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Coaxial Helicopter Makes First Appearance at AirVenture
Barbara A. Schmitz
It’s never been seen at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh before. That could explain why all the grass was worn down around the ultralight coaxial helicopter located in the exhibit area of ultralights on the convention grounds.
The Microcopter SCH-2A, built by a Slovenian company, is U.S. FAR Part 103 compliant and powered by a dual-ignition, two-cylinder, two-stroke gasoline engine, weighs less than 250 pounds, and has contra-rotating coax rotors mounted one above the other that turn in opposite directions.
“Counter rotation cancels out all the torque inherent in the system,” said Mark Rumsey, of RotoTrek, one of two official U.S. sellers of the helicopter, making it easier to fly than conventional helicopters. Looking to lessen his commute to work, Rumsey said he became interested in personal VTOL flight. For 10 years, he searched for an aircraft that would meet his needs. Some were too expensive. Others too complex to fly.
And then, in 2020, he saw a video of the Microcopter flying. Rumsey contacted the company, eventually asking to be a reseller. The SCH-2A sells for about $35,000, plus shipping, which averages about $4,000. Since becoming the official reseller, he’s sold four in six months. The one on display is owned by Travis Reese, of Evansville, Indiana. Reese said it was shipped to his home on June 28, and it took him about four hours to put it together.
Although it is ready to fly, Reese must first complete the recommended 10 hours of helicopter training. For now, it’s stored in his garage.
“I’ve always been obsessed with helicopters,” said Reese, who has been a student pilot but never earned his pilot certificate. “Being an ultralight, and at this price point, it made sense. The coaxial makes it safer and easier to control. And it’s small enough to fit in my garage and easy to maneuver on the ground.”
Although Reese plans to fly for fun, Rumsey said the SCH-2A has many uses. “A rancher could use it to survey the land or check fences,” he said. “You could use these to dry cherries on cherry trees. Or police and fire departments could use it for search and rescue.”
Rumsey, a digital modeler with Kia, has also purchased a Microcopter; it should arrive by November.
“I plan to get trained on helicopters before so I’ll be ready to fly when it arrives,” he said.