Frequently Asked Questions



What make the Helodyne better than a conventional Helicopter?

Is the Helodyne a Light Sport Aircraft?

Why is the Helodyne so easy to fly?

Do I need a pilot's license to fly the Helodyne?

Do I need a helicopter pilot's license to fly the Helodyne?

Is the Helodyne an autogiro or gyroplane?

How much does the Helodyne Cost?

How long will it take to put the Helodyne together?

Why are there no pictures of the Helodyne on this website?

Is the Helodyne a roadable aircraft?

 


What make the Helodyne better than a conventional Helicopter?

As you can see on the Helodyne vs. Helicopters page, except for payload per seat, the Helodyne out performs all traditional helicopters in all categories. In some categories, such as standard cruise range, the performance is about double that of traditional helicopters. This is while having a faster cruise speed.

In safety areas, such as the power off minimum decent rate, the Helodyne has about 1/3 of the decent rate. Meaning it essentially floats downward at 1/3 of typical helicopter speeds, thereby giving the pilot triple the time to pick a landing spot. The decent angle is also considerably less. The Glide Ratio is more than double typical helicopters, thereby providing 4 times more potential landing area from which to choose a landing location during an engine failure.

For the all-important flare factor category, another safety category, the Helodyne has over 5 times the reserve energy in the rotor system. This means that an autorotation landing is 5 times easier, as the pilot now has a multiple attempt capability. The behavior of the aircraft and the pilot proficiency required for a successful autorotation landing are radically altered. The extra time provided during autorotation in the Helodyne gives the pilot multiple opportunities for recovery and safely landing without power. An imprecise flare maneuver still results in a perfect landing. Put another way, the Helodyne will be about 5 times easier to land without power than a normal helicopter.

On top of all this, the Helodyne is far easier to fly than an traditional helicopter. A similar rotor control system was successfully flown by an aviation mechanic with no previous helicopter training, so you know it is easy to fly. The Helodyne goes even further than that by providing a unique rotor system that furthers eases the pilot workload.

The Helodyne is amphibious. So you can have all this with lakes and rivers as additional landing sites. Direct to your summer home or your friend's dock.

Top of Page

Is the Helodyne a Light Sport Aircraft?

The short answer is no. The FAA Light Sport Aircraft designation does not include helicopters.

The longer answer is that Light Sport flying has many restrictions. For the aircraft, these restrictions include:
  1. Maximum gross takeoff weight—1,320 lbs, or 1,430 lbs for seaplanes.
  2. Maximum speed in level flight with maximum continuous power (Vh)—138 mph (120 knots) CAS
  3. Maximum two-person seating capacity (pilot + passenger)
  4. Single, reciprocating engine
  5. Fixed or ground-adjustable propeller
  6. Unpressurized cabin
  7. Fixed landing gear (retractable gear allowed for seaplanes)
  8. Maximum stall speed—51 mph (45 knots) CAS
Even if helicopters were covered by Light Sport regulations, the Helodyne would exceed many of them. The Helodyne has a four-person seating capacity, large enough for many families and/or friends. Light Sport Aircraft are restricted to two-person seating. The Helodyne exceeds the Light Sport Maximum speed in cruise! Of course, the Helodyne meets the Maximum stall speed, by having a no stall speed!

The problem with Light Sport is it is just “sport”. As one article put it, “Call it fun. Call it a thrill. But don't praise its utility. Hawkins throws arguments about GA's role as a business tool out the window.” AOPA 2009 Summit News This is from Kirk Hawkins, the CEO of ICON Aircraft, a light sport manufacturer that is trying to remake the aviation market. If a light sport manufacturer admits that these aircraft have minimal utility, obviously there must be something to it. The article continues with, "He says general aviation manufacturers have lost touch with the things that make flying unique and attractive and the key to the industry's future is the LSA category." We agree with him on the first half.

The goal of the Helodyne is Maximum Utility with Sport Fun and it delivers. Why settle for minimal utility, when you can have both, at a price typically far less than a Light Sport aircraft.

For a synopsis on the Light Sport limitations, visit Sport Pilot Synopsis

For additional Light Sport information, visit the EAA at EAA Sport Pilot and the AOPA at AOPA Sport Pilot

Top of Page


Why is the Helodyne so easy to fly?

A similar rotor control system was successfully flown by an aviation mechanic with no previous helicopter training, so you know it is easy to fly. The Helodyne goes even further than that by providing a unique rotor system that furthers eases the pilot workload.

Top of Page

Do I need a pilot's license to fly the Helodyne?

