CH-7 Angel Kit Helicopter Owners Report
CH-7 Angel Kit Helicopter Comments
The CH-7 Angel has a few unique features that seem to set it ahead of the pack.
First: The EliSport Team designed the airframe to have both a pressure gage and inlet port. This unique feature allows the pilot to check for any crack ing of the air frame by noting the continued nitrogen (an inert and dry gas) pressure in the air frame during pre flight.
Second: Asymmetrical/Composite main rotor blades. An Asymmetrical air foil is a more efficient airfoil than design than a symmetrical air foil.
Third: Also, one more important feature the EliSport company has included or perhaps not included in the CH-7 Angel’s main rotor blades, they only paint the tip and root. The owners of EliSport explained to me that by not painting the blades one can hold a shop light behind one side of the blade and easily check the blades structural integrity by looking through the translucent blade. EliSport went on to explain that paint a blade could possibly hide important/lethal changes in the blade as they age. Kind of like bondo and new paint on a used car.
Forth: Using electrical fans on the CH-7 Angel’s cooling system that are thermostatically controlled to only rob power from the engine when needed. A mechanical fan or fans are constantly drawing some what critical power from the engine that could be used to propel the helicopter. The mechanical system (one would think) also causes a slightly longer warm up time. Also, having the engine only partially enclosed aids in cooling the Angel’s power plant.
Fifth: Lower center of gravity and over all height. This feature should lessen the chance for dynamic roll over on the CH-7 Angel along with allowing the Angel to be stored in garages with lower door and ceiling heights.
Sixth: The tail boom on EliSport’s CH-7 Angel is supported by an A frame structure and only 3 feet of tail boom protrudes beyond the support.
Seventh: The cockpit and canopy layout of the CH-7 Angel give superb/pano ramie visibility not to mention the fighter pilot like feel one gets when flying an Angel.
Eighth: Since the CH-7 Angel’s canopy is hinged in the nose and swings forward, the pilot can step up on the scat and closely inspect the rotor head with out a ladder.
CH-7 Angel Kit Helicopter Owners Report
I own a CH-7 Angel, her name is Miss Nina and at this time (June 18,1996) she has 63.6 hours on her. I ordered her from the factory in Torino Italy sometime in July of 1994. I actually received her in a 4 1/2 by 4/12 by 10 1/2 foot long wooden crate around the end of the same month, all the way from Italy (with a slight detour to Chicago).
She took about 2 months/200 hours to go from that heavy wooden box full of parts, to the shiny new, sleek and sexy (I have been told that all parents think there children are beautiful) piece of Italian mechanical flying art work called the CH-7 Angel helicopter.
Construction was straight forward, nothing really technical. The manuals were adequate, but not perfect. The only welding to be done was the muffler mounting brackets and heat shield (the factory never sees the muffler). The Angel is an assembly kit, there actually is no fabrication to be done other than the muffler brackets.
I ended up painting her fiberglass body parts yellow, the tail boom and frame black (because the frame is charged with pressurized nitrogen gas in order to check for cracks, I saw no need to paint the frame a light color in order to easily check for problems manually/optically).
Aside from the yellow and black, I ended up Jet Hotting (an almost chrome like, heat resistant coating that with stands up to 1,100 degrees f in temperature) the 4 gear legs, the tail rotor pedals and cyclic along with the muffler. Now looking back and seeing how virtually all other Rotax mufflers I have seen to date look old and rusty after only a few hours, I am extremely pleased with the Jet Hot process.
I must candidly admit that I didn’t do it (assemble her) alone, I had some help. I did the majority of the work, however Cliff Haley and Emil Rolondo contribute lots of help and perhaps more importantly, lots of mental support (after all, I was the type of kid that did not like to assemble models as a boy, so the mental support was a must as far as being a confidence builder).
I must also candidly admit I also had difficulty with the final balancing of Nina’s main rotor system. I, with the help of another friend. Bob Keiper (a radio control model helicopter pilot and a professional Rotax/2 cycle engine mechanic) went through the assembly manual word for word following the static balancing.
At the end of the procedures, we determined the rotors needed 13 grams (yes that little) of additional weight added to one tip to balance Nina’s rotors. Any way, being candid, I was a tad leery of adding that much additional weight to one tip. This being the case combined with the fact that I decided to play it safe and ask the manufacture first (there only reply was “No, remove it from the other tip”, with no hint of how to safely remove this much weight). As it was, I don’t think I ever spun her up with the additional weight. I did however locate two prows that seemed both eager and capable to help.
The first gentleman was a Rotorway guru, a Mr. Ron Froberg of Hartzel Alabama. He and I went over Miss Nina with the proverbial fine tooth comb. Happy to report, the out come was, almost no problems. The second gentleman was Mr. Norman Suranno of Georgia. Norm is a balancing expert with many years of experience, both Military and civilian that now has formed his own balancing company, somewhat specializing in the experimental aircraft segment and is now off on his own Any way, after attaching his transducers on Nina’s frame and me running her up.
Norm penciled out that I should add 12.7 grams to the same blade I thought I should add 13 grams too. However he suggested we swap the blades grip for grip. That was it, I was in the air. Miss Nina took to the air for the first time on March 10th, 1994 at the age of 4.1 hours on her hour meter. Being completely above board with my experience concerning the CH-7 Angel, yes I had my moments of frustration. After all, I had her finished in October of 1994 but didn’t get her in the air until March of 1995. In hind sight, taking into consideration I was a first time builder, things actually went good.
Life With an Angel CH-7 Helicopter
As I mentioned in the beginning of this, I have lived with my Angel CH7 helicopter for 63 flying hours now. As any relationship, it hasn’t been totally perfect. At about 20 hours I discovered the rear cylinder wall/piston to have an excessive amount of scratches as Bob Keiper and I were replacing the rotary valve seal on Nina’s 582 Rotax power plant. Upon discovering the scoring, I chose to bag my attempt of replace both the rotary valve and now the piston. I ended up having both chores done by a pro (Green Sky Aviation/Rotax of Ohio).
Since Green Sky is some 300 plus miles from my Pocono Mountain home in North eastern Pennsylvania, the Green Sky guys did a “while you wait” job on Miss Nina heart. I dropped it off one afternoon, got a motel and picked it up the next afternoon.
All in all, I am very pleased with my Angel. I actually sometimes forget I own a helicopter and find my self a tad surprised as my thoughts drift off as I wait for the door of my garage door to open and expose my sexy Miss Nina (the name I have chosen for my helicopter). More than once I have caught my self thinking “hey, you own that cute little flying machine”.
I fly her mostly for fun. However, when ever possible, I make my bi weekly banking trips for my small business in her, landing behind the bank (ironically near the drive up windows). I have also flown her to the post office on one occasion. The post master had a big grin on her face and told me I was welcome to fly in any time I like.
Like I said, all in all, I am happy with my CH-7 Angel. Being candid with my self, owning any single seater was not my first choice. However, as every one, today I am older than I have ever been (46 now). This being the case, the chances were slim that I would ever own that R44 I planning on.Now, I must say that I haven’t given up on the R44 dream.
I hope to have the extra quarter million + it would take for the 44, hut I must admit because of the styling and agility of the Angel and more importantly the urgency of NOW (realizing one’s tomorrows could stop arriving with out warning), I’m having a blast only being able to take my most important passenger along in the CH- 7 Angel.