RotorWay debuts A600 Talon

RotorWay International, the world’s oldest and largest kit helicopter manufacturer, debuted its next generation helicopter, the A600 Talon, at this summer’s AirVenture.

The two-seat A600 Talon is slated to become the first helicopter to be certified by the Arizona-based company.

“The A600 Talon is the first of a new generation of RotorWay machines,” said CEO Grant Norwitz, who bought the company after building one of its kit helicopters.

The company was started by B.J. Schramm, who designed the Scorpion, the company’s first kit helicopter, which went on the market in 1967. Other models followed, including the Scorpion II, the Exec and the Elete.

“All that has culminated in the A600,” Norwitz said at AirVenture. “What has changed? Pretty much everything,” he said, noting it is a “top-to-bottom redesign, incorporating many customer-initiated requests, advanced electronics, engineering and convenience items.”

The cockpit is now all-glass, using the MGL Avionics system. The completely redesigned FADEC system has a secondary FADEC as a clone of the primary. Any failure of the primary unit will be imperceptible to the engine, informing the pilot on the MGL display.

Useful load is 535 pounds, including a 100-pound luggage compartment. Economy cruise is 90 mph. Fast long-distance cruise has been demonstrated at over 100 mph, with the doors off. The landing gear is 10 inches wider, 10 inches longer, and 7 inches higher than its smaller predecessor on the Exec 162.

Components for the A600 Talon will be built in RotorWay’s new facility, which just opened down the road from its previous facility in Chandler, Ariz.

“The A600 Talon is to be built in the new facility, on the new line, under the new processes that are being set up and proven to enable the certified machine to follow as early as 2011 in the United States,” Norwitz said, noting FAA certification will follow certification in Europe. “These new processes, materials, and documentation on the experimental, owner-built A600 Talon are designed to mesh into the processes and controls to be used on the future certified machine. The result is that the Talon will be built to type certified standards, of certified materials and with all the processes and controls expected of a manufacturer with the pedigree of RotorWay – and yet will be sold at kit prices.”

First customer deliveries of the kits are set for later this year, with prices starting at $97,500. Estimated build time is around 450 hours.

Ready to fly helicopters from the company’s South Africa factory are available for $135,000.

“One of our goals is to provide affordable rotary-wing flying,” Norwitz said.

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