- Home ::
- design ::
- historical-helicopters ::
- Augusto Cicare CH-6 And Dennis Fetters Proposed Mini 500 Helicopter Design
THERE'S A HELICOPTER REVOLUTION COMING
|Control response and authority were excellent on the Cicare-Six. During daily airshows at Oshkosh, demonstration pilot Dennis Fetters moved highway cones around the ramp and would climb to several hundred feet in a hover.|
A new flight control technology which adds simplicity to construction and outstanding stability to operation mark this helicopter as simply: "A Revolution."
One hesitates to make metaphors about a revolution coming from Argentina. Thoughts of Juan and Eva Peron or Falkland Islands come to mind. Nevertheless, Augusto Cicare brought a revolutionary helicopter design from his home in Argentina to the EAA convention in Oshkosh this year and the technology could well bring the price of an honest-to-goodness helicopter within the reach of the average hard-working fellow.
For me, personally, the EAA convention in Oshkosh is an exercise in looking for the new needles in the same old haystack which has been around for years.
Because Oshkosh tends to come near the end of the airshow season, by the last of July, I have been from Sun n, Fun in Florida to Rain and Pain in Washington, and everywhere in between. I’ve seen plastic airplanes and paper airplanes; I’ve seen the same performers do the same aerobatic routines so often that I know when their airplane is out of position before they do.
But Oshkosh always delivers. Just about the time I’m willing to admit that there is indeed nothing new under the sun, up springs a vision of the future.
I was dodging the thunderstorms on the ultralight airplane display area at Oshkosh when I came upon Dennis Fetter’s familiar Air Command trailer – the very one from which he hawks his popular line gyroplane. I’d gotten used to seeing Fetter’s snazzy and well finished gyro design parked out in front of the trailer so I was surprised to see a rather crudely built helicopter parked there instead.
|The CH-6 helicopter is based on an industry standard triangulated 4130 chromoly steel airframe.|
The first thing I noticed was that the helicopter was powered by an old single ignition Rotax 532 engine. “This ought to be good for a few spectacular photos,” I thought. I kept looking at the helicopter, trying to figure out what was different about it. Suddenly it hit me. There was no swashplate for the control linkages. There was no complex accumulation of rods, bellcranks and adjustment leading from the control sticks to the rotor head.
In fact, it looked like the flight controls ran from the cyclic and collective to a point under the transmission where they changed directions via simple bellcranks and disappeared into the bottom of the transmission. “How dey do dat?,” I asked myself in the grammar, syntax and spelling reserved for off – duty literati.
Some of us are more bashful than others. I got down on my hands and knees and innocently peeked under the skirt of the little helicopter. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness I saw – a trash bag (?) wadded – up and stuffed into the crux of the matter. I was reaching up to remove the offending obstruction when a pretty but grumpy – looking Latin girl who nicely filled a Revolution Helicopter T-shirt said something to me in Spanish. Though I learned sufficient English in public schools to make myself understood, I must confess that I learned my Spanish in fishing pangas and cantinas. I wasn’t sure at the moment, but I believe the lovely Spanish lady cast doubts as to the species of my maternal ancestor.
|In one of the most stable helicopters I've ever seen - Dennis Fetters demonstrates the "hands off" stability of the Cicare-Six which made its debut at Oshkosh this summer. Plans call for the moving parts to be used in the Mini 500 design.|
I was in the process of removing my arm from the path to sin and simultaneously reviewing in my mind the handy Spanish phrases I had picked up while marlin fishing when up walked Dennis Fetters. He spoke to the young lady in what sounded like a mixture of Italian, pidgin Spanish, Portuguese, and Urdu.
With flapping gestures reminiscent of a bilious pelican he explained to the young lady that I was, without question, one of the best pilots to have ever have flown and that, by general consensus , I was going to win the Noble Prize for literature this year. Somewhat mollified, the Hispanic hostess retreated and Dennis and I got a chance to visit about the new helicopter.
It seems that Dennis Fetters of Air Command Gyroplane fame, and the helicopters designer, Augusto Cicare, have formed a company called Revolution Helicopters to build a single – place helicopter which looks like a scaled – down Hughes 500. After hours, maybe days of deliberation, they came up with the very clever name of Mini 500. Though not likely to win any awards for creativity or originality, the name does effectively describe the product.
At Oshkosh, Revolution Helicopters was using the Air Command trailer, which was recently sold with all the rest of the Air Command assets to Venture Industries, to demonstrate the Cicare Six (6) LV-X101 helicopter, which they were calling the Revolution Mini 500 prototype. Got that?
At the time, I wanted to point pout to Dennis Fetters that the Cicare – six (6) couldn’t be the Mini 500 prototype, but they had already printed up all their literature, so I refrained. After all, proto means first, as in origination; and the type means type, as in type. So the Cicare – Six (6) could no more be the Mini 500 prototype than the Bell 47 could be the Huey prototype.
NOTE: Revolution Helicopters are no longer in existence and the Mini 500 helicopter is longer in production. Article date 1990 courtesy John W. Conrad.