12. October 1998, 09:30 AM,
Susie Bell, Marketing Director of Rotorway International meet me to an arranged company visit.
After a short welcome the tour started at the showroom.
Presented here is the mockup of the two seated EXEC 162F kit helicopter which is sold worldwide. Stretch Wolter, Vice President introduced me to the unique FADEC System (Fully Automated Digital Electronic Control) in this helicopter category.
The helicopter is powered by a company made water-cooled four cylinder engine. Special features of the engine are the redundant ignition system, fuel injection and several probes for the also redundant control computers. Both computer working parallel while only one is the active. Both processing the values given by the several probes and serving the ignition timing and the fuel injection. If one computer fails the other one will automatically take control.
If so, it will be displayed in the cockpit to inform the pilot. A very clear and easy to understand control unit is on the panel. All the different values can be obtained. Possible errors and the engine working parameters. The system also includes a flightdata recorder. All engine data from the last four hours are saved for diagnosis in case of a problem even with online help from the company worldwide.
The helicopter features dual controls, two blade metal mainrotor and metalblade tailrotor. Removable doors, heating system and 14 instruments are included in the standard package. Also very well arranged making documents as well as lifetime accompanying service bulletins. As accessories for the EXEC 162 F are available: a small cargo container, floats and spraying facilities.
The tour then followed by the production hall. Very much shows the detail improvements which carried out in the meantime thirty years since the existence of Rotorway.
Rotorway has a large number of computer controlled production machines as well as an own quality control department at its disposal. Pleasantly is also that all engine components and electrical equipment components of the kit are tested and run on a testbench before they are delivered to the buyer. All parts turning in pairs are delivered suitably weighted and are subject to narrow tolerances as well as all GFK manufactured parts. Part numbers on all components and a part catalog makes the work considerably easier.
Only the radio equipment, a transponder, some color and the necessary tools must be contributed to the delivered kit. To the building plans and the making instructions another 8 videocassettes with almost 14 hours are enclosed.
Two kits per week are manufactured at the moment. Of the model 162 F are 550 pieces been sold up to now December 2001. Seven have been delivered to Germany. 20 kit's were ordered by the company Kaluga, Russia in 1998. They shall be utilized for police, forest and farming, gas and oil industry there. Rotorway helicopters fly around the world in 50 countries in the meantime. All the various models combined produce sales of almost 2000 helicopters. The rooms of the company are decorated with numerous photos of ready built machines.
Furthermore Rotorway offers a complete Pilot training. The absolute pedestrian can purchase his helicopter license here. A course with 20 flight teaching hours plus theory as well as maintenance introduction costs $ 4100 (Price from 2001). A type rating covers approx. five flight teaching hours.
A flight took place in the connection of the business inspection with the EXEC. John O'Neill, Rotorway's Chief pilot ran through a detailed outer check with me. With the check list we started the engine and checked the systems. We took off with a normal takeoff heading towards the training area with 75 KIAS. Then I got the Controls which are very sensitive. Even practiced pilots should take up the flight training offered by Rotorway for a couple of hours. John demonstrated a autorotation for me with termination to a Hover, a quick stop and a max performance takeoff. At 1000 ft field elevation and 40 °C outside temperature with an all up weight of approx. 650 kg I saw a rate of climb of almost 800 ft/min. After this we flew back to Stella Air Park and ended the flight with a normal landing.
After almost five hours I said goodbye at Rotorway and my initial skepticism opposite "Kit" helicopters. If it should be possible once, I will get myself one.
© 1998 Dirk E. Fassbender
Further investigations with the internet at "The National Transportation Safety Board" showed that no accidents were caused by company technical faults with EXEC 162 F in the USA.
4140 W. Mercury Way
Stellar Air Park
Chandler, AZ 85226 USA
Tel: (602) 961-1001
Fax: (602) 961.1514
ROTORWAY HELICOPTER RELATED LINKS