CH-7 Kompress, Kompress, Italian helicopter, Barbero, Glenn Ryerson, Helicopter, Kit helicopter, home built helicopter

Sport Helicopter & Pilot
Global Information Exchange

Turning world
My 2 cents on the
Mighty Kompress

Written with great thought n difficulty in the Winter n Spring, 2,oo1
Posted July 4th, 2oo1

.......Official USA Time, Hawaiian - Alaskan - Pacific                                                                      MountainCentral - Eastern - Caribbean

I/SHnPGIE has been receiving perhaps more eM on this one single helicopter (the CH-7 Kompress) than any other helicopter (perhaps with the exception of the M5oo) since it's SH's first day on the web in fall of 1996. Candidly, I have started this letter many times since last winter not knowing what to say n how to say it. This being the case, I am just gonna do my best, I am not a writer nor a literary scholar, just a somewhat un educated dude that loves a good helicopter n knows right from wrong.

My wife n one of the barbero boys in their basement shop, fall of 1998

First: Since SHnPGIE is just part of my helicopter addiction / hobby, in order to save time, seems logical to answer all the future eM by posting my thoughts n experience with the CH-7 Kompress in one letter.

Second: PLease realize that many times I have been been accused of being somewhat an un tactfully honest n direst man, please excuse me, this is just one of my many faults.......

Me n my lovely wife at the barbero's heliport near Asti Italy (Asti, as in the wine).

Third: Since everyone's time is limited, I will skip most of the details n cut directly to the chase so to speak.

Ok, w/all that BS out of the way, here we go...........................

I love the CH-7 Kompress and except for a few minor things n 2 big things, I would love to have one........ Perhaps the first reason I like the CH-7 Kompress is that, as many of you know, I was the first CH-7 Angel owne/builder/pilot in the USA back in 1994. The CH-7 Angel is the Kompress's older brother. So far I have 130+ hours on CH-7 Angel n she has been nothing but a well thought out n reliable helicopter with only vary minor imperfections. Happy to say in this 130 + hours, little but routine maintenance was required n lots of reliable low cost maintenance free flying. So naturally the next version would appeal to me.

The second reason I like the Kompress is that I had had the chance to fly it for 20 minuets a few years back . I have actually been told more than once that I am the first American to fly the CH-7 Kompress (big deal)........

Perhaps the biggest reason the CH-7 Angel n Kompress are such a great helicopter is the simple fact that the designer (Augusto Cicare) of the CH-7 line of helicopters spent 35 years (building no less than 6 helicopters, from scratch - CH-7 denotes Cicare's Helicopter # 7) of  his life perfecting the control system used on Angel n Kompress. The control system has lots less moving parts (less to buy/maintain) than traditional swash plate technology. But more importantly, the control system actually makes a small helicopter (generally vary squirreley) vary stable n easy to control.

Me, the host of this web site just moments before my twilit flight.

So, the CH-7 Kompress is just a re engined (4 cycle vs 2 cycle) slightly bigger version of the helicopter I own. The CH-7 Kompress has both a larger main n tail rotor diameter a longer tail boom with a slightly larger diameter tube, a T tail along with, taller down tubes for the skids, a make-shift larger cock pit n controls that will accommodate both occupants.

So, as I said I really like the CH-7 Kompress but as every thing man builds, the CH-7 Kompress is not perfect. So, there are a few small things that I don't like but, in all fairness I understand why they are that way and can easily put up with the little things / inconveniences. However, as I said earlier, there are a at lease 2 major problems that would prevent me from owning one. I will explain this part later, first the minor inconveniences.

Here I am at 100% just moments before pulling pitch in the CH-7 Kompress.

