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Ultimate Flying Object / UFO Helithruster

Gillespie Helithruster



The UFO-HeliThruster was developed in the backcountry of New Zealand, designed by Mac Gillespie from the floor up. This is not a re-vamp of an old idea. UFO wanted a great engine and an equally good PSRU, and made their own. Its a gear driven design with a ratio of 2.3 to 1. The craft can lift and fly with more than a 1600-pound bulk weight. The UFO-HeliThruster is capable of flying 600 miles (960 kms) on one fill at the "regular" petrol pump and that is with a 1/2 hour fuel safety margin.


The performance of the UFO-HeliThruster is the EJ25 engine gives 164hp the power from that goes through a 2.3-1 PSRU (Propeller speed reduction unit - or "Gearbox") that feeds a prop. (72" - 76") inch propeller.  The UFO-HeliThruster has more stability and thus a larger safety margin than other gyros because the tail surfaces are larger and give good lateral plane area.

The UFO-Heli-Thruster's fuselage is higher from the ground than most gyros. This when added to the fact that the rotor blades are also a little higher above the cockpit that on "standard" gyros results in greater safety, avoiding rotor strike. Also, the UFO-HeliThrusters design distance between the rotor disc and the thrust line of the engine is greater as well. Again, this increases safety by making it less prone to "tumble" (PPO) the gyro forward due to overly large control/throttle input combinations.

The UFO was first drawn in 1991, it took two years for the first prototypes to be constructed and flown, 1993.
They were flown as UFO's in 1996. The first official flight took place in December 1997, and UFO's were exported in the same year but remained a Southern Hemisphere phenomenon. One person initially built the UFO and every single part, and the quantity reflects that, there were 23 completed, 9 exported.
In July 2000 the decision was made to broadcast the UFO.
The UFO-HeliThruster has a large usable interior space, with a 1.1 meter (39 inches) of space available from on top of the seat to the cabin ceiling, and 1.2 meter (47 inches) of leg space from the back-rest of the seat to the pedals.
The UFO-HeliThruster's performance has a climb rate at 1500 foot per minute. The UFO-HeliThruster can climb at 1500 foot per minute while maintaining a forward speed (TAS) of 90 miles per hour.

Designed by New Zealander’s Mac Gillespie and Geoff Price, UFO stands for Ultimate Flying Options. The first six were manufactured at Auckland, NZ. The test flying was carried out by Alf Crowe at Feilding, New Zealand.


The price for a complete kitset (2009) was NZ$63,000 or a factory prepared and Ready to Fly UFO-HeliThruster at NZ$75000.

The airframe is aeronautical aluminium, tig welded. Fiberglass/composite fuselage canopy. Fiberglass wheel pants. Fiberglass instrument panels. Controls are Dual Rudder and Throttle control and central Stick.

Standard equipment includes Electric Starter, ASI "0-160" mph, Mechanical Prerotator, Rotor Brake, Wheel Brakes, Steering, Wheel Pants, Altimeter, VSI, Compass Rotor Tach, and Hobbs.

Engine: Subaru EJ25, 4 cylinders, 4-stroke, water-cooled, 165 hp
Displacement: 2500cc
Ignition: ECU Single Spark per cylinder
Reduction ratio: 2.3:1
Propeller: Composite 72-74 in 3-blade carbon fiber ground adjustable pitch
Rotor: 29-33ft two-blade, extruded aluminium.
Blade Cord: 8 1/2 in
Length: 13 ft 1.5 in / 4.000 m
Height: 10 ft 2 in / 3.100 m
Width: 7 ft 2.5 in / 2.200 m
Gross Weight: 1600 lb
Dry Weight: 950 lb
Payload: 650 lb
Fuel Capacity: 22 / 100 lt / 26 US gal
Unusable Fuel: 0.75 US gallon / 3 lt
Consumption: 3.75 US gph / 15 lt/hr
Top speed:  120 mph
Cruise speed:  100 mph
Never exceed (Vne):  150 mph
Takeoff distance:  50 to 150 ft
Landing distance:  50 ft
Takeoff over 50 ft obstacle:  100 ft
Climbing rate:  1,500 fpm
Service ceiling (est.):  10,000 ft
Range at cruise speed:  600 miles / 960 km
Endurance:  6 hours + 1/2 hour reserve
Rudder: 1.6 m high x 800 mm
Shoulder room: 1400mm / 55 in
Headroom: 1100mm / 43 in
Legroom: 1200mm /47 in
Cabin Width doors on: 1400mm / 55 in
Cabin Length: 1680mm / 66 in
Cabin Height: 1370mm / 54 in


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