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Classic Aero-TV: Heavenly Helicycle

From 2023 (YouTube Version): Sustained Flight Via Helicycle

Buford John Schramm was a remarkable man. His contributions to aviation—rotary-wing aviation in particular—are myriad and of a significance commensurate with Schramm’s having been inducted into the EAA Homebuilder’s Hall of Fame despite the fact he wasn’t an EAA member at the time of tragic 2006 death.

In addition to founding kit-helicopter manufacturer RotorWay and operating a non-ferrous metal foundry that supplies materials to Bell, Hughes, Sikorsky, and Motorola, Mr. Schramm is remembered for developing the Helicycle—a rotorcraft widely esteemed among helicopter enthusiasts and counted among the world’s preeminent home-built helicopter designs.

Helicycle Ventures, the company by which the Helicycle aircraft is currently produced, aspires to design and produce a new-generation rotary-wing aircraft providing more utility at less cost than any previous helicopter. Helicycle Ventures’ goal, in essence, is to create a single-place high-quality equivalent of the Robinson R-22 for one-fifth the price.

By way of specification, the Helicycle is a sleek, 850-pound (maximum takeoff weight) conventional helicopter powered by a single 150-horsepower Solar T62-32A turbine-engine. The aircraft cruises at a leisurely 82-knots and manages a nine-hundred-foot-per-minute climb rate to an 11,000-foot service ceiling. The machine’s 7.5:1 power to weight ratio—identical to that of the Hughes 500—facilitates a 9,500-foot IGE (In Ground Effect) hover and takeoffs and landings at pressure altitudes greater than nine-thousand-feet MSL.

Helicycle Ventures owner Keith Southard reports that even working at full-capacity, his company is hard-pressed to keep up with demand for its product. Currently Helicycle kit production is booked out six-months in advance.

The basic Helicycle kit retails for $72,000. The price includes the engine, but Helicycle buyers ought budget another ten-thousand-or-so-dollars for flight-instruments, avionics, paint, upholstery, and ancillary bits and bobs.

The Helicycle’s economy and excellent engineering are further evinced by the expedient 450-hours in which first-time builders can expect to complete their aircraft. Once assembled and certified airworthy by a Helicycle Ventures check-pilot, the aircraft’s per-mile operating costs are demonstrably lower than those of a full-sized pickup truck.

Parties interested in learning more about the Helicycle are invited to visit the company’s website.

Aero-TV is a production of the Internationally syndicated Aero-News Network. Seen worldwide by hundreds of thousands of aviators and aviation adherents, ANN's Aero-TV has produced over 5000 aviation and feature programs, including nearly 2000 episodes of our daily aviation news program, AIRBORNE UNLIMITED, currently hosted by Holland Lee. Now in its third decade of operation, parent company Aero-News Network, has the most aggressive and intensive editorial profile of any aviation news organization and has published nearly a half-million news and feature stories since its inception -- having pioneered the online 24/7 aviation new-media model that so many have emulated.

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