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Rotor Way

This Page was created
Saturday, December the 28th, 1996
UpDated April. 3rd, 2,oo3

Pro Drive's Turbin Rotor Way

Posted Dec 27, 2oo2

this is going to be a long post so if you're really not interested, please move on.

to start i have about 400 hours in the rotorway. worked for the factory and will not slander them but the truth will be reveiled.

The rotorway is a good ship:
1) easy to fly (respectfully), similar to an R22 but actually easier to hover because they use cables versus push-pull tubes (adds a little more resistence)

2) Damn its fun,it will actually make a real pilot out of you having to roll on throttle and roll off throttle with EVERY collective move--this is great as you move to larger ships (turbines) and you have a low side or high side gov failure you will have actually flown that way in the smaller birds.

3) people will say, "it only has a rubber band for a tail rotor." True- but in all the time i had in them NEVER had a problem as long as you do a great preflight make sure they are tight and if they start to slip slowly roll off the throttle and set it down. ie hover auto

Now for the bad part..........

1) You would be better off buying a used robinson. period. the resale is alot
better. a friend had close to 90k in his and built it himself. little things add up. he could only get 40k out of it. he would have had a medium time ship (r22) for 90k. Look at everyone selling them....

2)they are maintenance hogs. for every hour you fly plan on working on it 2. ive flown robinsons from coast to coast (ferrying) with no prob and wouldnt fly the rotorway further than i could walk.

as an A&P you'll understand some examples:

first they use electric dual boost pumps, if the alternator, then batterys run low, no fuel pressure... engine quits-- unlike a O-320 has mechanical, and has mags to keep the spark going

the drive system is sooo out of date and non effiecient its not funny, no i mean its really not funny. from the engine uses pulleys and belts, fine no problem so does robinsons, but then it goes to this shaft to a chain (yes like a motorcycle) sunk in oil and an oil bath RIGHT ABOVE THE EXHAUST.

Additionally, the blades have ZERO blade twist we both know the blades need and require neg blade twist robinson -8, 206 -10 etc etc etc the performance of this thing is truly awful, the spent alot of money on this

"FADEC" its not a "FADEC" its basically just computerized ign like in new cars. the engine is a porche knock off solid lifters that have to adjusted (major pain in the ass) every 25 hours (adj my fair share on race cars and other equipment these hardest ever)

im tired of typing but one more. Do not believe the sales reps that say it has robinsons performance lie lie lie the robinson hp model (very old) has more power. this thing will not safly get you into or out of a hole on the best day possible-- its basically just like auto gyro needs room to take off and more room to land.

speaking of autos, it autos okay have done my fair share of real life scare the hell out of you autos. always spreads the gear the factory says its a design feature bullshit robinsons ca do full down rotorway and its geniuses say the designed it that way,whatever, its because the front cross tube "floats" and the fwd attachment point angle back unlike every other helicopter which is almost perpendicular or angled forward.

hope this helps good luck and please fly this thing safe ive lost 3 people i know in these things (rotorways)

Anoomously yours, ?

My 2 Cents:

A.    I have heard the RW factory will NOT give instruction in their customers. If this is true, to me this means there are too many areas a builder can make lethal building mistakes that can not be detected on detailed inspection or durring a normal pre flight inspection. To me this is scary...

B.    The factory building instructions profess the tail rotor to be powered by 3 long, single V belts run in series, not parallel. More scarry stuff to me.........

C.    The archaic chain drive mentioned above has one more scary attribute, the dam this is mounted HOROZONTLAY. In leval flight, only one G is ALWAYS trying to de rale the chain due to it being mounted horozontaly.............. However, don't the G loads increase when in a turn? Think it does, Big time........  More scary stuff that should have been designed out of in the past 1o/2o or so years.

However, for what ever minute value it may be worth.  To me the Rotor Way designers did a wonderful job designing the appearance of their kit. I still feel the RW is possibly one of the best looking kit helicopters available today, but didn't our moms warn us that beauty tiz often only skin deep? My late mum sure warned me..........

Glenn Ryerson, host of SHnPGIE

For RotorWay Helicopter
Owners and Enthusiast
Courtesy  of  John Pohlman

Keep up to date with the latest information on
Rotorway Helicopters email
Phone 410-857-4338

Rotor Way Owners List

RotorWay - Pro Drive

Hello RotorHeads,

The time has come to sell my bird due to a new job that leaves me no time for at least 2 years... meaning I'd rather have someone enjoy this project than no one.  I'll buy another one later.

This is a 162F with the New FADECS (Feb '97 Kit)
All Videos/Manuals etc.
Frame done...on Skids
Body Nearly Complete
Boom Done, Vert./Hor. Stabs done
Rotorhead Mounted and Leveled
HeliPac Included
Standard Kit...No Mods

Best Offer over $48,000 Gets It!

Located in San Francisco area of California.

