|DFH Dragonfly 333 / 334|
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, 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.
R.Simpson "Airlife's Helicopter and Rotorcraft", 1998
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
TYPE: Two-seat helicopter.
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.
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.
Heliot: RPV version developed in association with French companies Etudes et Developpement Techniques (EDT) and CAC Systemes; 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, powerline patrolling and crop-spraying. New rotor controls, drive system and tapered tail rotor blades, plus single-piece front/upper glazing. Prototype unflown by May 2003, when exhibited at Aero '03. As described.
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.
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.
STRUCTURE: Cabin is welded titanium frame with composites outer shell; aluminium alloy tailboom, rotor blades and landing skids. Full corrosion protection.
LANDING GEAR: Conventional twin-skid type. Emergency floats and skis under development.
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.
ACCOMMODATION: Side-by-side seats for two persons. Dual controls standard. Small baggage compartment below seats.
SYSTEMS: 12 V electrical system with engine-driven generator and 12V 24Ah batlery.
AVIONICS: Comms: Provision for transceiver and intercom. Flight: Optional electric lateral trim. Instrumentation: Standard VFR.
Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 2004-2005
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.
D.Mondey "The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft", 2000