Why I have always hated Rotax

fara

AR-1 gyro manufacturer
Joined
Oct 31, 2011
Messages
3,361
Location
Tampa, FL
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AR-1
Total Flight Time
3600+ .. New to gyroplanes
All I can tell you is my last gyro, a two place Dominator... With the second ever Yamaha to bolted to a gyro... the 3 cylinder carburetor version... won the Groen brothers international time to climb contest, and successfully flew with power to spare, a pilot and passenger weighing a combined 550-570 lbs and that was on a hot day in Florida. I recently flew with Greg in his AR1 with a 914 rotax and it did not seem to have the same power as I remember my dominator having.

I really like the torque curve of the 3 cylinder engine. I have had 3 different Yamaha street bikes that use more or less the same versions of these sled engines that people are converting. A Yamaha FZ07 ( 2 cylinder 700cc) a Yamaha FZ09 ( 3 cylinder 900cc ) and a FZ1 ( 4 cylinder 1000cc ) The 09 is the best engine of the bunch, combining the torque of a twin cylinder engine, but the high rpm pull of the four cylinder. The four cylinder was for sure much more powerful, but it needed high rpms to get that power where the 3 cylinder was punchy and had a stronger pull at much lower rpms. I still have the FZ07, as it was my favorite bike out of the 3 overall, but the 3 cylinder 900 was the best engine of the bunch.

But saying that, if I were to convert a sled engine today it would be the four cylinder with Teals adapter and likely his gearbox as well.

As I am sure you could source all the parts and convert one for less than 6-10 grand, but I think most people will end up with at least that 6-10 grand into the project once you factor in everything such as exhaust system, motor mounts, cooling system, instrumentation, etc... etc... etc...
Dominator is a light gyro. AR-1 is at least 120 pounds heavier than a Dominator
Apples and Oranges. Better comparison is Tango and AR-1
Teal's gearbox mates I think to the Apex without any adapter btw.
Trust me if the Yamaha used sled motor is too high a price conversion, people buying them won't pay for it. The way it works generally is that it is 1/4 of the price of a Rotax of similar capability. I tried offering Yamaha conversion on AR-1. Was willing to do all the work but was not going to just put a used crash sled engine right out. I wanted it rebuilt. The price that came out was $10k lower than a 914UL and despite that people who wanted Yamaha in an AR-1 did not go for it. Simple. They are looking to save mucho $$. I don't blame them but I am not doing a conversion with a crashed sled motor as is. I have been sued before in a fatal accident lawsuit. If I had a used converted car engine or similar in that aircraft, I would have been done. The only people who offer such things turn key are the ones who have not been around in aviation business long enough to be sued yet and actually survive through that ridiculous experience. I don't mind someone buying and doing their own used crash sled motor conversion as long as it's not in the invoice we provide.
 
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GyroRon

Former Gyro know it all
Joined
Oct 29, 2003
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16,584
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Fort Mill South Carolina
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Waiex/3300 Jab, Phantom UL, Flightstar II UL
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Dominator is a light gyro. AR-1 is at least 120 pounds heavier than a Dominator
Apples and Oranges. Better comparison is Tango and AR-1
Teal's gearbox mates I think to the Apex without any adapter btw.
Trust me if the Yamaha used sled motor is too high a price conversion, people buying them won't pay for it. The way it works generally is that it is 1/4 of the price of a Rotax of similar capability. I tried offering Yamaha conversion on AR-1. Was willing to do all the work but was not going to just put a used crash sled engine right out. I wanted it rebuilt. The price that came out was $10k lower than a 914UL and despite that people who wanted Yamaha in an AR-1 did not go for it. Simple. They are looking to save mucho $$. I don't blame them but I am not doing a conversion with a crashed sled motor as is. I have been sued before in a fatal accident lawsuit. If I had a used converted car engine or similar in that aircraft, I would have been done. The only people who offer such things turn key are the ones who have not been around in aviation business long enough to be sued yet and actually survive through that ridiculous experience. I don't mind someone buying and doing their own used crash sled motor conversion as long as it's not in the invoice we provide.
Well a couple of things...

