Kit Kopter: 1976 RotorWay Scorpion Too

061816 Barn Finds - 1976 Scorpion RotorWay - 1

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A helicopter?! Yes, you know you’ve always wanted a helicopter! This 1976 RotorWay Scorpion Too (its real name, or, Scorpion II) is in Houston, Texas. This won’t be a fly-down-fly-home type of deal, it needs a bit of work. This whirlybird is listed on eBay with an opening bid of $2,000 and a Buy It Now price of $5,000.

061816 Barn Finds - 1976 Scorpion RotorWay - 3

The seller says that “aircraft has 25 hours on the meter.” RotorWay International was founded in 1961 in Chandler, Arizona as a maker of kit helicopters. In 2007 they were bought out and the company is now the RotorWay Helicopter Manufacturing Company. Yes, they’re still in business, in fact they have 250 employees still making these cool helicopters! Having my own helicopter was always a dream of mine, I didn’t know that they were this, relatively, inexpensive. Of course, this particular model needs to be reassembled. It was taken apart to paint it and was never put back together again. It’s also missing the “main rotor shaft and rotor head.” You’ll probably need those…

061816 Barn Finds - 1976 Scorpion RotorWay - 2

There are no photos of the interior, but here’s what it should look like. There are mainly photos of boxed-up parts and pieces which will have to be reassembled. The “Scorpion Too” is a two-seater, in fact it was the first two-seater from RotoWay. They cut their gyro-teeth on making single-seater models that looked very, very cool and James-Bond-like! These kits took about 2,000 hours to complete! This one will take but a fraction of that to put back together, I’m guessing. The seller says that this is the RotoWay RW133 motor, which was an improvement over the previous two-cycle engine that was available. It’s a four-cylinder, four-cycle 133 hp engine. The Scorpion 133 was also the next model to come out, in 1976, after the Scorpion Too, and the only difference between the two models was the RW133 motor. I’d bet that this is actually a Scorpion 133, not a Scorpion Too, but maybe someone will know. This will be a fun project, parts are available since the company is still in business.

I know that this is an odd one, even for me! But, I can see a lot of Barn Finds fans also being fans of over-the-moon projects like this one. I mean, who here hasn’t fantasized about owning a helicopter at some point in their lives? I bet that it’s a small percentage. What do you think, is this a cool project? How would you use this helicopter?

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  1. Roselandpete

    It is off the scale for coolness.

    Like 0
    • Mike

      Given the age and no telling how long it’s been apart could you get an “Air Worthy” certificate from the FAA for this bird to fly if you did put it back together?

      Like 1
      • John

        All you would need is an FAA certified A&P mechanic to look ot over or help with re.constructing it. Boy this is tempting.

        Like 1
  2. robert

    Rotor shaft, blades, etc. Just to start around $15,000 not counting balancing etc. etc. and more etc before you even move one inch off the ground.

    Like 1
    • Alan Brase

      I think the main rotor is there. But still a LOT of pitfalls.

      Like 1
  3. DREW V.

    Weld you up a rotor head and hook an electric motor to the main and tail rotors and have the neatestt piece of yard art in the county… Or pour a concrete landing pad in the back yard, make it a playtoy for your kid and be the coolest dad around…

    Like 0
  4. Joe Howell

    Death trap, money pit, and licensing headache all come to mind. This from a pilot and aircraft mechanic.

    Like 0
  5. Cassidy

    Why do helicopters fly? They are so ugly, the earth repels them!

    Like 1
  6. Dan h

    Oh that looks safe….

    Like 0
  7. Doyler

    This seems…. suicidal. And I know nothing about rotary aircraft.

    Like 0
  8. Alan Brase

    Yes, it seems like such a neat thing to have….BUT! Homebuilt aircraft all have to be documented by the guy that builds them. Lose that paper trail and your craft might end up in homebuilt purgatory. I’m not an expert on this, but there are a great many hoops you need to get this to fly legally. Learn what they are. I have heard of other unfinished homebuilt that had to be abandoned or made into art and could never go into the air. Better to spend 3 times as much and get full paperwork. Plus, who’s gonna teach you to fly it? The guy that has already flown it is the best answer.
    Still, though….

