Company Aims For An Affordable... And
This week at AirVenture 2007, Rotorway proudly displayed its
newest aircraft, the A600 Talon. Successor to the well-known Exec
162F, the A600 looks almost identical... but Rotorway CEO Grant
Norwitz is quick to point out beneath the aircraft's skin is an
entirely new aircraft.
Building upon Rotorway's experience in the kit helicopter world
-- which Norwitz feels is due to B.J. Schram's efforts in creating
the first Rotorway -- the company has incorporated many design
changes planned to ease its transition into building a certified
The A600 Talon is not an incremental change in Rotorway's
aircraft, though the exterior remains much the same. Conventional
steam gauges have been removed and replaced with a Stratomaster
Enigma glass cockpit incorporating an HSI, CDI, TAWS, and GPS.
A FADEC control system, which Rotorway helped revolutionize in
previous helicopters, now has a controller displaying every aspect
of the system on the glass cockpit. The Talon is wider and taller
than the Exec 162F it replaces, and a buyer can choose the
conventional belt-driven tail rotor or a new design that
incorporates a tailshaft assembly.
Two power plants are available for the new helicopter: a
Rotorway 600N at 147 horsepower, and a Rotorway 600S, which is
supercharged and ups horsepower to 167. The two-seat helicopter
will have a useful load of 535 pounds, and a cruise speed of 100
miles per hour. Rotorway has also designed a brand new belt-driven
system with a hydraulic tensioner to get the rotors turning.
With all of these changes, and through the evolution of Rotorway
Helicopters, CEO Grant Norwitz (above) says "certification is
something that we feel we have earned." Plans are to have the Talon
certified first in Europe, then here in the states.
Rotorway has been testing the prototype since January, and the
current A600 has flown for 180 hours. As Norwitz says, "we want to
make sure we have a product that we want to fly." The A600 is aimed
at the training market as well, and Rotorway plans to have the
aircraft tested in the training environment at a Rotorway facility
in South Africa. The helicopter comes with full dual controls and
stability is reportedly similar to a Schweizer.
Norwitz also announced Rotorway is partnering with EAA and
sponsoring the Young Eagles program; Norwitz hopes this will help
build enthusiasm as well as bring new life to the helicopter
industry. Rotorway has also sponsored an EAA section on the EAA
website, which will document the build of the A600 much like the
Discovery Channel series that documented the build of an earlier
But what does the A600 cost? With everything but the radio and
transponder, the A600 kit will retail for $95,700. Another option
is to buy the aircraft ready to fly, or "turn key," for $135,000,
though this will not be the certified cost. Estimates are that the
cost of a certified A600 will be somewhere in the $150,000
Summing up the company's mission, Grant Norwitz says "part of
our goal is affordable aviation."