Argentine designer of ultralight helicopters expands with new US division.

Augusto “Pirincho” Cicaré founded Cicaré Helicopteros in Argentina in 1972 to design ultralight helicopters. The company developed several models over the years that have sold in Argentina and international markets.

Today, the manufacturer’s small helicopters are classified in the experimental category in the United States, yet before last year, they were difficult to buy and import into the country. After attempting to acquire a Cicaré helicopter a few years ago, retired software entrepreneur Keith Barr saw an opportunity to help the company expand.

“I’d heard of these guys about 20 years ago as they were doing some amazing things with Rotax engines, but when I went to purchase [a helicopter], it was very difficult,” Barr explains. “It was part language barrier and part not having a way to represent the company in the US.”

American Expansion
Barr worked with Cicaré to help fund and operate a US-based division of the company. Reno, Nevada–based Cicaré USA, which provides import services, sales, and support for the helicopters, opened in 2023.

Cicaré USA is marketing the 51% kit-built ultralight helicopters as affordable options for people who want to purchase personal helicopters.

The US division sells three products—the Cicaré 7 line, the Cicaré 8, and the Cicaré trainer.

 

The Cicaré 7 line consists of two single-seat helicopters and a two-seat version. They range from 100 hp to 115 hp, are equipped with Rotax engines, and are capable of cruise speeds of about 85 kt., with a max speed of 104 kt.

The Cicaré 8 is a side-by-side two-seat helicopter powered by a Rotax 915 iS engine. It features a useful load of 430 lb. with a max speed of 100 kt. and a cruise speed of 80 kt.

The trainer features a unique design that includes an assembled helicopter tethered to a heavy ground-based frame. Students can learn to hover up to a foot off the ground and practice maneuvers in the aircraft. The Cicaré trainer is an FAA-approved flight training device, which means students can apply 10 hours of flight time in the trainer toward their rating.

Avionics and Aircraft Systems
While the helicopters are equipped with basic avionics and instruments, Barr’s team is developing a vortex ring state alert system and a camera system that will provide live visual information to the pilot and collect imagery from flight operations. Cicaré USA is developing a cloud-based system that can store the live video images and provide quick editing tools so that operators can edit, save, and share their flight records over email and on social media.

Barr leads a committee that is creating the manufacturing standards for the new light sport helicopter type as part of the FAA’s Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certification (MOSAIC) rewrite and the new FAR Part 22 regulations for light sport aircraft. Once these new regulations are in place, the kit helicopters will move from the experimental to the sport category, allowing Cicaré USA to sell them fully assembled. The lowest-price model from the company starts at $125,073.

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Jen Boyer

Jen Boyer

Jen Boyer is the principal of her own firm, Flying Penguin Communications. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and holds commercial, instrument, flight instructor, and instrument instructor ratings in helicopters and a private rating in airplanes. She has worked as a professional journalist and marketing communicator in the aviation industry since the early 1990s.