2012 Rotorcraft Buyer’s Guide

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This is the last of the three aircraft buyer’s guides for 2012. It features rotorcraft and gyroplanes that can be built either from kits or from plans.

We have some 49 designs this year, and among them are a couple of newcomers from Aviomania, the G1sa Genesis Solo and the G2sa Genesis duo two-place design (See Page 32). Magni USA has a new design called the M-24 Side by Side. However, the company is no longer offering the M-14 and M-18. Also, AeroWorks International, Inc., which distributes the Honeybee series is now known as Honeybee G2 LLC (moving it down a few notches in alpha order). CHR International, purveyor of the Safari kit helicopter is now known simply as Safari Helicopter. Groen Brothers has removed its SparrowHawk III gyro kit from production, and Vortech is not offering its Shadow and Sparrow.

There are some things to consider about Light Sport Aircraft eligibility and this particular type of aircraft. Pure helicopters—where the rotor blades are directly driven by the engine—are not approved as LSAs. Gyroplanes—aka Gyrocopters or Autogyros (trade names)—can be built as Experimental/Amateur-Built; currently, there is no such thing as an ELSA gyro. To be eligible, there must be one conforming Special Light Sport Aircraft (SLSA) ship built and approved to kit an ELSA version. For an amateur-built gyroplane to be eligible as a Light Sport, it must meet the other requirements of LSA, including the 138-mph/120-knot maximum level speed and the maximum gross weight of 1320 pounds. Some gyros are heavier than that, and therefore they will not qualify.

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