LoneStar Kit Helicopter Flying

Small One Man LoneStar Kit Helicopter Kit

The all-American LoneStar single seat helicopter by Star Aviation. Ken Rehler was an Architect come rotary wing aircraft inventor, he and his aircraft business partner Tom Carlson brought us the neat little LoneStar Kit Helicopter.

Check out the YouTube flight video which runs for approximately 10 minutes showing the LoneStar Kit Helicopter in full flight and performing various standard manoeuvres. Please note that the model shown flying was the middle of the three main layout configurations that the LoneStar Kit Helicopter evolved through.

The picture at the top of the page was its final form including all mods and updates. The LoneStar Kit Helicopter manuals and drawings for both of these designs are included in the complete pack.

VIDEO: LoneStar Kit Helicopter Flying

Other achievements by Ken was his own design twin tail gyrocopter which though exhibited exceptional stability – he was fatally injured in during an in-natural weather event which found his gyro inverted before fatally crashing.

Here’s a really well thought out gyro. Ken knows exactly what he wants from a gyro and so designs and builds exactly that!

Ken Rehler Dies In Fatal Gyrocopter Accident

Kenneth James Rehler died on Friday, November 11, 2005, in a weather-related aircraft accident while piloting the award winning gyrocopter that he personally designed and built.

Ken founded Ken Rehler Architect in 1971 and continued to lead the successor firm, Rehler Vaughn & Koone, Inc., until the time of his death. In addition to his duties as the managing partner for the 60 person firm, Ken continued in the role of principal-in-charge for numerous projects, most recently the Julia Yates Semmes Branch Library for the City of San Antonio, and in New Braunfels: the Public Library, Central Texas Technology Center and the Convention Center.

By Javier Arbona, Nov 12, ’05 9:41 AM EST

Kenneth James Rehler

A New Braunfels architect was killed yesterday in a crash of an experimental aircraft (rotorhead) he designed himself. Authorities say Ken Rehler died when the aircraft flipped over as he tried to land at New Braunfels Municipal Airport. Airport Manager Andy Spinks says Rehler flew the autogyro at least once a week. He built the aircraft in 1999.

  • NTSB Identification: DFW06LA028

  • 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation

  • Accident occurred Friday, November 11, 2005 in New Braunfels, TX

  • Aircraft: Rehler Gyrocopter, registration: N100KR

  • Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

Ken Rehler N100KR Gyrocopter Crash

On November 11, 2005, at 1705 central standard time, an experimental Rehler gyrocopter, N100KR, was substantially damaged following a loss of control while on approach to Runway 13 at the New Braunfels Municipal Airport, near New Braunfels, Texas. The private pilot/builder/owner was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Several witnesses observed the gyrocopter as it descended toward the runway. When the gyrocopter was about 30 feet above the runway, a gust of wind turned it sideways, and the gyrocopter flipped inverted and impacted the runway. Some of the witnesses reported hearing the engine make a power change before the impact.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector performed an on-scene examination of the wreckage. The inspector established flight control and engine continuity and found fuel in the fuel tanks. No mechanical deficiencies were noted.

Weather reported at the airport at 1751 was wind from 150 degrees at 12 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, broken clouds at 6,000 feet, overcast clouds at 7,000 feet, temperature 81 degrees Fahrenheit, dewpoint 62 degrees Fahrenheit, and a barometric pressure setting of 29.97 inches of Mercury.

The builder of this particular gyrocopter apparently had won numerous awards for this bird. You can read about it here.

From the report, it sounds like this was nothing more than a rouge gust of wind that wreaked havoc on the gyrocopter. Perhaps greybeard can enlighten us as to whether it’s possible to recover from an inverted attitude in a rotorcraft…

My condolences to the pilot and his family. Remember to fly your aircraft all the way to the ground.

Greybeard said…
  • The answer to your question is: it depends, but probably not.

  • This machine has a rotor system on it comparable to most Bell helicopters…..the 47, Huey, and JetRanger…..what is commonly referred to as a semi-rigid system.

  • This rotor works perfectly, so long as the machine is experiencing “positive G’s” of 1/2 “G” or more. The pilot puts in a control input……the rotor does what the pilot asks, the airframe then follows along.

  • You can compare this rotor system to a pail of water with a rope attached to the handle of the pail. You can control the pail with the rope fine, so long as you don’t allow the rope to get slack in it. But move your hand quickly in a downward motion and throw slack in the rope, and you momentarily have no control over the pail.

  • When this pilot got inverted, he no doubt experienced zero or even negative G’s. Under these circumstances, he had no control over his rotor. He was pretty much doomed.

  • I look forward to the final analysis of this accident. A capricious wind should not have had this effect on this machine. Mechanical failure? Extraordinary pilot error?

Let’s keep an eye on this one…

11/18/2005 11:27:00 AM

Greybeard said…
  • Just reviewed your link to the pilot’s construction. It appears the rotor may be fixed at a certain angle of attack, and the pilot may have controlled all axes of the aircraft with stabilizers. If that is the case, my “pail of water” analogy may not apply.

  • Nevertheless, once he became inverted, his rotor wasn’t providing useful lift, and he had precious little time to remedy his situation.

11/18/2005 11:48:00 AM

Greybeard said…

Upon further review of the owners site:

  • My initial conclusion was correct. It appears the rotor is used for pitch and roll control, and as such, would be a “semi-rigid” system on this machine.

  • If, as is reported, he got the machine inverted, he was doomed…….along for the ride. He would have had no pitch/roll control.

  • I am always concerned by builders that take it upon themselves to change the manufacturers design. In this case, he tweaked several parts of this machine, to include adding a spacer to the rotor system.

  • There is a reason the FAA requires these machines to display the “Experimental” placard……

  • Pilots that fly them truly are Test Pilots.

  • Those that make changes to the manufacturers design are also Aeronautical Engineers.

  • The pros get fooled sometimes…….

  • Amateurs are on really thin ice.

11/20/2005 08:58:00 AM

Born: March 27, 1942 – Place of Birth: Evansville, Indiana – Death: November 11, 2005


EDITORS NOTE: We are fortunate that Ken left us with the amazing little LoneStar kit helicopter. The above mentioned accident is in no way related to Ken’s association with the LoneStar Kit Helicopter.

Ken had cut the helicopter designing loose in an effort to follow his ambitions with the gyrocopter industry. In hindsight, an unfortunate choice. Redback Aviation was fortunate enough to have detailed correspondence with Ken prior to his death and purchased the rights to the LoneStar Kit Helicopter and through the co-operation of the existing Australian distributor..

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2 Comments on "LoneStar Kit Helicopter Flying"

  1. sheldon harrison | July 11, 2021 at 5:27 am | Reply

    I purchased the loanstar plans package and have not had any issues for Atleast a couple of years however my laptop has been experiencing issues due no doubt to It’s age. I am not able to find the loanstar plans package anywhere on my laptop. I had to replace my fan and a couple other components so I have not used it for a few months and only began to use it again over the last couple of weeks, which is when I realized it was gone.

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