Among the many services that Rotor F/X offers from its Van Nuys, Calif., headquarters, the company’s helicopter shipping service is probably of most interest for Heli-Expo attendees. Rotor F/X (Booth No. 3105) also provides helicopter and fixed-wing flight training, helicopter maintenance, air tours, aerial photography and even assembly of kit helicopters such as the Mosquito ultralight and other kit-built rotorcraft.
When it comes to shipping, Rotor F/X can handle every aspect of moving a helicopter out of the U.S., according to company owner Jay Carlson, including the certificate of airworthiness and other paperwork, disassembly, crating, shipping and reassembly at the destination. While smaller helicopters such as Robinson R22 can fit into one large and one small crate, larger helicopters need to be bolted onto specialized rails then placed into containers. Rotor F/X makes its own lightweight aluminum rails in its welding shop, and customers can either buy the rails or send them back to Rotor F/X for reuse. “We also make towbars, carts, rigs, jigs, anything aluminum,” said Carlson.
Rotor F/X doesn’t bring samples of the Mosquito helicopters to its Heli-Expo booth, because the booth isn’t large enough and the show’s attendees aren’t really the right market for an ultralight helicopter, Carlson explained. He does bring the Mosquito to local schools to show kids the mechanical coolness of helicopters and to stimulate aeronautical interest in students in technical and engineering programs.
Although Rotor F/X isn’t a dealer for the Mosquitos, the company will gladly build whatever model a customer desires. The choices range from the barebones ultralight Air model, which is powered by a 64-hp two-stroke engine, to the turbine-powered XET, powered by a Solar T62-2A1 engine. The ready-built Air sells for $41,500, including engine, while the turbine XET costs $55,000, plus $10,000 to $15,000 for the engine. A $2,000 discount is available for helicopter pilots or buyers who have logged at least 10 hours of dual helicopter instruction.
To prepare a buyer to fly the Mosquito, Carlson prefers to give the fledgling pilot 10 hours of focused training in hovering, quick stops and low-level maneuvering in a certified helicopter. This helps the new pilot get to the point where he or she can hover the Mosquito and practice for more hours before returning for training on advanced maneuvers. “The Mosquito flies a lot like a Schweizer 300,” he said, “in terms of its feel. It’s peppy, but flies at a much slower pace.”