It could soon be much easier for the average Joe to fly a helicopter.
Advanced Tactics and Rotor X have teamed up to design a two-seater chopper that caters specifically to rookie aviators. Christened the ATRX-700, the newcomer was inspired by the RotorWay RW7 but has a modern drivetrain and simplified “fly-by-wire” flight controls that make it easier to operate.
The design is in line with a new regulation that the Federal Aviation Administration announced in June. The proposed Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certification (MOSAIC) rule would put helicopters into Light Sport Aircraft category for the first time, thereby enabling new pilots to fly and buy choppers with ease. The proposal is under official review until October, but the perks are already apparent. Most notably, it’s far easier and quicker to hit the skies in a light sport helicopter.
No FAA medical certificate is required to fly the ATRX-700. In fact, anyone with a driver’s license and appropriate training can get the green light. Fliers can be trained by Advanced Tactics at its facilities in Torrance, California at a much lower cost than traditional helicopter instruction. And you only have to notch up 30 hours of flight training before you are free to take off. Advanced Tactics charges $300 per hour for flight training. Alternatively, you can be trained by a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) who is versed in the craft.
The ATRX-700 requires no assembly, either. The chopper is good to go as soon as it is delivered from the factory. Available in a range of hues, the 1,700-pound copter is powered by a turbocharged engine that can churn out about 178 horses. It has a cruising speed of 100 mph (87 knots), a service ceiling of 16,000 feet, and a range of 300 miles. It can also carry can carry 650 pounds.
Advanced Tactics says it will have the first ATRX-700 built and certified by February 2025, unless the FAA regulations are delayed. The helicopter is now available for preorder for $188,000.