1. I believe that some of the sled engines come from crashed sleds, but not all of them. Mine didn't. Mine came from a perfectly functional used low mile sled. Bought the sled, pulled the engine and wiring, and sold the remains of the sled as parts to help offset what was spent on getting the engine.

2. Back before the euro style gyros became so popular, a decent two place gyro was maybe 30 grand, 40 grand tops. Hard to do a 30-40 grand gyro when you're using a 20-30 grand Rotax engine. That is why converted Subaru and Honda and Mazda auto engines were so popular... That is also why you saw people looking at Webers then Yamaha. The thought that there would be people willing to buy gyroplanes that cost 75-125 thousand dollars was silly... Gyroplane people were always thrifty, always looking for ways to achieve whatever it was they wanted at a minimal cost.

I guess we were wrong about it though... Because there was apparently a strong market of people that DID want a gyro but didn't want something that was built from raw materials via plans or some kind of rudimentary kit with a junkyard Subaru car engine on the back... These people wanted something that was more or less factory built ( and face it, almost all the euro gyros are factory built with minimal to do for the " Builder " to have to do other than write a big check ) and looks all sleek and fast and smooth. And they are willing to spend big money for it. And if they are spending 100 grand to buy the thing, at that point why save 10 grand for a used converted snowmobile engine...? These people are not strangers to aviation. They see the popularity of light sport aviation, they see that the Rotax is used on most everything so they want a Rotax too.

The Tango uses the Yamaha, because Tango is unique amongst the euro gyro brands.... They have that euro gyro look, but they aren't as polished, they look cheaper and they are cheaper... and by using converted sled engines they can be even cheaper. Their gyros are perfect for the person that wants a euro gyro at the lowest cost, but with each Magni, AR1, and Autogyro purchase made, its clear that there are people out there that want what they want price not being a factor. Alot of words to simply say that I am not surprised that people didn't want to save 10 grand by going with a Yamaha on your gyros.
 

NoWingsAttached

Unobtainium Member
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May 21, 2006
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4,846
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Columbia, SC
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Air Command Tandem w/ Arrow 100hp; GyroBee w/ Hirth 65hp; Air Command Tandem w/ Yamaha 150hp
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>350
Did I mention...

Back when Rotax stood up and took notice that we three combined Yamaha conversion folks, Todd Reick, Greg Mills and Teal Jenkins, were SERIOUSLY cutting into Rotax 912/914 engine sales, and realized that Todd and Teal were doing it using Rotax C gearboxes exclusively for their conversion kits, Rotax at first required a 582 engine serial number to order a new PSRU, and when that didn't stem the tide of Yamaha conversions using these PSRUs Rotax decided to quit making the C box altogether, and did so quite abruptly.

Greg Mills was the first person to discover and report this, and wrote about it here on Rotaryforum. The usual rotten tomatoes got thrown at Greg, he got called an asshole publicly and awarded the Mr. Sour Grapes medal of doggy doo-doo for the umpteenth time, but regardless of what you may think of him and for whatever reason you do, the reported end to all Rotax C gearboxes was in fact realized as claimed.

The Rotax C sold for $1625 delivered, on a good day previously.

The "E" box is exactly the same thing, with a little 12v starter motor hanging off the side of it. I gauran f-g T you that the little tiny starter motor on the "E" box does not cost Rotax more than $35.00, and you can buy a brand new, similar one anywhere for $50.

Let's let Rotax make a 100% profit on the starter motor, and that makes the "E" box worth $1725.00, by all generous accounts indeed.

The Canadian a-holes at Rotax sell the "E" box now for $2350.00. They upped the price of their PSRU by $725 !!! just because they added a $50 item to it.

THAT is a 1,450 % profit on that stupid little starter motor, people.

THIS is why i HATE Rotax.
 
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