Rotorway

Two-seat R22 and four-seat R44 helicopters.

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Ger Koff
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Rotorway

Unread post by Ger Koff » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:41 pm

Aren't there any guys out there that have a Rotorway? How can the forum be complete without this little machine?
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Re: Rotorway

Unread post by tanglefoot » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:01 pm

I think they've all crashed........
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Re: Rotorway

Unread post by Whirly » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:14 pm

.......................and the rest,.................................. we are watching them Rottaway.

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Re: Rotorway

Unread post by Pete » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:24 pm

Ger Koff wrote:Aren't there any guys out there that have a Rotorway? How can the forum be complete without this little machine?
Eeeeekkk! Rotaway on the esteemed Uber Robinson thread... :shock: :shock: :wink: :lol:
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Re: Rotorway

Unread post by Rotor kop » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:51 pm

Ger Koff wrote:Aren't there any guys out there that have a Rotorway? How can the forum be complete without this little machine?
Who are you trying to kid here Ger :twisted: We are all knowledgable gangsters and do not like scammers :D
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Re: Rotorway

Unread post by Ger Koff » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:24 pm

I don't have any direct experiance with this type so can't comment on how good or bad they are. I found some guys trashing the Rotorway in another section of the forum. I think it was under "general aviation chatter". They claim none of them have any significant hours on them and as such they must be junk. I would like to hear from someone who has actually owned one and knows the actual costs. The manufacturers claim the running costs are significantly below the R22. New blades are also a fraction of the cost of an R22. I wonder.
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Re: Rotorway

Unread post by Whirly » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:35 pm

Ger Koff wrote:I don't have any direct experiance with this type so can't comment on how good or bad they are. I found some guys trashing the Rotorway in another section of the forum. I think it was under "general aviation chatter". They claim none of them have any significant hours on them and as such they must be junk. I would like to hear from someone who has actually owned one and knows the actual costs. The manufacturers claim the running costs are significantly below the R22. New blades are also a fraction of the cost of an R22. I wonder.
Ger,

You can take TC's word, in the "other section". TC and his dad ownded one and I know a few guys that did. Like I said, I flew in one in 1984 and decided there and then to stay away. I have owned from a R22,Hughes 300C, Bell 47, Enstrom, Jetranger, Hughes 500, Alo II to a Gazelle so I do know a little bit about helicopters. :P

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Re: Rotorway

Unread post by Ger Koff » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:36 am

Whirly

What did you find was problematic with the machine? Have you checked the newer Talon with the shaft driven tail rotor? I went for a flip in one about 3 years ago. It had the optional ACIS (supercharger) and seemed to be ok on power on the reef. It's really only normalized, not boosted. I have also noticed that the price for the Talon is $100 000. The 162F was $67000 but is not available anymore. What I really don't like though is the chain drive. I can believe that maintenance would be pretty high. Also, the component times are not good, but then the spares are cheap. Perhaps there is no such thing as cheap helicopter flying!
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Re: Rotorway

Unread post by Whirly » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:02 am

Ger Koff wrote:Whirly

What did you find was problematic with the machine? Have you checked the newer Talon with the shaft driven tail rotor? I went for a flip in one about 3 years ago. It had the optional ACIS (supercharger) and seemed to be ok on power on the reef. It's really only normalized, not boosted. I have also noticed that the price for the Talon is $100 000. The 162F was $67000 but is not available anymore. What I really don't like though is the chain drive. I can believe that maintenance would be pretty high. Also, the component times are not good, but then the spares are cheap. Perhaps there is no such thing as cheap helicopter flying!
Ger,

Rotorway incorporated a number of aftermarket products that were available, into the new Talon. Like the sprag clutch and tail rotor mods. They did not change the oil bath and it will keep making a mess. In the older Rotorway that kept getting oil onto the tail drive belts, should not be the case with the Talon. The engines never seemed to last, TC and his dad had endless troubles and there is a 3D registered one at the factory in CT now with a blown motor, with only 40hrs total time.

What bugged me most, was that you could buy a fully built, used one with less than 50 hours since new, fitted with radios and all sorts of goodies, for less than the price of a new kit......................why?? Busted dreams maybe?? :? You also never see them fly.

For $100 000 you can buy a used H300C, it might not be new but you will be able to fly it all the time and most important of it all, it will keep it's value! :D

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Re: Rotorway

Unread post by tanglefoot » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:44 am

For USD100,000 you can get a 1/3 share in a R44II, RRL only has about 900hrs TTSN and I saw somewhere that one of her partners wants to sell.

For much less than USD100,000 you can get a 1/4 share in RUT. Although she has 1500hrs she's still a beaut.

Even with a R44 there is much that you don't know as a new buyer and you are pretty much at the mercy of the AMO. We found that just by querying the estimate we can knock off 10% minimum. With a REAL grype we knocked off R8k on a R25k invoice. Makes one wonder. By actively managing the costs I have reduced the maintenance bill from R627/hr (275hrs flown 2008/09) to R367/hr (150hrs flown 2009/10) both excl VAT.