    Like 0
  9. HoA Howard AMember

    There was no question in my mind who wrote THIS up. Got to be a 1st for BF’s. Good heavens, where to start? Man’s eternal quest to fly. Wouldn’t that be handy? Think of all the forgotten classic’s you’d see from the air. Especially, after fall. Always wanted to do that. Even considered an ultralight type of chopper, but I don’t want to trust my life to a snowmobile motor. The EAA fly in is coming up. Be right at home with this there. Someone always gets killed, every year, but they love what they’re doing, ( except, of course, those last few seconds) and I suppose there’s worse fate’s in life. At the YouTube facility in Playa Vista, Cal., ( which is the old Howard Hughes aircraft plant) they have an original Hughes copter on display, and is very similar to this, with those 8 V-belts turning the rotor,,,,no thanks. What next??? :) :)

    Like 1
    • George

      My thoughts exactly! Find all the hidden cars! Well, maybe not the ones IN the barn or garage. But as we’ve seen, lots of them are not stored inside.

      Like 0
    • Tony Carter

      At least with 8 V-belts it wouldn’t be too bad if 1 broke, after that it’s anyone’s guess!

      Like 0
  10. wynkin

    Make a cool trike or crazy car.

    Like 0
  11. MSG Bob

    Jeff Dunham (the comedian-ventriloquist) has built, flown, and sold several choppers similar to this — he only crashed one!

    Reminds me; what are helicopters called by the various armed services?
    Navy – Helo.
    Army – Chopper
    Air Force – Copter
    Marines – (Pointing at thing in sky) OOGH! OOGH!

    Before the Marines castigate me, I was told this joke by a former Marine.

    Like 1
    • Chimmy

      Just an FYI, NObody is a former Marine. Ohh Rah!

      Like 0
  12. Moparman ElliottMember

    @MSG Bob O.K., I’ll give you a pass on that one, ALTHOUGH I was an airwing Marine and I NEVER heard that one…but then I was in fixed wing aircraft, and not rotor heads!! :-) Gunny

    Like 0
  13. Dirty Dingus McGee

    As was explained to me in the 60’s by a man who worked at Kaman Aerospace;

    A helicopter is NOT a flying machine. It IS 10;000 parts that happen to be moving in the same direction at the same time.

    Like 0
    • Tony Carter

      As asked by a complete novice to a helicopter technician/pilot,

      Q. How often do these things crash ?

      A. Only once !

      Like 0
  14. Andrew C.

    Rotorway Helicopter kits have the best record of kit helos. I can’t speak for the new company but the original company would not give you the last parts to the kit until you attend their flight training program and reach a certain level of competence at flying. If you buy this kit you should have the aircraft inspected and contact Rotorway to catch up with their program. The engine is not a snow machine engine but a liquid cooled engine the manufacturer designed. The very early models used a outboard motor.

    Like 0
  15. Andrew

    It looks like it was made by the same company that made the Bond Bug from the 1970’s. I’m sorry, but I love my life more than trusting getting in that one.

    Like 0
  16. GlenK

    My best friend in high school was from a flying family and car nuts (things that go fast). One Sunday (70s) I stop by in his house and everyone is shooting pool and talking about Helicopters. My friend looks over at me and says “Chris (his older brother) won a Gyrocopter in a poker game”. My answer is “Bull @$#&”, so he says look in the garage. With a smug look an my face I head out to garage. Sure enough there is a Gyocopter in the garage. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I have never seen one since but just in pictures. It was small like this Helicopter.

    Like 0
    • Rick

      Actually gyrocopter was a brand name but it has became the name everyone uses. They are gyro planes and on mine the rotor is only engaged to help it lift off the ground. After that it just freewheel at about 400 rpm and acts as a wing. Mine has a pusher prop but I would love to have one from the 1930s I could fly.