The Cockpit:
I actually like the tandem seating of the CH-7 Kompress, actually to me it is logical to add the additional weight of the second person as close to the longitudinal CG as possible and that is just what they did (since the CH-7 Kompress is balanced to fly solo from the front seat). But, we Americans do enjoy an abundant and economical food supply, so we are not as small as the Italian that converted it from a large single seat cabin to a small 2 seat cabin. Getting 2 American men may not be easy or perhaps possible (nor do I wanna be that close to my buddy either). Remember the CH-7 Kompress seats like a motorcycle or snow mobile. However, for me, not a big deal if some big sweat hog of a friend of mine can't fit in the back, all the more time to devote to taking chicks for a whirl.

Here I had just got skids off the ground.  Since I was already an owner of one of  his craft I remember being a tad dissappointed  realizing how much input
it seemed the president/my instructor felt he needed to add to my inputs.

Duel Controls:
A full set of dual controls the CH-7 Kompress does NOT have. The CH-7 Kompress does however have in a sense a set of dual peddles.

The cyclic is traditional except that just under the pilot's hand grip there is a backwards L tube welded on the right side. This allows the second pilot/instructor/rear seater to reach around and over the pilot/student right shoulder grasp the cyclic.  When I was a lucky US Army solder as a young man station near Frankfort Germany in early 1970, I earned my German A glider license (a solo endorsement) sharing the joy stick of the glider in the same manor with a gentleman named Carl Nagel at a small club glider port at Finthen. It worked good than, so it seems ok now I suspect since there is not enough room to mount a 2nd floor mount cyclic between the front seat n back seat.

In this foto, U may agree with what I said about the un usual,
perhaps dangerous position of the front pilot's left collective arm.

The collective n the throttle portion of the collective are both considerably longer. Just like the cyclic, the collective n throttle are shared by both pilots. During my 20 + - minute flight this arrangement  seemed to be acceptable. However, after looking at fotos and seeing how un normal of a position the front pilot's left arm is as he/she is adding pitch, I just wonder..... On a long flight, with the pilot sitting much further forward, meaning the hinge of  his/her elbow now being much more forward in relationship to where the collective is now hinged to the helicopter, this may be easily become un acceptably uncomfortable on all but short flights. However, I do need to remind you that I only flew it for 20 minuets max.

Rotax 914 Turbo:
I am not up on my Rotax knowledge but I believe it's TBO is only 6oo hours, if  this is true, not too good/long of an engine life in my book.

OK, the above are the minor things I don't care for in the CH-7 Kompress, but all in all, the CH-7 Kompress is still a great bird, just not a perfect bird. However, the there are 2 major things that would keep me from buying one.

I think the US representative of the CH-7 Kompress is selling it for $60,ooo,  add another $15,ooo for the Rotax puts U over 75,ooo big ones. Add tax, paint n radios n who knows what else, you are easily up to 80,ooo, so much Much MUCH better to buy a half time used R22 registered in the FAA's standard category helicopter than any experimental. Partial explanation below.

In the US of A, because of the way experiment's are maintained and inspected ONLY by it's original BUILDER or an FAA licensed A&P mechanic (9 out of 10 chances are that an A&P mechanic will not jeopardize his license / livelihood by signing off  an experimental). The resale of all experimental air craft have always seemed to be considerably less than the original cost of the craft no matter what, easily half at best most often. Now, I must confess to not knowing much about the new "sport aviation" category I have heard FAA noise about, perhaps this is on line n a reality now, I don't know.......

So, if the CH-7 Kompress being licensed in ONLY the experimental category in the USA, this fact prevents it from ever being used for hire. No air tours, no instruction, NADA, just a toy...... So, now that you are thinking about serious money, 80K$ or so,  it may be much more logical to invest the exact same amount of money in a certified craft. A craft that can be used for instruction, air tours ect. BUT much more important, a craft that has a predictable resale/book value.  Also, always remember, U may just have a difficult time finding a CFI willing to risk his/her hard earned ticket allowing you to do un supervised solo solo work in the CH-7 Kompress. But, on the other hand I suspect virtually 90% of all active CFIs would love to receive a fone call asking him/her to sell you instruction in your R22 or B2B/certified bird....

