ATRX-700 light sport helicopter created in anticipation of FAA rule change
While the FAA reviews new regulations to okay light sports helicopters, aerospace companies Advanced Tactics and Rotor X have teamed up to use military helicopter technology to create a fly-by-wire sport two-seater copter called the ATRX-700.
The world of civil aviation can be divided into two groups. On the one hand, there are the standard work horses of the air, including airliners, transports, helicopters, and small private planes that all operate under stiff regulations and require the pilots to be certified in good health, having undertaken extensive training, and completed a minimum, though large, number of solo flight hours.
On the other are sport and light experimental planes. Used primarily for recreation, these little one- or two-person aircraft are less regulated and require less training because they are restricted in design, weight, speed, altitude, and areas of flight. In the US, these include kit planes, small fixed-wing aircraft, gyroplanes, powered parachutes, and flying trikes.
However, the one aircraft that the US FAA hasn't allowed into the sport category has been helicopters. This changed on July 19, 2023, when the agency announced that its new Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certification (MOSAIC) rule would include helicopters for the first time.
This being an American federal bureaucracy, the ruling hasn't come into effect because it's under official review, but in anticipation of its very likely implementation, Advanced Tactics and Rotor X are stealing a march by introducing their ATRX-700 Light Sport Helicopter.
A two-seater, the ATRX-700 does not require a medical certificate to fly and anyone with a driver’s license can be trained at the maker's factory or by a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) certified for the copter at a much lower cost than traditional helicopter instruction. In addition, it only requires 30 hours of flight training.
One reason for the new rule is advances in avionics that allow the FAA to require that light sport helicopters be equipped with fly-by-wire systems that make the craft easier to fly even in the hands of an inexperienced pilot – which is saying something because helicopter pilots tend to retire early because of the stress.
For the ATRX-700, the partners are building on Advanced Tactic's US Air Force (AFWERX) VTOL pilot-optional aircraft contract, adapting the military technology to civilian use by combining it with the flight systems from the A600 Turbo.
The ATRX-700 has a 180-bhp turbocharged engine, simplified fly-by-wire that does most of the heavy lifting, and a roomy cockpit. Gross takeoff weight is 1,700 lb (770 kg), and it has a cruising speed of 100 mph (160 km/h), a service ceiling of 16,000 ft (10,000 m), can carry 650 lb (295 kg), and a range of 300 miles (480 km).
If you fancy one, the ATRX-700 is available for preorder for US$188,000.
Source: Advanced Tactics