General Aviation. Direct & Unfiltered.

Rotorway's A-600 Talon: First of a Breed, Best of a Tradition

RotorWay’s new helicopter was unveiled at AirVenture 2007, the first craft to be produced at the 40-year-old company’s new factory, and the result of RotorWay’s veteran workers and private ownership.

“The A600 Talon is the first of a new generation of RotorWay machines, built on a tradition of delivering on our promises,” said CEO Grant Norwitz, as the machine went through its paces for the cameras early in the Arizona morning of the fifth of July. “With our new facilities, our new programs, and our commitment to establishing an atmosphere in which certification of future designs will be fulfilled, the Talon exemplifies the spirit of RotorWay: strong traditions and fresh thinking.”

The A600 Talon is similar in many ways to its predecessor, the Executive 162F, but so many improvements were made in the design, and so much has improved in the underlying processes, that it truly is a new model. Featuring improved processes throughout, the Talon’s performance and safety are increased in significant ways over the now-discontinued Executive.

The A600 Talon is a top-to-bottom redesign, incorporating many customer-initiated requests, plus advanced electronics, engineering, and convenience items. For instance, the cockpit is now all-glass, with a factory-wired harness; the secondary FADEC is now a clone of the primary, so that any failure of the primary circuitry will be imperceptible to the engine (thought the pilot will, of course, be informed); the 162’s primary drive chain (that required replacement every 100 hours) is replaced by a heavy-duty cog belt that should last ten times that long. Further improvements are found in the tail rotor drive system, where you’ll see gearboxes and a driveshaft rather than chains or belts.

Useful load remains well over 400 pounds, including a 100-pound luggage compartment; economy cruise is a practical 85mph and fast long-distance cruise has already been demonstrated at 100, with the doors off! The landing gear is 10 inches wider, 10 inches longer, and 7” higher than the 162’s, bringing improvements in strength and stability, while offering greater accessibility below, where an optional accessory luggage pod can ride.

Processes and controls are designed into the new Talon’s manufacture in Rotorway’s new factory, specifically as part of the company’s plan to develop and deliver a certified helicopter, its first. The A600 Talon is to be built in the new facility, on the new line, under the new processes that are being set up and proven to enable the certified machine to follow as early as 2011. Processes, materials, and documentation on the experimental, owner-built A600 Talon are designed to segue into the processes and controls to be used on the future certified machine. The result is that the Talon will be built to certifiable standards, of certifiable materials and with certifiable processes and controls – and yet will be sold at kit prices.

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First customer deliveries are set for late 2008, at a release-date price of $97,500 F.O.B. Chandler, AZ.