LIHU‘E — Small Business Development Center Director Robbie Melton of Lihu‘e said Avimech International Aircraft is reaching new heights.
The Avimech International Aircraft Inc., of Kapa‘a, has been selected to present at the prestigious NASA iTECH Ignite the Night Aeronautics competition today.
“This is an amazing opportunity for Avimech,” Melton said. “The financial and business potential is great. It demonstrates Kaua‘i has potential for the technology industry.”
Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Cavalcanti of Avimech developed a zero-carbon propulsion technology that uses rockets on the end of helicopter and drone rotor blades instead of conventional fossil fuel or electric engines, Melton said.
Powered by hydrogen peroxide, a renewable fuel source, it is the only helicopter on the market that is capable of putting oxygen back into the air. Avimech helicopters and drones have undertaken over 300 hours of flight testing, passed Federal Aviation Administration requirements, take off in under 30 seconds and can operate in a wide variety of air densities both on Earth and in space.
Chosen as one of 10 innovative companies nationally to compete, Avimech will be up against other entrepreneurs to convince a judging panel of NASA’s Chief Technologists, aviation industry leaders, and potential investors that their technology most demonstrates the potential to transform the way we fly.
At the virtual event, Avimech will “fast pitch” their rocket-on-rotor propulsion technology for helicopters and drones. Created to be fitted to the end of the rotor blades of Avimech’s designed helicopters and drones, the rockets are fueled by hydrogen peroxide, a zero-carbon fuel, that when combined with Avimech’s technology enable a radically safer, cheaper, quieter, and carbon-free solution for the future of aviation. In fact, the exhaust from the aircraft consists of just water vapor and oxygen, being one of few technologies that gives back to the environment during flight.
Being selected to compete at the NASA iTech competition is a huge opportunity for the company, as it transitions from the development phase into the commercialization phase of its products. Companies and innovators that have participated in NASA iTech since its inception have gone on to leverage $500 million in private investments within just three years from competing. This is in addition to many of the companies also becoming part of NASA’s growing list of technologies it may use for future missions.
NASA iTech is an initiative of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate that seeks potentially trailblazing technologies that could enhance NASA’s space missions while also improving aviation on Earth. The NASA iTECH Ignite the Night Aeronautics 2021 competition has five focus areas: Autonomous Systems for Aeronautics; Community Integration of Advanced Air Mobility; Electric Aircraft; Enabling Technologies for Handling and Ride Quality in Urban Air Mobility Vehicles; and X-Factor Aeronautics.
Avimech has created a strong platform to deliver its technology to leaders in aviation such as NASA. Its zero-carbon rocket-on-rotor helicopters and drones are a challenger to both existing fossil fuel helicopters and the fast growth of electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.
Avimech’s technology has been FAA approved with over 300 hours of manned flight, they are a finalist in the Abu Dhabi Drone X Competition, top 10 out of 495 applicants, and finished in the top 15% in the United States Air Force AFWERX 2020 Energy Challenge out of 800 applicants.
The team at Avimech developed their technology in Tucson, Arizona, and opened their headquarters in Kapa‘a, Hawai’i in 2018. The company has strong hopes to support Hawaii in its pursuit to reduce carbon emissions and to find investors and customers, such as NASA, to create a low carbon world.
The top innovator from the Ignite the Night Aeronautics earns a position as one of the 25 semifinalists for the 2021 NASA iTech cycle. Their technology will be evaluated further and has a chance to be selected as a top 10 finalist to present at the 2021 NASA iTech Cycle I Forum, which will be held virtually May 27.
The public can live stream the event at https://livestream.com/nasaitech.