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Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Rotorcraft Report: Yoshine Helicopters To Launch Ultralight

Taiwan-based Yoshine Helicopters Inc. will launch a new ultra-light helicopter in mid-2006, according to President/CEO Charles Lin. The new EzyCopter aircraft can be qualifed as either home-built, ultra-light or experimental, meaning it does not need FAA certification, Lin said. The aircraft will come as a kit, with the owner/pilot building more than 50 percent. Initial cost is approximately $30,000, with more than 300 reservations already made for the EzyCopter. "By mid-2006, we want to turn those into full orders," Lin said. As an incentive, the first 100 people to convert a reservation to an order will have $1,800 deducted from the price. However, to be among the first 100, the buyer must already possess "at least a private pilot's license," he said.

The EzyCopter is a single-seat, co-axial, four-bladed twin-engine helicopter, powered by two 2-cycle Hirth engines. Lin said that the EzyCopter is built for growth and within a couple of years the company will have a dual seat aircraft available. Range of the ultra-light will be "about two to three hours," with an airspeed of 54-65 kt., he said.

Yoshine Helicopters is also looking at an unmanned version of the EzyCopter having a 200 lb. payload "which would give it about four to five hours on station," Lin said. Cost for the UAV version, with equipment, would be under $100,000, and one small Asian country has already contracted for an EzyCopter UAV, he said.

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