From Helicopter Crash to Inventor: Veteran Partners With MAKO on Idea

From Helicopter Crash to Inventor: Veteran Partners With MAKO on Invention

It’s every pilots’ worst nightmare. You’re 30,000 feet high, soaring high above the clouds, with the sun beaming off your face – when the engine starts to stutter. Suddenly, it stops propelling the enormous metal contraption and you’re forced into a life-threatening nose dive speeding towards the earth at hundreds of feet per second.

MAKO's product development services brought an invention to life that filters fuel at a micro-particle level.

Front view helicopter.


Flash-forward to a few years later, where this very pilot (who astonishingly survived the experience by performing a strategic auto-rotation mid-air), and military veteran Kenneth Koch partnered with MAKO to use our product development services. Together, we brought an invention to life that would prevent this type of engine failure from happening again.

The KJ Filter:

After Kenneth’s helicopter crashed, the investigation process found the small fuel filter was plugged with debris, which stopped fuel from flowing to the engine.

No fuel = no fly.

Helicopters do have a sump area in the tank to catch all the debris but in this case, it was more than the sump could handle. The extra debris overflowed from the sump into the fuel filter causing the blockage. So, the idea was to collect the debris before it got to the tanks and thus, collecting it before it got to the fuel filters.

MAKO's product development services created this rendering.

Rendering of the top portion of the invention.

How MAKO’s Product Development Services Helped Create the KJ Filter:

MAKO’s collaborative product development services allowed us to see Kenneth’s vision and use his sketches to bring his invention idea to life. The result is a micro-filament filtering system that mounts to the fuel tank and stops debris, as small as microscopic particles, from collecting in the fuel tank. Bottom line: it keeps anything but fuel from going into the engine, decreasing the likelihood of engine failures and engine wear and tear.

“I have to admit, I was not sure how I could afford professional product development services,” says Kenneth Koch. “But we put our heads together and came up with a schedule that worked. We had very open and direct conversations about how we wanted to this look and work. I could not be happier to have a company like MAKO behind me.”

About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial designmechanical engineeringelectrical engineeringpatent referralprototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!


  1. Afzaal Mustafa

    2017-12-13 at 11:45 am

    Re helicopter safety.
    Is the product is certified and is availble for sale?

    • MAKO Design + Invent

      2017-12-13 at 11:48 am

      Hi Afzaal, it’s coming soon for sale! We will keep you posted! Cheers, Team MAKO.

  2. Spencer

    2018-04-14 at 1:24 pm

    HI I have 2 good ideas for airplanes but don’t know what to do with them


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