Since buying my share I have learnt that the engine overhaul is 2000hrs whether you like it or not and that AMO's can not do track and balance properly unless you sit in the helicopter with them.
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Re: Rotorway

Unread post by Ger Koff » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:06 pm

Whirly
I agree, you never see them fly. There should be plenty of them around and I've never seen one advertised with more than 200h on it. What is a really appealing however is that many of the component costs (such as blades) are a fraction of the cost of a certified machine. In principle if you can service the machine yourself (since you are self certified because you built it) it should cost a fraction of an R22. Many pilots it seems are only interested in flying and not spanner twirling.
Also, forget insurance. Take the knock, should it happen.
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Re: Rotorway

Unread post by Ger Koff » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:21 pm

Tanglefoot

R375/h sounds like really good rate. Is that with insurance?
As far as track and balance is concerned I have found that the crowd I've used in the past weren't even sure if tab up is blade down or the other way around. Also, using a Chadwick that looks like it came out of the ark! Excuse me sir but is that machine calibrated and do you have a certificate. Maybe I was unlucky.
I've always flown with the guy pointing the strobe out the door, not just a ground run. Balancing is quite a technical subject and I'm not so sure they all understand the physics behind it.
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Re: Rotorway

Unread post by George » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:25 pm

TC wrote:
Whirly wrote:Do you think he/they will listen to you?? :? ..........................btw the Alo II is also NTCA!! :D
There is a HUGE difference between a NEVER certified and NO LONGER certified machine. The Alo II has been around since 1955 and was used by the military. BEEEG difference.

I will never bad-mouth Rotorway or the local agents. All I will do is simply tell the factual truth.

In 175 hours Total time since new, on a PROFESSIONALLY ASSEMBLED MACHINE under the supervision of Rotorway South Africa, we had:

1 Alternator failure
1 Tachometer failure (required replacing)
1 Oil pressure guage failure (required replacing)
1 Water temp failure (required replacing)
3 (three) waterpump failures
5 (Yes FIVE) supercharger belt failures (2 requiring a limited power 'forced landing')
The water reservoir cracked and required repair.

Also.

The engine was opened at 95hrs TOTAL TIME SINCE NEW to replace a piston with a hole in it.
40 hours later, again, same problem.
and 30 hours later again.
The supercharger was replaced.


Then Rotorway advised that they would sell us a reconditioned engine at a discounted price of R120k + VAT + Installation.

We replaced the manifold pressure sensor, throttle position sensor, and barometric sensors all at various stages.

We replaced the battery twice, and the FADECS twice.

Other than this 'unscheduled' maintenance, a Rotorway requires pretty intensive maintenance at 25hr, 50 hr and 100hr intervals. Simple things such as the valves requiring resetting every 50 hours and the MR blade bearings requiring replacement every 100 hours. This means the blades off, and tracking and balancing after re-installation.

The final straw that lead to the aircraft's demise was a tail rotor drive failure.

And all of this work was done by an airforce trained AME who had built a Rotorway himself and maintained 5 of them at one time.

Image

A Rotorway is the prettiest helicopter around. And I will never set foot in one again.
:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

I almost bought a JETEXEC, but my mate TC said NO, so NO IT WAS..... 8-[
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Re: Rotorway

Unread post by tanglefoot » Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:02 pm

Ger Koff wrote:Tanglefoot

R375/h sounds like really good rate. Is that with insurance?
As far as track and balance is concerned I have found that the crowd I've used in the past weren't even sure if tab up is blade down or the other way around. Also, using a Chadwick that looks like it came out of the ark! Excuse me sir but is that machine calibrated and do you have a certificate. Maybe I was unlucky.
I've always flown with the guy pointing the strobe out the door, not just a ground run. Balancing is quite a technical subject and I'm not so sure they all understand the physics behind it.
:) The R367 is just for the normal maintenance 50hrs, 100hrs, 300hrs and 500hrs. It's not a rate, its a COST. Another thing you learn on the fly 8) is that each service has a different requirement, hence a different cost. The 150hrs we flew in 2009/2010 includes a 1500hr service which is probably one of the bigger services of the R44 lifecycle.

Insurance is a fixed cost and we pay for that seperately. Works out at about R9.5k per month split, in our case, 4 ways.

For the last 12 months I can show a fixed cost of about R10,600 per month including hangerage and an variable cost of R1,100per hour including fuel, normal maintenance, landing fees and whatever. All excluding VAT.

On top of that you have to save for the rebuild. Another one of those big unknowns. EVERYBODY has a different idea and nobody can show you an invoice. As I said before I have already discovered that there are TWO rebuilds. The engine at 2000hrs and the rest of the R44 at 2200hrs. Tell me you knew that!! When I get there I'll let you know what the other hidden bits are.
Wings are for fairies. Runways are for models...........................................
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Re: Rotorway

Unread post by Ger Koff » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:58 am

Geez George

That Rotorway summary is scary to say the least. That has really changed my opinion of them. Helicopter flying is hazardous enough without the added risk of an inherently unreliable machine. What's left in the NTCA field? The Safari maybe? Uses an 0-320 or 0-360 and has a TR and MR gearbox and TR shaft drive.
I must say, that Rotorway story scares the crap out of me!

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