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Vintage RC Helicopters - Kalt - Far East manufacturer of RC helicopters

 KALT Helicopters

                   

The first of the Far East manufacturers to actively pursue helicopter production and originally started out with a scaled down Cobra based on the 'Schlüter' helicopter under licence.  The following extract is from the 1987 Kalt Magazine:-

"Make it yourself and fly it" is the corporate philosophy of KALT SANGYO Co., Ltd. which is a world-renowned manufacturer of radio controlled helicopters. Excellent model helicopters such as the BARON have been produced out of this seemingly simple slogan of KALT.

The history of KALT, which is the history of R/C helicopters, started when Hiroyuki Oki, founder and present chairman of KALT, saw a demonstration flight by West Germany's Dieter Schlüter in the F3A World Championships held at Doylestown USA in 1971.

In that demonstration, Schlüter used a HUEY COBRA scale helicopter and the flight was mediocre in comparison with today's level. But Oki saw for the first time in his life how a model helicopter could fly like a real one, and he was surprised and amazed beyond words.

Oki says that such excitement could rarely be experienced in ones lifetime. He was so fascinated by the model helicopter that he followed Schlüter as far as Switzerland and persuaded the reluctant Schlüter to give up one of his two experimental helicopters to him.

After bringing it back to Japan, he took it apart and reassembled it. By repeating this process, he studied the mechanism, and after a while he tried building a model helicopter on his own. Following Schlüter's example, he toiled strenuously. Every part, even the rotor blades, had to be made by hand. But as he was mechanically minded by nature, he devoted himself heart and soul to this work.

Hiroyuki Oki     Kalt Sangyo Co Ltd.  Gotenba Office.    

Thus the HUEY COBRA 450, the first KALT helicopter, came into being. Before long, he founded KALT SANGYO Co., Ltd. in order to allow many people to enjoy the great performance of his model helicopters, and paved the way for mass production by obtaining a production license from Schlüter. It was in late 1971. It was a commemorative year when R/C helicopters appeared for the first time before fans of radio controlled cars, boats and airplanes.

After developing the model HUEY COBRA 450, he concentrated for some time on helicopters modeled after real ones such as the JET-RANGER and FAIRCHILD. But he was not altogether satisfied with copying real helicopters in service.

To be sure, scale planes are good-looking and fly well in their own way, but their shapes are limited to those of real ones, and their flight performance is not perfect. He wondered if he could not develop a helicopter whose only purpose was to fly with no regard to style and appearance. Thus in 1976, a model helicopter named BARON, which was not a scale helicopter, appeared before radio control fans.

The debut of the simple mechanism stripped of all unnecessary equipment created quite a sensation around the world. Its flight performance was far superior to that of familiar scale helicopters in speed as well as in stability. Furthermore, the BARON had inherent strength stemming from the manufacturing process. As it had no frills, it was less expensive and easier to repair and inspect.

This dispelled the common belief that R/C helicopters were expensive and because of its added advantage of high performance, the number of R/C helicopter fans sharply increased not only in Japan but around the world. This is the reason why BARON is a synonym of R/C helicopters.

It is not necessary to dwell on how KALT R/C helicopters have attained their position today, because by just looking at the numerous great helicopters introduced in this book, you will see how they have been improved on and upgraded.

His love of machines and helicopters as well as his "do-it-yourself" philosophy became the driving force for the creation of a series of innovative mechanisms such as Collective Pitch and Bell-Hiller System in the world of R/C helicopters. And this spirit has been handed down in today's KALT SANGYO Co., Ltd.

Today, although Chairman Oki does not concern himself with the day-to-day running of the business, he maintains an active interest in its progress. His employees who are carrying on his work all have their own radio control devices and are active helicopter buffs themselves. For every employee, it is a great fun to fly model helicopters. The more they become involved, the more they want better-flying helicopters which can do more difficult stunts. This ebullient pioneering spirit contributed to its reputation that KALT helicopters including scale ones, not to mention the 9 BARON models, are all originals.

The best way to know the superb performance of KALT R/C helicopters is to fly one yourself. But the following episode will show you how great KALT helicopters are.

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NOTE - The 'pod and boom' format had already been promoted in the US and Europe with the Whirly bird 505 (72), Peter Valentines Lark (1974) and then the 'all metal' Schlüter Heli-Baby (75) which actually formed the basis for the baron layout.  Like all good PR exercises, fact was not allowed to cloud a success story and to give credit, Kalt helicopters were very successful.

NOTE Hiroyuki Oki passed away in 2003.

Kalt Timeline (# date TBC)

bullet1971 - Cobra 450
bullet1972 - JetRanger
bullet1973# - Fairchild FH1100
bullet1974 - Hughes 500 - Flying Box
bullet1976 - Baron
bullet 1979# - Cobra 500
bullet 1979# - JetRanger 500
bullet 1979# - Hughes 500 (CP)
bullet 1979# - Bell 222 Twin
bullet 1979# - 50 Baron
bullet 1980# - 20 baron FP
bullet 1980 - Robin (autogyro)
bullet 1981 - AS350B Ecureuil - 20 baron CP
bullet 1982 - Kamov (prototype) - GS Baron
bullet 1983 - 60 Baron - Heavy Lift
bullet 1987 - Bell 400 TwinRanger - 20 Baron MX- Omega (& Pro)
bullet1989 - 60 Baron EC - 60 baron Alpha (& Pro) - Cyclone II
bullet1990 - Baron Whisper  
bullet1991 - Space Baron
bullet1992 - Omega Pro Grand Prix - 60 Baron Alpha II - GS Baron Alpha - Sea Cobra
bullet199# - 30 Baron
bullet199# - 30 Baron Alpha 53
bullet199# - Mercury

Due to lack of information the period between 1977 and 1980 has very little coverage and therefore model introductions dates for this period are not yet confirmed.

Kalt are also credited with developing the freewheel hub by Yuki Oki for carrying out Autorotation flight; though American RCH Inc also claim this credit but as yet no dates either way to confirm, or not.

Slough Models (UK)

Slough Models as the first UK main dealer for Kalt also introduced their own range of fuselages to compliment the Kalt range with many of these kits going on to win scale competitions.

Omega

Up to the mid 80's TSK provided the aftermarket upgrades for the Kalt range however, they started to produce their own machines and moved away from the upgrade market.  To fill this gap Kalt set up a subsidiary section called Ω Omega to provide upgrades and thus the model incorporating all these upgrades was named after the section.   The new section also produced a number of high performance fuselages for various models in the Kalt range.

The Mercury was the last helicopter produced by Kalt before the company went out of business, as yet no firm reason though lack of investment for new models would appear to have been a contributing factor coupled with decreasing sales because the models were outdated.  They were bought up by HPI (RC cars) but unfortunately, for some reason, HPI did not get the moulds and could therefore not continue with production so once the supply of spares ran out they basically gave up trying.  This was  much to the dismay of Kalt owners all over the world and another successful line of RC Helicopters came to a sad end.

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