Wellington, May 26 NZPA - A former MP who was working on using remote-control helicopter "drones" to rescue climbers on Mt Everest has had his company put into receivership.
Trevor Vicemar Roger's company manufacturing un-manned military helicopters in East Tamaki, TGR Helicorp Ltd, has vacated the factory since receivers David Levin and Barry Jordan (PPB McCallum Petterson Ltd) were appointed last month.
A charity Rescue on Everest, was operating out of the same premises, with celebrity adventurers Peter Hillary and Mark Inglis acting as patrons, but Mr Levin told NZPA the company's records did not show any dealings between TGR and the charity.
"We know nothing about the rescue charity except that which we have read in the media," said Mr Levin, who will file a report on the receivership to the Companies Office by mid-June.
TGR Helicorp Ltd -- the only licensed helicopter manufacturer in the southern hemisphere -- announced last year it was building special alpine helicopters to be used for rescues on Mt Everest.
The company had developed an unmanned full-size rescue helicopter, the Alpine Wasp, which it would test on 3754m Mt Cook and then donate to the Everest rescue trust to establish a rescue service and base in Nepal.
Made of high-tech composite materials, with a diesel helicopter engine and rotor blades designed especially for maximum performance in thin air, was to be based at Namche Bazar, a village sitting at 3440m in Nepal's Khumbu subregion.
Mr Rogers formed TGR Helicorp Ltd in 1997 and launched an innovative, unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) called the Snark, at the 2005 Paris Air Show.
The $5 million helicopter, 8m long, was said at the time to be the world's first diesel helicopter, satellite-controlled with full stealth capabilities, and automatic weapons system including rocket launchers.
Mr Rogers has said that future wars will be fought with UAVs, and has previously sought certification for civilian Bandit and military Wolverine helicopters.
TGR began winding down its operations about three months ago, but Mr Levin said he had no information about its work being re-located offshore.
Irene King, chief executive of the Aviation Industry Association (AIA) said Mr Rogers had voiced his annoyance to her in a conversation two and half months ago over export restrictions, which he said arose from non-proliferation weapons agreements.
TGR was not a member of the AIA, but Mrs King said the aviation sector was a small one in New Zealand, and she was aware he had been considering the possibility of operating in eastern Europe or South East Asia: "He wasn't certain at the time he was talking to me".
Mrs King said Mr Rogers was frustrated at the red tape he had to go through to export his military helicopters from New Zealand, and became impatient with Wellington-based agencies.
"It's a pity, because the technologies he was developing were absolutely leading-edge stuff," Mrs King said. "He had a very good line-up of product developers who were very good engineers".
Directors of TGR Helicorp Ltd include Arthur Noel French, of Howick, a director of Auckland Masonic Centre Ltd; and Trevor and Glenda Frances Rogers, of Bombay, according to the companies registry.
Both the Rogers have been directors of Bounty Corp Ltd, Bounty Rentals Ltd, RCL Trading Ltd, Rogers Consultants Ltd, Seagrove Airport Ltd, and Ultra Helicopters Inc (NZ) Ltd (in receivership).
Mr Rogers, an MP in Otara and Howick electorates between 1990-1996 for National and then the Conservative Party, is also a director of EP Research & Development Inc Ltd and Mrs Rogers is a director of Virgin Concepts Ltd.
Companies Office records show the Rogers family holds 3.1 million of TGR's 5.7 million shares, Mr French holds 770,000, as do Sonia and George Glaister of Milton, and another 570,000 are held by Peter, Andrea, and David Marsden of Takapau.
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