Sport Copter, Inc., of Scappoose, Oregon, is back at AirVenture this year with a kit for a two-place gyroplane meant for serious loitering and reconnoitering. Marv Wessel, who has completed his first kit, built it with the express idea of using it in search and rescue operations. His Sportcopter II is equipped with a gimbal-mounted Flir camera for night operations. He added that with a 27-gallon tank and a low-speed cruise burn of around 8 gallons an hour, he can hang out in the sky for quite awhile. The published cruise speed is 100 mph, with a top speed of 120 mph and a takeoff
distance of 50 to 200 feet (with pre-rotation of the rotorblades), depending on the wind. It has an empty weight of 1000 pounds and a gross weight of 1700 pounds.
The gyroplane is equipped with a three-blade MT constant-speed propeller and a 230 horsepower Lycon modified IO-360 Lycoming engine. The rotorblades, made at the kit factory specifically for this aircraft, are assembled to the rotor system, and test flown for each kit before being disassembled for shipment to the builder. "That takes the guesswork out of mounting the mast and rotor system for the builder, and it means we at the factory know that each aircraft will have proper rigging of this critical assembly," says Jon Dailey, technical specialist with the company. "The rotorblades have a shear strength of 5 tons per square inch—they won't break," he says.
The unique, shock-absorbing landing gear includes a variable valve system to adjust to drop-ins and rough landings. The nosegear is full castering, and the mains sport independent hydraulic disk brakes activated by classic toe pedals connected to rudders that are fully (and independently) adjustable to accommodate pilots of different heights.
The kit is available during AirVenture for $64,995 USD, which includes all construction components except the engine and propeller, and avionics. Normal kit cost is $69,995. For more information visit www.sportcopter.com.