Yes. You will be required to have a helicopter pilot's license.

Top of Page

Do I need a helicopter pilot's license to fly the Helodyne?

Yes. You will be required to have a helicopter pilot's license.

Top of Page

Is the Helodyne an autogiro or gyroplane?

No. The Helodyne is a true helicopter. It can take off and land vertically as well as hover.

Top of Page

How much does the Helodyne Cost?

As already mentioned, the Helodyne will be sold as a kit. This will be a complete kit, with all components needed to create a fully operational Helodyne helicopter, including engine, and VFR instruments. The kit is estimated to sell for under $70,000. Upgrades for IFR instruments and glass panels will be available as well.

Top of Page

How long will it take to put the Helodyne together?

As already mentioned, the Helodyne will be sold as a kit. This will be a complete kit, with all components needed to create a fully operational Helodyne helicopter, including engine, and VFR instruments. The time required to complete the kit is estimated to be between 200 and 300 hours without painting. So one could easily assembly the Helodyne is 2 or 3 months.

Top of Page

Why are there no pictures of the Helodyne on this website?

Under the direction of law firm Thorp Reed & Armstrong, it has been determined that displaying pictures of the Helodyne might jeopardize the ability to secure all patents related to the Helodyne's design. Therefore, there are no "public pictures" of the Helodyne available.

Top of Page

Is the Helodyne a roadable aircraft?

Additional variants of the Helodyne could be "roadable" and therefore it would become a "roadable aircraft," while still remaining amphibious and having VTOL operation. A roadable variant would be heavier than the aircraft described on this website and therefore would not have the same performance with regard to total useful load, therefore you would have to tradeoff between passenger and fuel weight. To adjust for this, the aircraft would have to be loaded with either fewer or lighter passengers for the same fuel or loaded with less fuel resulting in less range. The cruise speed would be similar, but slower than this variant. For less stringent Hover Out of Ground Effect the range and passenger load could be nearly the same.

The freedom afforded by a dual mode vehicle may not be there for many situations. Since 9/11 in the United States of America, security has generally been increased, even at local airports. The potential issue is that many airports have a perimeter control security measure between the "ground side" and the "air side" of the airport. Unless you frequent an airport and apply for a pass (or key, etc.) you could easily find yourself "locked out" from entering the airport or "locked in" from leaving an airport, especially after normal business hours. The thought of just "flying anywhere" especially after normal business hours could easily result in having to sleep in the aircraft or having to fly somewhere else, generally making a very long day of it. Dual Mode vehicles, such as the Terrafugia don't typically talk about this.

Also, for Dual Mode vehicles, when you factor in the time to drive to an airport, get through the gate ground side to airside, taxi, fly at say only 30 mph over the speed limit, enter the airport landing pattern, land, taxi, get through the gate airside to groundside and then drive to your actual destination, you probably haven't saved any time. It could have easily COST YOU TIME!

You can do your own comparison by using the Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) Benefits Exploration website created by NASA Langley and Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) at Georgia Tech. You will probably want to go directly to the Mobility Freedom Credit Exploration Doorstep-Destination Travel Time Analysis portion of the website by selecting Analysis Tools - Mobility Freedom - DD Time. Here you can compare driving times for different travel scenarios, including Dual Mode Personal Air Vehicles. The website has a variety of defaults; unfortunately, you will probably have to change them for your particular case. You can do this by going to the download section and selecting the Web Based Benefits Visualization Tool. Here, to change the inputs, you would select the "Inputs - Input Change" menu at the top of the website.

Please Note: You can change speeds, times, etc. but you can't change the vehicle's name. So the default name will remain the same after your changes.

Some studies, such as An Integrated Decision-Making Framework for Transportation Architectures: Application to Aviation Systems Design by Jung-Ho Lewe have suggested that the additional capabilities afforded by a roadable VTOL aircraft are not worth the additional cost, weight and performance degradation compared to a "single mode" VTOL aircraft.

The Helodyne maximizes utility by not only having VTOL operation, but also adding amphibious VTOL operation. With its’ amphibious VTOL capability, the Helodyne can provide Door-to-Door service for many situations, whether it is to get to the summer home on the lake, a hunting lodge, the fishing cabin, camping on the lake, Grandmother's farm, the rural in-laws, rural friends, river fishing, or other varied destinations including job related remote sites! This allows you to also go to many destinations that would be impossible to drive to, such as an island in the middle of a lake or small ocean islands in the Caribbean.

Ultimately, market interest would drive any roadable development.

Top of Page