Robert Noakes
(925) 634-4948

Rotor Way's Super Charger Press Release

John Rahn's Rotor Way Progress
Rotor Way Caution

If  I can save one other RW-162 owner the hassle, good.  I attended the Rotorway training in Jan of '98, and at that time, purchased the latest version of their engine manual, for the Exec 90.  It was dated 1991.  I never got any changes mailed to me, so I believed it to be current.

On pg 5, the valve cover retention bolts are depicted as requiring 84" lbs torque.  I bought a good torque wrench, and proceeded to torque the bolts to exactly 84" lbs, following some routine maintenance (I had about 130 hrs on it, so I wasn't inexperienced).

The test flight went ok, until the postflight inspection when I saw oil all over the ship. I traced it back to two cracked valve covers,  Called Tom Smith (a genuine font of knowlege, and all-round good guy), and he told me they'd changed that torque spec; now you only tighten those bolts until the washer touches the valve cover.

It would've been nice if they'd sent out a change or service bulletin.  But, in their defense, he did volunteer to ship me 2 new valve covers.  They're a good (just not perfect, tho' who is?) company.

4000 hr US military instructor pilot/pilot examiner

Belt Replacement Mod.
for  all
Rotor Way Exec Series

Ron Curry's
RotorWay Home Page

Ken's Rotor Way Exec 162F

Bob Fiorenze's Exec 90

        Tue, 6 Oct 1998 17:16:27 -0700

I don't know how long ago this question was raised, but you asked about what Rotorway was working on.  Based on my knowledge of the company, they are ultra conservative, and are sticking with their successful business model.

I saw their 4 place turbine prototype, but they scrapped the plans for this production bird due to high cost.  I am not aware of any powerplant changes, or body changes on the 162, and this is after much urging on my part to compete with the Revolution's of the world.  The bottom line, Rotorway is the finest available, and I understand why they don't need to change.  I
have even considered creating a line of optional bodies on my own.....Hughes 500, Jet Ranger, Bell 222 etc., but the reality is that the factory wouldn't support those pilots any more than the ones messing with the engine.

I made my own modification to the doghouse and improved the lines considerably, but even that goes against the grain of the company.  They are very proud of the autorotation transition abilities and don't want to mess with a good thing.  Stretch is a smart guy, and a great pilot, and I respect his knowledge and ability.
My 2 cents.......Robert Noakes

RotorWay International ......................Rotor Way's. Web Sight
4140 W.Mercury Way
Chandler, AZ 85226 USA
Phone 602-961-1001
Fax 602- 961-1514

Turbine Powered Exec

Foto essay on building a 162F                  Winter    1998
by Allen Grimpe
Allen Grimpe's Progress with his Rotor Way          Summer 1998

Homer Bell, Rotor Way Builder's Consultant & Helper
(with 15 years experience and over 5oo hours on his Exec)

Ron Greenaway, Rotor Way Instructor Pilot

RotorWay For Sale or Wanted to buy

Info Request:
I would like some unbiased articles on the RW Exec 162. Does anyone know what RW is working on? Perhaps a turbine version and or gearbox/shaft TR drive. Please eM me, Derek Ferris.

Dear RotorWay customer,

I know some of you as prior students at RotorWay, however, my services are available to anyone owning a RotorWay, Robinson R22,  or a Schweizer 300.

In July 96, I began instructing at RotorWay, responsibilities included flight/ground instruction and the maintenance course.  I am currently flying for Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters on a 4/3 schedule.  I am interested in helping the RotorWay pilots who can not find an instructor familiar with
this aircraft in their local area.

I highly recommend factory training at RotorWay.  This is were you will see  the new products, hear commonly asked questions, and benefit from 30 years of experience.   Customers who will benefit most from my services have already attended Phase I at RotorWay and are looking for additional flight
or ground training brought to them.

The fee is extremely low in comparison, and just some of the benefits of my services are:
1. One-on-one instruction.
2. Not having to leave your business behind for a week.
3. As much flight time as needed, not 7.5 hours.
4. I have trained many students in a Professional FAR  141 environment.

Below is the pricing schedule.  Some rates are negotiable; depending on
location, advanced notice, flying conditions or services sought (ie.Instructing autorotations compared to just hovering).
·$250/day (unlimited flight hours).  That breaks down to $30/hour, (that is single-engine land prices).
· Airfare to and from (only reputable air-carriers will be accepted).
· Housing accommodations.
· The basic fee doesnít cover any assisted maintenance,  my A&P is unavailable for experimental sign
· The aircraft MUST have already been inspected by an FAA official and have the proper ..documentation.
· Once at your facilities, the fee is non-refundable if the helicopter is "unable" to fly.  Including
..airworhiness, documentation, scheduled maintenance, and other conditions which would violate any

I look forward to hearing from any of you who would be interested in obtaining instruction in your area.  Iím at the canyon Sunday-Wednesday, until November at which time I will be available full time.  It is in your best interest to have the aircraft in top performance before the scheduled weekend.  For example, if your drive chain has 10 hours left, it might be a good idea to replace it before I arrive in case we want to fly more than that.

