The Federal Government’s plan to produce helicopters locally have received a boost with the expression of interest by a Belgian firm, Dynali Manufacturing Helicopters Company.
Dynali, in partnership with the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), will build capacity and transfer technology toward rotary-wing maintenance, assembly and manufacturing in Nigeria.
Besides, NASENI, as the agency saddled with the responsibility of fast-tracking home-initiated industrialisation, has placed an order for a Dynali H3 easy flyer sport ultralight helicopter for the purpose of reverse engineering.
Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI, Prof. Muhammed Haruna, during a courtesy visit to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s (NCAA) headquarters in Lagos recently, said plans were already in top gear, and manufacturing might takeoff in 2020.
Haruna disclosed that in line with the agency’s mandate in aviation and aeronautics technology, the NASENI reached out to potential partners and manufacturers of helicopters, out of which Dynali Helicopter Manufacturer was found to be a willing partner.
He said the Belgian firm was selected because its technology is easier to copy, learn, domesticate and modify.
“They are willing to build the capacity of our staff for maintenance, repair, assembly and manufacturing of helicopters in Nigeria,” he said.
The Vice Chairman assured that before the end of 2019, staff of the agency would have mastered the art of building helicopters, adding that the staffers’ experience with homegrown drones would be an added advantage.
“Research and Development (R&D) is not a one or two-day affair but we have facilities for reverse engineering.
“In fact, we have a centre that we call rapid prototyping centre. Any machine that you want to reproduce, we have facilities – advance manufacturing equipment for that matter on how to give us something fast. But then, aviation is a high safety and security industry. To do certain things, we must wait for certification from here (NCAA) before we proceed further.
“We are confident that through your support and that of other stakeholders, the made-in-Nigeria Helicopter project will be a success.
“In line with NASENl’s mandate in Aviation and Aeronautics technology, Ministerial and Presidential directives to the Agency to develop made-in-Nigeria helicopters, we eventually found Dynali Helicopter Manufacturing Company as a willing partner to fast-track technology acquisition and domestication,” Haruna said.
Dynali is the manufacturer of a wide range and models of Dynali H3 easy flyer sport ultralight helicopters. The company produces the simplest, easy to maintain and operate helicopters of high quality and of international standards.
The newly acquired helicopter, Dynali H3, has been produced, tested and ready for delivery to Nigeria.
Haruna said: “In order to take delivery of the aircraft, we have requested for a clearance to import the aircraft from the Ministry of Transportation through our supervising ministry, Ministry of Science and Technology. The NCAA is an important stakeholder in this effort and that is why we reached out to you for support and guidance.”
The NCAA Director General (DG), Capt. Mukhtar Usman, assured that the authority would partner with the agency to provide guidance in line with global standard and recommended practices in aviation.
Usman said: “As you know, aviation is highly regulated. It is international in nature and that is why the NASENI came today for us to partner and work together, to ensure that international standard and recommended practices are maintained because aviation is high precision industry, it involves safety and security.”