      Like 0
  17. MikeK

    Make SURE you have ALL the build documentation, or it will never fly again:

    Q: I bought a partially completed project. How does the FAA handle the work already done by the previous owner (none of it commercial), and will that affect my ability to get the repairman authorization or have it certificated?

    A: If you are purchasing a kit from another amateur-builder, you need to obtain evidence—logs, pictures, etc.—from the previous builder sufficient to show that the major portion of the aircraft was completed by amateurs. The FAA does count the previous amateur-builder work as amateur-completed tasks. The total of all tasks completed by all amateur builders (yourself and any before or after you) must be the major portion (that is, more than 51 percent) of the total tasks. As long as this is the case, the aircraft is eligible for an amateur-built airworthiness certificate.

    Eligibility for a repairman certificate is not based on percentage of work accomplished on an amateur-built project. The eligibility for the certificate requires that the applicant was one of the builders and “show to the satisfaction of the Administrator that the individual has the requisite skill to determine whether the aircraft is in a condition for safe operations.” The FAA is not required to issue a repairman certificate to any builder regardless of the percentage of work he or she may have done on a project unless it can determine the individual has the skills necessary to determine the aircraft in question is in a condition for safe operation.

    Like 1
  18. Tony Carter

    If this was rebuilt and only flown on private land does the FAA have any say in it if kept under a certain height, similar to ultra lite aircraft or are there separate rules for helos ??

    Like 0
  19. Paul Daly

    Love these jig saw projects, would learn a whole bunch about avionics – great find – unfortunately will remain a dream

    Like 0
  20. Steve Robinson

    It’s about $4,000 worth of air cooled VW motor….. :)

    Like 0
  21. Ric Parrish

    We had a big auto repair shop here in Phoenix. The owner had a cool chopper he assembled, sitting out front. One day the chopper was gone…and so was he. Death wish machines.

    Like 0
  22. Kent Pearson

    Maybe it is like a final wish but Wow! Dreams come true. OK, so you might have to put up another $20=26k, Still not bad for a real deal copter. I’d sure want to be confidant of that engine and all other parts and assembly but what a way to enjoy getting around. Yup, dreams come true.

    Like 0
  23. David

    Rotorway does not support the Scorpion ll and has’t for many years. The parts needed to complete it are no longer available. Many were sold, a few flew, but none of these are flying. They were dangerous to fly and many crashed, even with experienced helicopter pilots flying them.

    This thing is yard art at best.

    Like 0
    • Pete

      Well I am a former CH-47 Chinook Mechanic, Also worked on some UH-1’s, and UH-60’s. At first blush I was wishing I had a spare 5K sitting around to scoop this up. Then read David’s comment regarding no parts available. Which probably explains why there is no rotor head or blades with this Helo. He sold them for 25K and is trying to get the rest of his money outta what is left. But hey lets say you could get your hands on the parts you needed to make her fly again. You would need to do a few things just so you could feel safe flying it. The first would be to take the ACFT completely apart, inspect every part for function and corrosion. Think a complete 100% restoration in car lingo. The reason you would want to do this is because you have no idea how well it was assembled in the first place. Was it all Torqued correctly? Was the drive system and rotor system tracked and balanced correctly? Vibrations will kill you just as quick as a flame out. Then you have to jump through all the FAA hoops and learn to fly it if you don’t know how to already. Then there is the death trap quotient to deal with and get past. Yup yard art or spare parts is about all ya got hear. I would much prefer a Hiller or Bell 47 Think M*A*S*H*. Still a cool find though.

      Like 0
  24. Alan Brase

    It could be made to be pretty neat spoof with a fake heliport in the front yard. some local codes might not like it, tho.
    I think other flyable choppers on ebay or other sites would be more sensible choice.

    Like 0
  25. Roger Waybourn

    Is it still for sale

    Like 0
    • Jesse JesseStaff

      Nope, looks like it sold for $3,200 with 14 bids!

      Like 0
  26. David Beadle

    Anyone know of any Scorpion II’s currently for sale, basket case, ‘barn finds’ etc etc ???,
    Send contact details, cheers ☺

    Like 0

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