Referrals are appreciated and will be used as a basis for discounted rates.
To schedule flight time call 602-275-3326 or email me at


Todd Carroll

The update to accident report LAX/97LA197 makes *very* interesting
reading (see - copy below) (The preliminary report is in your list of accident reports and in your Rotorway section).  Note also the full narrative is available from theNTSB site.

NTSB Identification:
LAX97LA197. The docket is stored in the (offline) NTSB Imaging System.
Accident occurred MAY-31-97 at PHOENIX, AZ
Aircraft: Rotorway 162F, registration: N176BT
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

While inbound to an airport, the pilot transmitted "mayday" twice, but did not state the nature of the emergency. Witnesses saw the helicopter spin 4 to 5 revolutions, then it stopped spinning & fell to the ground. Reportedly, the rotors stopped turning before ground impact. Exam of the helicopter revealed the pivot bolts & brackets for the tail rotor drive assemblies had been overtorqued, & the pivot belts had no lubrication on the bolts or associated surfaces. The tail rotor drive belt was found frayed & shredded. Both idler pulleys & their associated mountings had not been constructed or installed correctly. A tail rotor belt advisory bulletin from Rotorway advised that temperature strips be installed on the 2 tail rotor idler pulleys & the drive pulley. It required an exam of the temperature strips before & after each flight, & it cautioned that if the 170-degree dot darkened, that was an indication that a belt may be slipping or some other problem existed; & if the 180-degree dot darkened, the belts had been damaged from heat & must be replaced. Temperature dots on this helicopter indicated the temperature had exceeded 200 degrees. The owner/builder was instructed to visually check the travel of the idler pulley swing arm, condition of the drive belts, condition of the pulleys & bearings, & temperature strips during preflight inspection. Visual inspection revealed no evidence that the inspection door had ever been opened, since the original paint seal had never been broken.

Probable Cause:

The owner/builder incorrectly installed the tail rotor drive pulley mounting scissors, overtorqued the pivot belts, did not perform the required maintenance lubrication of the pivot belts, and failed to perform adequate visual maintenance checks of these areas during the pre/postflight checks; the resultant overtemperature on the pulley idlers; eventual catastrophic failure of the drive belts; and the pilot's failure to maintain rotor rpm during autorotation, which resulted in loss of aircraft control and subsequent collision with the terrain.

NTSB Identification: LAX97LA197

Accident occurred MAY-31-97 at PHOENIX, AZ Aircraft: Rotorway 162F, registration: N716BT Injuries: 1 Fatal.

On May 31, 1997, at 0705 hours mountain standard time, a Rotorway model 162F, N716BT, collided with the ground following an emergency descent at the Deer Valley Airport, Phoenix, Arizona. The aircraft was destroyed by the impact and postcrash fire. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The aircraft was being operated as a local flight under 14 CFR Part 91 when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a VFR flight plan was not filed. The flight originated at Deer Valley Airport at 0620. According to initial reports from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control Tower, the pilot declared an emergency while inbound to the airport by transmitting "mayday" twice. The nature of the emergency was not made clear. There were several witnesses to the emergency descent and crash sequence. The first eyewitness interviewed stated that he was situated directly across the field from the accident site. He said he was watching the helicopter during the initial descent. He stated that approximately 300 feet above ground level, the helicopter began to spin around. He estimated that it made about "four to five revolutions." He said it stopped spinning and then it began to "fall." He stated he could hear the helicopter hit the ground "pretty hard." He contacted Westwind Aviation on the field to notify them of the accident. They reported that the crash had already been reported to the appropriate authorities. This eyewitness stated that he thought the pilot would "be able to save it." He further stated that the helicopter was approximately 150 feet above ground level when it stopped "corkscrewing and fell straight to the ground." He said that it seemed like the pilot was "goosing" the motor when it started spinning. The second eyewitness was interviewed at the scene by an FAA Operations Inspector who conducted the initial on-scene investigation at the request of the Safety Board. The eyewitness reportedly told the FAA inspector that the aircraft "pitched way up and then down at least thirty degrees." She noted that the engine was sputtering. She also observed that the rotors had stopped turning prior to impact with the ground. The same FAA inspector contacted the Designated Examiner who reportedly gave this pilot his Private Pilot checkride. He reportedly told the FAA inspector that initially, he wanted to flunk this pilot during his checkride due to "the pilot's lack of judgment." He stated that the pilot had been "abusing" the engine of the helicopter by hooking a turbocharger up to the engine. He further stated that the pilot had gotten himself into the height velocity curve while flying the aircraft and had been known to fly under power lines.

We would like to enlarge the RotorWay segment.
Please contribute fotos and text via one of the methods
mentioned on SHnPGIEmain page
Thank You............

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