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Thu, Mar 07, 2024

Skyryse One Makers Rewriting the Book On Helicopter Design

California Startup Offers Two Touch Panels, a Joystick, and Clean-Sheet Helo Design for $1.8 Million

An irritatingly silicon-valley name and similarly fashion-forward flight deck mark the "Skyryse One", the "world's first production helicopter operated with a single control stick and two touch screens."

The new helicopter model comes courtesy of an LA-based company (Skyryse, of course) looking to bring out a "new era in flight" where "piloting any aircraft is simple and safe". In typical Cali fashion, the biggest impediment to easy flying? Software! As such, the firm is developing its very own proprietary operating system, SkyOS, which will "offer simplified control and an aircraft-agnostic, triply-redundant fly-by-wire system." Thanks to the new OS, "It's no longer just a helicopter – it's now the most integrated, elevated, and simplified aircraft in the world" the firm brags. How do they do it? Well, by doing away with all that fuddy-duddy old hardware that's holding aircraft back today, or in their own words: "by replacing the decades-old mechanical controls and removing hundreds of potential points of aircraft failure, Skyryse was able to completely rethink cockpit design from a blank slate to build something entirely new."

"The Skyryse One might look familiar on the outside, but the similarities to any other aircraft end there", says Mark Groden, Founder & CEO of Skyryse. "Since the invention of vertical flight, pilots have juggled four controls simultaneously, using both hands and both feet just to keep it airborne - until today."

They give a rundown of all the many luxuries brought about by the "highly-automated SkyOS system", like "a true full four-axis flight control system flown with our SkyOS operating system and fly-by-wire", "Dynamic Envelope Protection, Fully Automated Autorotation, Auto-Pickup and Set-Down, and Hover Assist. Even better, lengthy checklist-driven startup procedures are completely replaced by simply swiping across the touchscreen - just like our very reliable, never-aggravating smartphones! 

(This of course is more Bay-Area insularity at hand, the overhead switches and complex flight deck account for the majority of the appeal of rotary-wing aircraft to the non-pilot, cutting out that complexity is expecting a Prius to draw away Corvette buyers)

The Skyryse One will be fully certified for Instrument Flight Rules, "at half the cost of an IFR-certified helicopter". Exactly how that will happen for a totally new, clean-sheet design is an unknown, but maybe they'll save a whole lot of money on those "complex mechanical controls" they keep talking about. 

The price tag at the moment, for the "First Edition" (typical) aircraft sits at $1.8 million, excluding any options added on. Cost to later customers will remain fluid based on "position in line and production timing.". Deposits today sit at $2,500 for a basic buy in, and are refundable but non-transferrable. For those who don't believe an 8-year-old Los Angeles startup can rewrite the book on helicopter design, development, and production, a simulator will be brought out to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for AirVenture 2024.

FMI: www.Skyryse.com

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