This area is set aside for constructive criticism. It represents ONLY my views on things that I think could have been done better, improved upon or fixed. It is NOT to be intrepreted as faulting RotorWay but should be taken constructivly.
#1 - The fiberglass floor pan does not fit by 1/2 inch to an inch on the passenger side between the floor pan and the underbelly tub. However, the pilot side fits fine. This problem has existed for several years. It has been pointed out to RotorWay by myself and others. An attempt was made in early '99 to correct the problem but failed. In a discussion with RotorWay on 1/10/00, another improvement will be attempted this year.
#3 - RotorWay could do a better job updating their documentation. The videos and the printed documentation do not agree on several areas of construction. Case in point, the fuel tank strainer filter. In the video, you are instructed to fabricate strainer fingers while the construction manual says to use the supplied fuel tank strainer fitting. This change was made about three years ago. I'm sure the documentation is expensive to keep up-to-date but I would at least expect a "construction notice" of some sort to alert the builder.
#4 - RotorWay does a poor job of advising their customers of updates to the helicopter or prints. Examples: I purchased the ACIS but the wiring schematic had none of the ACIS wiring added. I bought the lighting package but the wiring schematic referred to using a spare fuse on the overhead panel that is used by the ACIS. As of 3/13/02, the lighting schematic has still not been updated. Burned again on 12/1/02 when the instructions for mounting the ACIS air intake had been updated and RW didn't notify those that had early ACIS kits. Result, I had to cut a knotch in my ACIS air intake housing to make it fit next to the FADEC box, fiberglass in the knotch and repaint. Why don't they tell their customers about these changes?
#5 - I had called Larry Drullinger (RotorWay salesman) about a year into my project (2000) and asked him if there were any other RotorWay owners in the northern Illinois area. He said he was not aware of any. This year (7/02), I stumbled across two builders that live 35 minutes from my house that have had RW's for several years. I think RotorWay should publish a list of owners (with their permission) for other builders to contact for assistance or at least provide folks that ask with better information. Thanks for the help, Larry!
#6 - The A.C.I.S. has had its share of problems. The pulley is poorly designed for the application and has resulted in the v-belt being destroyed causing colleratal damage as well. RW is replacing the pulley on all new ships and I have requested them to replace mine as well. I'll report as to how this problem was treated. On 4/30/02, I talked to Tom Smith and he advised that he would replace my existing pulley with the harder anodized and deeper V-cut one for basically the cost of the anodizing and shipping. This is good customer service...thanks Tom. On 5/30/02, I shipped the supercharger to RotorWay. It arrived on 6/4/02 via FedEx. Update: The ACIS shipped on 6/24/02 and was received several days later. The belt now fits much better in the pulley groove and the anodizing has been improved. The only charges were for the shipping!
#7 - On 3/5/03, I sent my 30MM secondary into RotorWay for the 35MM upgrade. I use the Pro-Drive and also had to send my secondary sprocket to them for upgrade ($220). I told RotorWay that I didn't need the small sprocket but they said they "had to sell it to me because if they didn't it would look like they endorsed the Pro-Drive." Now, I have two small sprockets sitting on the shelf gathering dust! On 3/13/03, I received the secondary upgrade. Very good turn around time, however, there was damage to one of the pulleys. It looks like someone dropped the secondary on the pulley edge and put a dent into it. Although accidents happen, there was no mention of the damage to me. I had to file the dent smooth as it would have interfered with the belt. This removed some of the anodizing. I sent Tom Smith the below picture and we will see what his response is. Total price $1,164.24.
3/19/03 - After a little more badgering than I like to do, RotorWay accepted responsibility for the damage and paid for the return shipping to have the top pulley replaced and the unit checked out. This is good customer service. The unit was shipped FedEx 2nd day air today. We will see what the return package brings...
3/25/03 - The secondary arrived and the upper pulley looks like a new one, no scratches and no dents. The turn around by RW was excellent (although it should have been done right the first time).
7/10/03 - I guess at this point, I can consider the RotorWay project completed. Although, there were a lot of things RotorWay doesn't mention when you buy the kit, I must give them good marks for overall support. Remember, these folks are selling you a kit and with that goes a LOT of sales talk. Forget the old "build it in a one car garage with a hammer and a saw". You really need a good construction area and a lot of tools plus speciality jigs and other tips and tricks. If you decide to buy a RotorWay, I wish you good luck in your project and hope that this web site may be of some assistance in your efforts.
7/14/03 - Another 35MM secondary has broken! I personally know the builder of this helicopter and know that every aspect of it is as close to perfection as you can get. This has to mean that there is a bad problem with RotorWays secondary setup and possibly the cog belt system. At this point, I am really disappointed in the RotorWay. I have limited confidence in the drive train and feel that there may be a secondary break on every flight I take. Fortunately, there may be some relief in a new secondary by EPI. Maybe this will put the confidence back in the RotorWay.