America’s love of freedom knows few limits. That’s great.
But the freedom to crash a helicopter whenever you damn well please was one freedom we were quite OK living without.
- In July, the Federal Aviation Administration announced a rule that’d reclassify certain helicopters as “light-sport aircraft,” making them far more accessible.
- Two companies, Advanced Tactics and Rotor X, have already teamed up on a two-seater whirlybird poised to take advantage of the new proposal.
- Their upcoming ATRX-700 model has simplified flight controls and caters to rookie pilots.
And we mean rookies
If the eased FAA regulation clears its review period in October, anyone with a valid driver’s license, 30 hours of flight training, and the means to acquire a copter will be able to fly the ATRX-700, per Robb Report.
- The barrier to entry is lower than you’d think — $188k for the helo, plus ~$9k to train at Advanced Tactics’ California facilities.
Light-sport crafts — think gyroplanes and powered parachutes — are subject to fewer regulations as they’re limited in weight, speed, altitude, and distance.
- The ATRX-700 is still no slouch in those categories: it weighs 1.7k pounds, reaches speeds of up to 100 mph, flies up to 16k feet, and has a 300-mile range.
… make up the bulk of the FAA’s sport category, and though these choppers are now in this limited-training club, make no mistake — like all other craft (air, land, or sea), they can be dangerous to operate.
But you can preorder one for early 2025 delivery if you want. It’s “available in selected colors and interiors,” though it’s still unclear what shades it’ll come in.
Whatever color you choose… we’d love to never see it. No flying those things near our homes, please.
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