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

by | Nov 28, 2017 | Client Spotlight, Company News, Designing, Industrial Design, Inventors

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.

  Pause. 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.”
Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent

Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent

Company Team

MAKO Design + Invent is a full-service consumer product development firm servicing both high-growth corporate manufacturers and invention startups. With a 25-person team across 3 offices (Austin, England, Toronto), MAKO has complete in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering design and prototyping services. To assist our start-up inventor clients, we also have a subsidiary branch called Mako Invent that, in addition to above, helps start-ups with patenting, strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. For our corporate clients, MAKO Design develops world-class consumer electronics designs through our industrial, mechanical, and electrical design teams.



  1. Afzaal Mustafa

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

    • MAKO Design + Invent

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

  2. Spencer

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


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