Now the second n for me the clincher why I would not buy a CH-7 Kompress:
The 3 boys in Italy (with the help of their deep pocket father) that purchased the rights to reproduce Augusto Cicare's technology in 1991 or 1992,  which in turn they turned into first the Angel and Kompress as to daTE (11-2OO2) did NOT finish paying the designer. The boys excuse why they did not finish their financial obligation is a lame one at best. They said since fetters didn't have to pay for the technology he stole from Mr. Cicare and used on his Mini 5oo, why should they have to pay.

Well, first off, they agreed to in writing/a contract....   But obviously a vary lame excuse if you know the story of  the M5oo n fetters. As U may know, the M5oo is a vary dangerous n somewhat mechanical nightmare of a helicopter. In contrast, the CH-7 Angel n Kompress are the exact opposite, an easy to build, balance n inexpensive to maintain set of helicopters.

In the early 90s Augusto Cicare not only spent the prior 35 years of his life perfecting this new simplified control system n helicopter, he also spent MONTHS in Italy teaching the 3 boys to reproduce his results successfully. So until the 3 Italian playboys that are living off 2 old men's accomplishments (their father n Augusto Cicare's) accomplishments, pay Mr. Cicare the tens of thousands of dollars they rightfully owe him, I will not have anything to do w/them.......

FYI: I only use the word boys as a noun for these 3 because men pay their bills, boys are irresponsible and don't.

One last FYI: Did you know that the barbero boys were actually the Italian distributor for the Mini 5oo in 1991. The simple fact that not only did Augusto Cicare saved the barbero boys from wasting more time n money on the inferior bird that the helicopter hitler/fetters was peddling. Senor Cicare could have easily saved the life of  the the oldest barbero son since to this day he seems to still believe in completely flight test the craft he is selling. As we all know, the M5 has killed even the most experienced helicopter pilots due to it's design flaws. This one fact alone is easily worth  the barberos fulfilling their financial/contractual obligation to the one man that is so responsible for their success of the company n quite possibly the life of oldest barbero son.

One more disappointment:
I have eMed the US representative that sell the CH-7 Kompress making sure they were aware of the truth. It's difficult to believe that the US rep.,  a designer him self,  knows he is in ways dealing in stolen merchandise but simply says it is "not my concern".

I even offered to advertise the CH-7 Kompress on SHnPGIE but with one important difference, I told him to NOT make the check out to SHnPGIE, make it out to Augusto Cicare n send it directly to Argentina. Don't see any CH-7 Kompress adds on SH do you........... U would think since he too is a designer he would be empathetic to the CH-7 designer's plight, guess money has a larger following.......

Any way, I actually know too too much about the small helicopter industry and am now much less enthusiastic. Example, I met fetters, he not only threatened to sew me twice for only telling the truth, he tried to put the make on my wife. Now that I know how the 3 Italian boys took advantage of  2 old man, one there dad to provide the cash n the other Mr. Cicare than to only partially pay for his life long accomplishments, I have grown a tad cold toward helicopters.

I would love to one day see letters like this n similar comments/letters of yours to the manufacture and or to his representatives to cause Augusto Cicare to only get what is rightfully owed to him. But, since he is now in his mid 60s, someone better hurry up just a tad don't you agree.

Any way, this is ONLY my opinion. However, FYI, it is my personality NOT to be anything but honest n direct, consciously trying to not add anything to a story. Yes, since I still own one of the 3 boys first helicopters I am probably would love the Kompress n would certainly would enjoy having one........ But for the reasons I tried to describe above and even it they were $10,ooo bucks, I would not buy one.  There are lots of other ways to enjoy my hard earned cash that I would feel better spending my money on. Candidly the fact that I need to know I can re sell my old toys at a decent price after I find a new one is also a reality....

So, remember, this is ONLY my opinion, I could easily be full of bull poopie, but I am not but this too is only my opinion.............

Glenn Ryerson,
host of SHnPGIE