This Helicopter Is So Easy To Control, A Toddler Could Probably Operate It

With just one joystick and two touchscreen panels, the Skyryse One is making helicopters more autonomous, intuitive, and safe.

Helicopters, like pretty much any airborne vehicle, are notoriously difficult to operate. You’ve got controls in front of you, beside you, sometimes even above you – it’s no wonder you need a license with hundreds of hours of training to be able to professionally pilot one. While understandably, you’d expect helicopter pilots to go through rigorous training before being certified to operate a hunk of metal through the sky, there’s really no need for control panels and dashboards to be as complicated as they are. Founded in 2016, Skyryse has been working to simplify how helicopters are operated. Distinct from traditional helicopters, the Skyryse One eschews conventional controls like the cyclic stick, collective lever, throttle, and anti-torque pedals for a simplified control scheme centered around a single stick and a touchscreen interface. This design philosophy is built around Skyryse’s proprietary SkyOS system, which aims to enhance safety by streamlining operations and automating critical functions such as takeoff, hovering, and in the event of system failures, autorotation and landing. The company’s first-ever helicopter, the Skyryse One, puts this new control panel front and center. In fact the company claims it’s so easy to learn, you need just 20 hours of practice before taking to the skies.

Designer: Skyryse

Eschewing the traditional, mechanically complex controls found in helicopters, Skyryse introduces a fly-by-wire system controlled by a single four-axis control stick and two touch screens. This system, powered by Skyryse’s proprietary SkyOS, brings an unprecedented level of simplicity and safety to aviation​​​. Fly-by-wire, a technology where electronic systems replace mechanical ones, is not new to aviation but applying it to helicopters in such a simplified manner certainly is. The SkyOS enhances this system by continuously analyzing pilot input, environmental conditions, aircraft status, and flight parameters, ensuring the aircraft remains within a safe flight envelope​​​.

One of the most groundbreaking features of the Skyryse One is its fully automated autorotation capability. In traditional helicopters, autorotation is a complex emergency maneuver required when the engine fails, demanding immediate and precise actions from the pilot. The Skyryse One, through SkyOS, automates this process, significantly reducing the pilot’s workload and making emergency landings safer​​​.

Moreover, features like auto-pickup and set-down, swipe-to-start, and hover assist simplify operations that previously required intricate control and coordination. The inherent stability feature of the Skyryse One means that at any point, the pilot can release the controls, with the aircraft immediately activating autonomous protocols to maintain safe flying parameters.

Skyryse is making the dream of piloting more accessible. Despite its advanced technology, flying the Skyryse One only requires a standard helicopter Private Pilot License. For those already licensed for airplanes, transitioning to the Skyryse One involves just an additional 20 hours of flight training. This approach could significantly expand the helicopter pilot community by lowering the entry barrier to flying​.

As revolutionary as it is, the Skyryse One comes with a hefty price tag of $1.8 million. However, for aviation enthusiasts and professionals looking for the cutting edge of safety and simplicity, the investment might well be worth it. The company has started accepting a $2,500 deposit for reservations, with deliveries expected to begin following airworthiness certification​​​.