RotorWay unveils production Eagle 300T turbine trainer

 - August 28, 2009, 7:30 AM

RotorWay in late July unveiled a new production turbine trainer helicopter that it claims will be the world’s most efficient. The Eagle 300T will be powered by a Rolls-Royce RR300B1 engine, similar, but not identical, to the engine used in the Robinson R66. RotorWay CEO Grant Norwitz said the new helicopter would cost “more than a Robinson R22 and less than a Robinson R66” but declined to reveal an exact price. Company officials said they expect the 300T to fly early next year, followed by certification before the end of 2011. The company is currently taking $5,000 deposits on the aircraft.

Preliminary specifications for the 2,050-pound two-seater include a 1,100-pound useful load, 110-knot maximum cruise speed, 80-gallon fuel capacity, two-hour endurance with 30-minute reserve and 13,000-foot ceiling. The helicopter is expected to have enough reserve power to be used for a variety of training operations, including cargo slinging.

RotorWay, which until now has built only helicopter kits, claims 2,400 of its helicopters are in operation worldwide. The Arizona-based company says production of the 300T will likely remain “somewhere in Arizona,” although it currently produces five assembled models of its A600 Talon kit helicopter in South Africa. Its Chandler, Ariz. plant ships 120 kits per year, approximately 40 percent of them destined for the export market.

A second production line could be set up for the helicopter in South Africa, Norwitz said.

Norwitz also said the declining availability of 100LL avgas outside the U.S. drove RotorWay to enter the turbine market. A spokesman for Rolls-Royce said the engine maker has memoranda of understanding to provide the RR300 to three other helicopter OEMs besides RotorWay and Robinson, but has yet to convert those to firm contracts. RotorWay’s deal with Rolls-Royce runs through 2017.

RotorWay had already moved to offer production-type options on its piston-powered A600 Talon kit helicopter, including EVS-100 enhanced vision, all-glass cockpits and Fadec.