Dragon Fly Srl. was formed by the Angelo and Alfredo Castiglioni brothers at Cucdago in northern Italy to build a small side-by side two-seater which was, initially the Dragonfly helicopter, designed for their own personal use as an easily transportable machine for use in archaeological exploration.
Two prototypes of a single-seat model were built and flown in 1989 as a precursor to the two-seat production model. The Dragon Fly 333 is technically an ultralight, but is built to JAR Part 27 standard and was approved in 1996 under the Italian VLR (Very Light Rotorcraft) standard. Dragon Fly production was set initially at three per month, and the first production machine was delivered in late 1993.
Production totalled 51 (up to c/n 51-97) by mid-1997. The all-metal Dragon Fly has an enclosed pod fuselage with fixed skid and a tubular tailboom carrying a T-tail with a two-blade tail rotor. The main two-blade rotor is mounted above and behind the cabin and is driven by a 105hp Dragon Fly/Hirth F30.A2 two-stroke engine. The Dragon Fly can also be delivered as a drone for military use.
Original Dragon Fly company founded in 1993 by twin brothers Angelo and Alfredo Castiglioni specifically to produce the Dragon Fly 333 light helicopter, rights to which were taken over from general engineering company CRAE Elettromeccanica SpA. The company was taken over by German owners in 2001 and moved to a new factory at Ovada. The Dragon Fly 333 is being further developed into the Dragon Fly 334 GP.
DFH DRAGON 334 HELICOPTER SPECIFICATIONS
DFH DRAGON 334 HELICOPTER TYPE
DFH DRAGONFLY 334 HELICOPTER DEVELOPMENT & CONSTRUCTION PROGRAMME
Developed originally by CRAE; design studies and manufacture of single-seat prototype 1985-88; ground and flight testing of this aircraft, 1989-90; two-seat prototype built and tested, 1991-93. Total of two single-seat and three two-seat prototypes, followed by four pre-series aircraft; production, as Dragon Fly 333, transferred to new factory from October 1994.
Developed and tested by manufacturer to standards approaching FAR Pt 27; initial Italian certification is in ultralight class, but domestic VLR (very light rotorcraft) certification obtained 16 June 1996. Relaunched at Aero ’03, Friedrichshafen, April 2003, under new ownership and new designation.
In 2001, a Dragon Fly was flown at the Cielo di Volo air show, powered by a 112kW APU of undisclosed type.
DFH DRAGONFLY HELICOPTER CURRENT VERSIONS
Dragon Fly 333: Original version; discontinued. Powered by one Dragon Fly/Hirth F30A26AK four-cylinder two-stroke, rated at 82kW for T-O, 70.8kW maximum continuous.
Dragon Fly 333AC: Certified version to Italian VLR rules. Discontinued.
DFH DRAGONFLY HELIOT HELICOPTER
RPV version developed in association with French companies Etudes et Development Techniques (EDT) and CAC Systems; launched in June 1996 when prototype displayed at Eurosatory 1996 show at Le Bourget, Paris. No further production known. Discontinued.
DFH X 334: Proof-of-concept vehicle for 334GP, with new engine, rotor controls and drive system. Flying by 2002. Dragon 334 GP: Based on Dragon Fly 333 with commercial applications including traffic and border observation, aerial photography, power line patrolling and crop-spraying.
New rotor controls, drive system and tapered tail rotor blades, plus single-piece front/upper glazing. Prototype in-flown by May 2003, when exhibited at Aero ’03. As described.
DFH DRAGONFLY HELICOPTER CUSTOMERS
First delivery of Dragon Fly in May 1994 to Chinese Civil Protection Volunteers. Total of 80 ordered, of which some 70 delivered, by late 1998 to customers in Abu Dhabi, Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy (37), New Zealand, Portugal and Turkey. First delivery of Italian certified version was in 1997; initial operator was Venice Aero Club. Dragon 334 deliveries had not begun by mid-2003.
DFH DRAGONFLY HELICOPTER DESIGN FEATURES
Two-blade, semi-rigid main rotor and two-blade tail rotor; all blades of NACA 0012 aerofoil section, main rotor nominal speed 520 rpm. Can be road-towed on trailer with main blades folded. Optionally available in kit form.
DFH DRAGONFLY HELICOPTER STRUCTURE
Cabin is welded titanium frame with composites outer shell; aluminium alloy tailboom, rotor blades and landing skids. Full corrosion protection.
DFH DRAGONFLY HELICOPTER LANDING GEAR
Conventional twin-skid type. Emergency floats and skis under development.
DFH DRAGONFLY HELICOPTER POWER PLANT
One 84.6kW Rotax 914 flat-six. Transmission driven through centrifugal clutch and two V-belts. Fuel capacity 64 litres of which 57 litres are usable.
DFH DRAGONFLY HELICOPTER ACCOMMODATION
Side-by-side seats for two persons. Dual controls standard. Small baggage compartment below seats.
DFH DRAGON HELICOPTER ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS
12 V electrical system with engine-driven generator and 12V 24Ah battery.
DFH DRAGONFLY HELICOPTER AVIONICS
Communications: Provision for transceiver and intercom. Flight: Optional electric lateral trim. Instrumentation: Standard VFR.
Established 1993, produces the Dragon Fly mod 333 two- seat piston-engined light helicopter (certificated June 1996).
HELIOT variant is for military and civil special operations, with a 300kg useful load and is fitted with a camera and color monitor; can carry an external module to permit unmanned remote flying; with module removed, HELIOT can be piloted.
VIDEO: Dragon fly helicopter re-powered with turbo charger Subaru engine (note intercooler)
VIDEO: Turbine powered DF 333/334 Dragonfly Helicopter
|Engine||1 X Rotax 914|
|Engine horsepower||115 hp – 84 kw|
|Main rotor blades||Composite|
|Main rotor diameter||22 ft 5 inch – 6.82 m|
|Main rotor rpm||520|
|Tail rotor diameter||1.12 m|
|Fuel capacity||75 litres|
|Fuel consumption||23 litres/hr|
|Gross weight||600 kg|
|Rate of climb||1,280 ft/min – 6.5 m/s|
|Cruise speed||91 kts – 170 km/h|
|Maximum speed (VNE)||102 kts – 190 km/h|
|Service ceiling||10,000 ft – 3,100 m|
|Height (total)||7 ft 9 inch – 2.36 m|
|Height (cabin)||1.72 m|
|Cabin Width||1.30 m|
DF Helicopters was acquired in 2010 by a Swiss Group, Avio International Group.
VIDEO: SkyEFIS DF Dragonfly Helicopter
More information can be found at DF Helicopters.