Affordable helicopter?

Rotor Rooter

Dave Jackson
Economical & Reliable Helicopter? ~ Maybe

Economical & Reliable Helicopter? ~ Maybe

The May 2004 issue of Kitplanes has an article entitled; 'Flying the Mosquito: Maximum fun at minimal cost'

Economical? ~ The kit helicopters sells for $19.000.00 (US).
Reliable? ~ The positive article is written by Ken Armstrong. He has flown 12,000 hours on 250 airplane and helicopter types, and is a prominent Canadian aviation author whose works are regularly published in a number of aviation periodicals.
BRS for Gyro's

BRS for Gyro's

I think Larry Neil had one mounted on the underside of a tandem Air Command a couple of years ago.
Bet it would be a heck of an experience to pull that handle! though I guess it might be better pulling the handle (if you had it) than not having anything to pull at all!

Thanks, Gordon Gibson.


Not sure a BRS would work too good at less than 50' ,would it??

Oi,Rotor Rooter,what did this Ken bloke do in his choppers??

I'm not say'n they is no good,just tryi'n to find out if there is any advantage over a gyro with one of these horny look'n wirly birds for chase'n cows.



Thats true...a BRS most likely wouldnt work at 50 feet...but consider this.....because of that large rotor above you...if you had a brs installed you would probably want it to fire outwards in a sideways/downwards/backwards direction and (at first at least) you would probably want the gyro body to naturally hang from near its center of mass UPSIDE down from the parachute...

Now, if something really bad happens at low altitude in a you loose a blade/rotor, blade flap chopped of the back end of your gyro, a negative G manuever, exploding engine/propeller, a control mechanism breaks etc.... about the ONLY thing thats going to save you is shear dumb luck...and large amounts of it at that those cases pilot skill and/or a personal parachute wont help much either.....

As a previous poster mentioned...using a BRS would be one wild bet it would...but if something bad enough has happened to cause you want to use it....youve probably ALREADY had one wild ride and the only choice left is between a wild ride that ends in death and one that might not....

Now, you could use a personal emergency parachute instead.....and those weigh 10 pounds give or take or a BRS which would be about 25 lbs....however there are 3 considerations that might favor the BRS over the personal, if your gyro is doing wild things, getting out of it fast and without injury might not be as safe or as easy as one might think at first...secondly, because a rocket deploys the BRS chute and makes the connection line taunt, a BRS will work when deployed ALOT closer to the ground than a personal chute....if I recall correctly there have been about 200 "saves" in small planes and ultralights using BRS to date....some of them at altitudes of only a few hundred opposed to the 500 to 1000? foot minimum required for using a personal chute ....and then there is the issue of how long is that packed personal chute safe before it needs repacking? A BRS can go 5 or 6 years...I have no idea on what it is for a personal chute but I bet its a lot less than that.....

I think Craig Wall used to harp on this...doing anything close to ground in a gryo that doesnt NEED to be done there is just plain stupid (and that goes for airplanes as well).....Ironically, I get the impression that many gyro pilots fly low because low "feels" safer and they want to feel safe because its an experimental aircraft with a less than a 100 percent reliable engine....when in reality flying high makes it SAFER, not more dangerous....

Given that how a BRS should be installed and used in a gryo doesnt appear to have been carefully investigated yet....its my opinion that gyro pilots would be vastly more safer flying 1500 foot or so high as much as possible and wearing personal chute...

But thats just my inexperienced opinion

take care



Yeh Chad,I checked them things out before,but I'm not real keen on the rubber band driv'n the rotors,same reason I changed from the EJ22 to a 914 on the RAF,too many rubber bands.


Ken,I can only speak from my own experiance in the local conditions[I'm not what you could call a worldly person]but the major benifit is the power to weight ratio,which is everything here.The 80hp 912 has served me well,1500+ hours without so much as a cough or fart and is still going strong,never used oil,never runs hot[even on a 48c day].The only mod I had to make to the standard unit was to desigen a perminent carb heater,ice was a constant problem,summer and winter.
Efficiancy is another benifit,being able to stay aloft for 2 3/4 -3 hours safly on 40l helps while mustering.
In short,I'd never go back to a soob.

Bloody Lector has found me!!! I'm in trouble now.


