard on all Hummingbird 260L kits.

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Hummingbird with new fairing on display at HAI convention in Orlando, Florida

On August 23, 2007, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced that another Hummingbird had been completed in Tampa, Florida.  The first flight test was done at the Orlando-Sanford International Airport.  With only 50 hours of total flight time, this helicopter later made it's maiden voyage 1,700 miles from Tampa,Florida to Portage, Maine.

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Hummingbird 260L first flight 

On August 13, 2008, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced that another Hummingbird had been completed in South Africa and certified in that country.

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Hummingbird 260L completed in South Africa

On August 27, 2008, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced that another Hummingbird had been completed in New Zealand.

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Hummingbird 260L completed in New Zealand and certified in that country.

On October 27, 2008, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced that another Hummingbird had been completed in China.

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Hummingbird 260L completed in China

 

On February 24, 2009, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced that a customer in Australia had finished their Hummingbird.  When the Hummingbird was finished, they completed all necessary paperwork for Certification of Airworthiness Approval, Maintenance Release and have been approved to fly.  This is the first registered Hummingbird to fly in Australia. 

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Hummingbird 260L completed in Australia receives Certification of Airworthiness Approval

 

On March 24, 2009, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced that the Hummingbird is now on the list of approved Amateur Build Helicopters allowed to be licensed in South Africa.  Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. supplied engineering flight test reports substantiating critical component fatigue lives, etc. approval was granted.

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Hummingbird 260L licensed in South Africa

On April 3, 2009, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced that Transport Canada had signed the exemption request and that  Hummingbirds were cleared to hover in Canada.  Previous regulations restricted Amateur Build helicopters to a gross weight of 1540 lbs. and seat capacity of no more than two people in Canada.  The Hummingbird is a four-passenger helicopter and exceeds that weight.  Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. filed for a weight of 2700 lbs and four-passengers.  Transport Canada decided to remove the gross weight and seat capacity restrictions for not only Amateur Build helicopters but for all Amateur Built aircraft.

On March 24, 2009, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced that a Fuel Injection system is now flying on the Lycoming powered Hummingbirds.  Power has been increased 10 to 15%.  Fuel injection is more efficient than a carburetor in that all cylinders receive even amounts of fuel especially on a vertical opposed engine like the VO-435.   

On April 14, 2009, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced that another Hummingbird had been completed in five months in China.

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Hummingbird 260L completed in five months in China

On September 22, 2009, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced that their customers in Maine had installed floats on his Hummingbird helicopter.

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Hummingbird on Floats

On January 26, 2010, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced that total fleet flight hours had recently surpassed the 100,000 total flight hours flown on all variants of the Hummingbird helicopter.  This includes the original Hummingbird design operated by the U.S. Military and Coast Guard as well as FAA certified commercial models.  This is a tremendous statement in that this design had very few issues and virtually all were eliminated when the engine was changed to the Lycoming.

On January 29, 2010, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced that we had recently made changes to the Lycoming fuel injection system.  A larger modified intake manifold was installed and it made a tremendous difference.  We have achieved a 20% increase in engine power.  Prior maximum manifold pressure was 27.5”, now we are able to obtain 29.9”.  Every 1” of manifold pressure equals to eleven horsepower.  The air filter and inlet were relocated in order to bring in cooler air as well.  Also installed is a purge valve to simplify hot starting of the fuel injection system.

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Hummingbird 260L with fuel injection

On February 12, 2010, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced a gross weight increase that will improve mission capabilities, endurance and performance.  We have finalized a flight test program to increase the Hummingbird helicopter gross weight to 2800 pounds.

In April 2010, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced another option of the Hummingbird helicopter a full glass cockpit electronic flight instrumentation system.  The glass cockpit panel includes all engine monitoring instruments and artificial horizon, turn & bank, vertical speed, airspeed, altimeter, compass and clock.

On May 26, 2010, Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. announced that a Hummingbird was on display at HeliRussia.  This was met with excellent results and a lot of interest.

 

Business practices

Vertical Aviation Technologies, Inc. dealerships have been established in the countries of Brazil, New Zealand, and Russia.

Awards and recognition

 

Current Models