The Rotary Air Force RAF 2000
July 1945: Bernard J. Haseloh, a Canadian inventor and gyroplane pioneer, invents a counter-rotating helicopter in Alberta Canada.Do to the Canadian governments concerns for public safety Bernard was ordered to dismantle his helicopter on the grounds that a driven rotor sytstem was at the time unexplored.
Early 1950's: Bernard turns his attention to gyroplanes and starts developing his own models.
1970's: Bernard invents a 2 seat gyroplane and convinces his nephew Daniel W. Haseloh to learn to fly a gyroplane.
Mid- 1980's: Daniel travels to airshows and answers questions to many visitors about the gyroplane, its performance and aerodynamics. The great interest shown by the homebuilt aviation community leads Daniel to discuss with his brother Peter Haseloh, sister Linda Lefleur & brother-in-law Donald Lefleur on constructing a properly built gyroplane. The group had the belief they could design and market a small, simple and safe aircraft that every enthusiast would be able to afford and fly.
1987: The group forms Rotary Air Force Inc. and sets into production of the RAF 1000 single place enclosed cabin gyroplane kit. Due to a need for gyroplane instruction and a demand for a 2-place aircraft the company designs and builds the RAF 2000 gyroplane in 1989.
The RAF 2000 design was such to provide comfortable cross-country flight in a two-place design. Certainly the first of the homebuilt gyroplanes to incorperate an enclosed fiberglass cabin with heat and superb visibility through the large unobstructed windscreen & Lexan cabin doors.
Manufactured in Kindersley, Canada the RAF 2000 went through many design changes and modifications as any new design is apt to have. Newer materials, manufacturing processes and customer input saw the RAF 2000 introduce a new rotor blade design, a selection of different powerplant options and landing gear arrangements and even a stabilator kit for a greater reduction in pilot workload.
The RAF 2000 set the standard for all other gyroplanes of its time. CNC produced parts of high quality and fine workmanship. The attention to detail and customer satisfaction paid off for Rotary Air Force as hundreds of these gyroplane kits were sold around the world.
RAF's have flown the English Channel, flown the United States coast to coast. The RAF however suffered from a fate that many gyrolpane manufacturers suffer from-lack of sales and ultimately a marketplace change. In 2007 Rotary Air Force announced that it would no longer produce the RAF 2000 gyroplane kit to its builders and it's understood that the production rights are up for sale as well.
As a company Rotary Air Force had done more to promote sport gyroplanes and pilot safety than any other company before or since. RAF Inc. developed the Ask First organization for gyroplane builders to find qualified gyroplane instructors. It developed a code with the RAF Pilots organiztion to establish a set of guidlines to which pilots should adhere. They analyized and performed extensive research into the safety and any modifications of the gyroplane before offering it to the builder. The design was the inspiration of the Sparrowhawk (essentially a highly modified RAF2000), now known as the Sparrowhawk II.
The RAF 2000 set the standards to which future gyroplane manufacturers will have to meet or beat to stay conpetitive. Truely a historic gyroplane and a family company with a passion for gyroplanes.