Birdy, dont know how youd go with a heli. I can see where they would come in handy, but I think you may find the cost difference a bit prohibative.
Not having much personal experience with gyros I speculating a little here but I dont imagine your DOCs would go much over $50/hr. Compare that with a robbie at around $150/hr and your cows might go a bit hungry. Most of the cost is in the difference between certified and experimental aircraft, but also helos are just expensive.
From what Ive heard there are a few operators who recoup this cost by pulling the hobbs, and not documenting hrs flown. Other guys Ive spoken to say the robbie is pretty much on its limits all the time, and they frequently "milk" the throttle upto 117% to get it off the ground (RPM limit 104%), although Im sure the helimuster guys would have told you this, (Disclaimer, Im in no way saying helimuster does any of this, from what Ive heard they are a very reputable comapny, and the reference to them here was to do with the limited power of the helos only).
If you are thinking about an experimental helo the only two I would think about getting would be either the helicycle, or the rotormouse. The helicycle uses a t-62 solar turbine, and has a power to weight ration of 7:1, which is the equivilent of an MD500. The rotormouse is a little harder to find info on, because they dont have a website, but uses a allison C-18, and has a Vne of 200mph!!!!
Pic of rotormouse,

and heres the helicycle,

Dont know exact prices for them but I would think that youd be looking around the $100,000 mark.


I have no personal experience with them, however I have heard they get a 2per rev vibration under certain conditions. THe couple of people I spoke with havent manage to get rid of it yet. Apart from that they seem pretty happy with it, I guess it depends on what youre after.
I beleive most of the expense in the baby belle is in the certified motor that they use.
Its really disappointing to me that despite the sucess of experimental fixed wing, experimental helos seem to be lacking, and all the really promising ones seem to dissapear.
Right now if you sit down and analyse ityou can pick up a 2nd hand 22 with 500hrs to run for about $150,000AUD, if you just run the hrs off without putting aside the money for a 2200hr overhaul you could probably get the runnung costs down to about $60/hr. With no hrs left the hull would still be worth $60K, and you could then go looking for another one to do the same thing.
This would give you a certified helo for a similar cost to a experiemntal.


Thanx for that Spaceman.
The expence isn't so much an issue when doing this sort of work,it can be warrented,but the complications of certification,hour limits and all the rest of it makes the gyro stand way out in frount.The only compromise is the inability to hover,and there are ways and means to get around this in a gyro.
Besides,me cows can't do 200mph.

And yes,in this part of the world the R22 can get dangerously margional on power,ask anyone who has mustered on a 48c day in one.

Victor Duarte

Hi every one

i am a friendly chopper enthusiast from France . excuse my bad english, i try my best ;)

like you, Spaced, i am designing a personnal helicopter and think also in a coax layout, i had helpfull recommendations in forums, and i guess i ll find many ones here.

you told about a good rotor and yaw control scheme, have you a link to that ?

i also know the remarkable work done on UNICOPTER site, great and full of good tech data.

if you want you can check some scketches drawing at

thanks for your comments.


Victor Duarte

salut et merci de l'accueil !

i visited this site and was impressed and scared ;) about the rotor ..

have you heard more about that?

thanks et merci


Helidev II

Junior Member
zeeoo, I am Spaced, I changed my name to match my new business name.

That ezycopter is a modified Gyrondyne XRON. Basically its the same as the DASH 50 that Andre posted on page 2. By all accounts a good helo that never went into production. For a while I was considering approaching gyrodyne to buy their design, just never got around to it. I had been following the guys building it, but lost track, thanx for the new link. Is it just me or does that mast, swash plate seem massivley over engineered for a 1 person machine?

zeeoo, yes I do have a design for good yaw control for a coax, however I would prefer not to post them on a public forum. email me at [email protected], and Ill give you an idea of my design.

I must say though Ive gone off the coax design a little at the moment. Theres alot of complex mechanical peices on it, which only increases the cost, where as Im trying to reduce it. Not being an aero engineer and being self taught definately has its drawbacks.
I will be interested in how your design comes out zeeoo, if its anything like mine it will be very fluid.

Victor Duarte

hey Helidev, glad to find you here !

mmm .... i thought the spaced guy looked like someone i already saw some where ;)

i m just like you, not an aero eng, but i have a quite acceptable technical back ground a i am drawing, thinking about it for about 10 years.. by periods.

about Dash > yes i think i ts a good machine, note that all the UAV i ve seen are coax ones.. i know a guy in france, not far from my home that develops a half scale coax drone for surveying a big bridge built in MILLAU (search "viaduc de millau" on the net)
we talked about that several times, and i heard the first prototype was ready... more news to come..

about easycopter, yeah, i feel the rotor head is over-complicated, i dont think this way, many eng think "we must put that device here, lets put it and fit it" i think "those devices could certainly be simplified" specially in a small helico, i m not talking for big ones.. i try to imagine smart and acceptable solutions.

i am convinced that we can simplify some designs, as we have elastomeric materials for damping/bearing, autolube polymeric bearings, we know more about the use of flexible metal parts instead of fully engineered hinges.

i would be glad to exchange ideas and hear about yours.. my mail is [email protected]

my (temporarly) site is some more drawings will be added soon.

friendly thanks