ROTORWAY/NITZ EXECUTIVE – N3WN
Walter Nitz, a lifelong aviation enthusiast, bought his RotorWay Exec kit in 1982. The kit was a right to the last nut and bolt, 49% amateur built, FAA approved kit, and everything in the kit was packaged and labeled for clarity in assembly. The challenge RotorWay faced was making up their kits in such a way as to provide the critical items fully finished and ready to install and still have enough work left for the builder to comply with the FAA’s 51% rule.
The kit could be put together with pretty basic tools. Walter used a hacksaw to cut out the parts and a hand drill clamped into a drill press rig. The only thing out of the ordinary Walter did to prepare himself for building his Exec was to buy a gas welding outfit and take a couple of welding courses at a local community college.
One item that required no work was the RotorWay engine. The powerplant came to Nitz having been dyno tested at the factory, complete with a sheath of paperwork documenting its manufacture, testing, and performance. Walter used a 145 hp RotorWay engine that performed flawlessly for over 100 hours.
In the midst of building the Exec, Walter and his wife Ellen moved from their condo to a slightly larger home. Before the deal was closed, however, Walter made it a point to visit each of his neighbors to sound out their reactions to having a private heliport in their midst. To his delight, no one had any objections, so Walter and Ellen moved into their new digs in May of 1983. The property had a good number of acres to accommodate Walter’s private heliport and Ellen’s organic garden, a place the couple liked to call their very own organic heliport
After remodeling the existing barn into a heated, insulated shop/hangar, work on the Exec resumed. The engine and rotor blades were finished and installed in June and the attachment of the exhaust and cooling systems, the usual plumbing, wiring, and control hookups were installed shortly after.
The project took two years to complete, with about fifteen months of serious part time work on the helicopter. The kit was initially built strictly to RotorWay’s guidelines, but in the winter of 1984 the new elastomeric hub system was retrofitted. Walter also added a defrosting system for the big bubble windshield, which doubled as a heater.
Walter took his Exec to the fly-in at Oshkosh in 1985 and experienced the great personal satisfaction of having B. J. Schramm fly his helicopter, who pronounced the Exec a well-built machine. During that convention Walter also received EAA’s 1985 Rotorcraft Grand Champion award.
Walter Nitz donated his RotorWay Executive helicopter to the EAA AirVenture Museum in 1988.
RotorWay-Nitz Executive RotorWay-Nitz Executive