Miglena Nikolova has never struggled for success. She has worked hard to achieve it
Niki Rotor Aviation is a family company based in Pravets, about 60 kms from Sofia. It was officially established in 2011, but the love that its owner and founder, Nikolay Nikolov, has for aviation significantly predates this year. It all began way back in 1993, when Mr Nikolov established Niki Ltd., a company manufacturing bespoke commercial furniture and equipment. Today, it is a leader in its segment and exports 95% of its products to markets such as the UK, Germany, France and others. The company has two main facilities: 7,000 sq.m for metal processing and 2,000 sq.m for joinery which process metal, wood, acrylic, and glass to bring ideas to life. Niki Ltd. is ISO certified for high-quality, energy efficiency, safety, and sustainability. The company is environmentally responsible, reducing emissions and optimizing waste to zero. It is also FSC certified for ethical material sourcing.
The second generation of the family is also involved in the business – Miglena Nikolova, Mr Nikolov's daughter, is the managing director of Niki Ltd. and the marketing and business development manager of Niki Rotor Aviation. The energy that she emanates is so contagious that after meeting her many people have asked themselves "Why didn't I start flying earlier?". Thanks to her dedication and work, today Niki Rotor Aviation is renowned by the international aviation industry and the models that it manufactures have won awards at prestigious competitions. In short, she is the moving power behind the company's recent development and expansion. Miglena Nikolova shares more on the incredible story of Niki Rotor Aviation.
What is a gyroplane and for whom is it?
Gyroplanes are ultralight aircrafts that combine the flight characteristics of an airplane and a helicopter. They take off and land on a runway, needing only about 50-100 m for this. Autorotation is the main principle on which this impressive machine flies and which makes it one of the safest aircraft.
Gyroplanes can fly at low altitude with low speed, which makes them very functional, manoeuvrable and easy to fly. Gyroplanes lack collapsing speed which guarantees that the flight will be a dynamic one.
Internationally, registered accidents with gyroplanes are times less than with any other aircraft, because their construction and technical parameters allow the pilot to react adequately even in extremely critical situations.
Because of its impressive flight characteristics and the ability to takeoff from a very short runway, gyroplanes have found application in dozens of ways in both civic and military and protection spheres. Today, they are used for tourism, fun and air surveilance of large farms, and for border patrolling, early detection and control of fires, and dealing with manmade and natural catastrophes of different scales.
How did you decide to start a company for aircraft manufacture?
My father's love for aviation is way older than the company's official creation and has been with him throughout his life.
For decades, he used to organise the biggest plane modelling event in Bulgaria. In 2000, he created his first helicopter prototype. It never reached the market, but it became the inspiration for the three gyroplane models produced by Niki Rotor Aviation – Lightning, Kallithea and the latest addition, Cruiser. Realised in 2023, Cruiser stands out with its solution to have the pilot and the passenger sitting side by side, rather than tandem. As my father loves saying, love for aviation is a lifelong affair.
How have you divided in the family who does what in the company?
Niki Rotor Aviation is managed by my father, Nikolay Nikolov, and I.
My father is the brain behind the technical realisation of each project of the company, including the gyroplanes Lightning and Kallithea. Today, they fly on five continents and are made entirely in our company factory in Bulgaria. Thanks to the established strict procedures for quality control, even the tiniest details are carefully inspected before assembly. Everything meets the highest and strictest quality and safety requirements.
I am the marketing specialist and team leader. I joined the family company after I graduated from some of the most prestigious universities in the world.
What is the biggest challenge that you face as a family company?
The challenges that we face as a family company are often the same experienced by any other company in Bulgaria – lack of qualified employees and the brain drain of specialists and people with potential abroad.
Despite this, through the years and with a lot of patience and investments, we managed to build a team of exceptionally highly qualified experts in a number of fields. Without them, the manufacture of such technically complex machine as the gyroplane would not be possible. In our team work not only marketing specialists, who take care of the company's image and brand, but also aviation engineers and other technical professionals.