Tuesday, March 21, 2006



I would love to learn to fly a helicopter but it costs way too much. The AirScooter is (almost) within reach as it costs the same as a low-end sports car at about $50.000. The great news is that it classifies as an "ultralight" plane so there is no need for an expensive pilots licenses to fly it. It is as simple to drive fly as a motorcycle and will be available for purchase later this year.

In man's quest for personal flight, people throughout history have wanted to experience the joy and thrill of moving freely above the ground, to hover or move at will (view History of Rotor Craft). People want to FLY, but opportunities are limited due to the cost and often complex regulations associated with general aviation not to mention the inconvenience of having to drive to and from an airport. Other flying opportunities (e.g. hang gliding, ultralight airplanes, powered parachutes and other forms) are attractive only to a limited audience. In today's mobile, recreationally oriented society many owners of ATV's, off-road motorcycles, PWC's, snowmobiles, boats, PPCs, ultralight aircraft and other recreational vehicles want to get off the ground. AirScooter is a new kind of VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) craft designed for personal enjoyment. It qualifies under ultralight FAR Part 103 for single person personal flight. Like the flying pods in Star Wars, the AirScooter scoots about with intended operation below 50 feet or so.

Built around a strong composite torque-box airframe, the overall height of the AirScooter is 11 feet with a width of 7 feet and a length of 12.5 feet (does not include rotor blade length). The 14 foot diameter rotors have extruded aluminum blades. Flight speed is estimated to range from hover up to 55 knots carrying approximately 350 total pounds of useful load while utilizing a 5 gallon fuel tank providing approximately two hours of flight time. Standard instrumentation includes digital readouts for fuel level, altitude and air speed conveniently located between the grips of the handlebar controls. These performance specifications are engineering estimates that are corresponding well with final phase engine testing that is currently taking place.

For more information; AirScooter Photo & Video gallery, FAQ


  1. I want one, but I need to know how it does at altitude, like about 10,000 feet.



  2. I am a retired helicoter pilot with over 10.000 hours experience in many types of rotary wing craft.

    This helicopter has fixed pitch (does not have collective pitch control) - in the event of engine failure, the high drag on the fixed pitch rotor blades will cause them to slow down rapidly (this typically takes around two seconds), lift will be lost, and pilot plus machine will free fall to earth.


    Do not take it out of a low hover, or , if the noise stops, you will die, or be seriously injured.

    Products like this should be outlawed, as the manufacturers blurb implies that personal flight is easy, convenient and safe. No way. Aviation is terribly unforgiving of fools, and only a fool would risk his life in this device.

  3. Thanks for the warning.

    AirScooter is working on the safety issue (from the FAQ): The AirScooter is designed for the recreational sport flyer and as such does not auto-rotate. The AirScooter is designed for recreational flying at low altitude where even traditional helicopters have little benefit from auto-rotation. Design efforts have been done on a ballistic emergency chute for the AirScooter.

  4. I appreciate that, at low level, ( 10 to 20 feet height) it is almost impossible to enter true autorotation in a conventional helicopter. BUT, the ability to reduce collective pitch rapidly is vital in order to prevent rapid rotor rpm decay.

    I had an engine failure in a Bell 47 helicopter some years ago, whilst crop dusting. I was about 15 feet above ground at a speed of 45 mph. I just had time to reduce pitch, flare hard to slow down, then cushion the hard landing by pulling on max pitch again. I walked away from the wreck. Without a collective pitch control, my rotor rpm would have reduced to almost zero within 3 or 4 seconds, and I would not be here to write this comment.

    I seriously doubt if a safety parachute, if developed for the AirScooter, would have time to deploy from a low height engine failure.

    I don´t want to be devil´s advocate on this matter, but the AirScooter is inherantly dangerous in it´s present form. It has an unproven engine, in an unproven airframe - always a deadly combination.