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  • A build question.

    Hello everyone, I know itís a random first post but Iíve been considering building an ultralight of some sort for a while. Iím about to start flight training at a local private airport in the Spring. But anyhow, Iím very talented when it comes to hands on. I worked as an ASE certified mechanic for 18 years, know how to weld extensively and fabricate. Iím also a machinist as I operate a business as a local gunsmith. Iíve been thinking about building an ultralight and am torn between a gyro plane, plane or helicopter. Any of them would likely be made from plans but Iím leaning toward the gyroplane for better safety but donít quite understand the swash plate if it tilts from front to back and side to side or what? Like the idea of vto with a helicopter but cost goes up. The airplane would be easy and cheap to build and operate but the size goes against my favor. Any suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    A gyro is a good ultralight project and your machining and fabricating experience will be of great value in accomplishing it. Only a mad man would build a fixed wing ultralight, and you'd need to be a complete lunatic to even Try to build a Helicopter. I think that pretty much sums it up! BTW the rotorhead on a gyro tilts both front to back and side to side. If you envision the rotorblade fore and aft and you tilt the head to the left, you pitch the rotor down in front and up in the back. as the rotor rotates the blade goes up on the right and down on the left putting you into a left turn. same but opposite for a right turn. When you look at the pitching movements of the head, think of it the same way but consider it happening to the blades when they are side to side instead of fore and aft.
    "Nothing screams poor workmanship like wrinkles in the duct tape!"
    All opinions are my own, I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong again. Feel free to correct me if I am.
    PRA# 40294

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          • #6
            This forum is acting wonky and swallowed my reply after posting it 7 times. To sum it up: Whatís wrong with a fixed wing ultralight? Is a gyro plane more difficult to fly? Iím discouraged by the swash plate because I canít find a good design online anywhere except for the goofy design with a control bar hanging down from it. I would want a control stick instead.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jazzenjohn View Post
              you'd need to be a complete lunatic to even Try to build a Helicopter.
              In my humble opinion a first time, ultralight helicopter builder needs to be a complete lunatic and yet smart enough to start with a Mosquito. Proven design, a true ultralight, good reputation, and best chance for success.

              Originally posted by Jetho321 View Post
              Iím discouraged by the swash plate because I canít find a good design online anywhere except for the goofy design with a control bar hanging down from it. I would want a control stick instead.
              In general Gyro's don't have a swashplate. The fancy three blade designs might but that's not what you are going to build. Two popular designs you want to look for are the Gyrobee (and it's variants) and the Hornet. Both are proven designs, plans are available online, and I think both can be built as ultralights.

              If I may be so bold, I suggest you find the closest, active PRA chapter and attend the next meeting. Actually looking at and discussing how gyros work with someone that builds and fly's them will prove more useful the looking at plans and reading theory.

              You may also consider attending Mentone. It's a good chance to see a variety of gyros and check them out up close and personal.

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              • #8
                You say you are about to start flight training in the spring, one presumes in an airplane? I think it makes sense to get some training time (or at least some passenger time) in each of these types of aircraft before deciding which to build. To do otherwise would seem to be putting the cart way in front of the proverbial horse.

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                • #9
                  <In my humble opinion a first time, ultralight helicopter builder needs to be a complete lunatic and yet smart enough to start with a Mosquito. Proven design, a true ultralight, good reputation, and best chance for success.>
                  I agree the Mosquito is a brilliant design and probably the only reasonable choice as far as an ultralight Helicopter that there is. I also see it as being "assembled", and not so much as being "built", because I see building involving more manufacture of parts rather than assembling parts from a kit. That may be a different interpretation than how others see things. I was also being snarky about other flying machines since this site is almost entirely about Gyro's as opposed to other flying machines. To be fair you can easily make ultralight with a PPC or PPG and both have very good safety records. The wind limitations and speed of it are quite limiting compared to gyros.
                  "Nothing screams poor workmanship like wrinkles in the duct tape!"
                  All opinions are my own, I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong again. Feel free to correct me if I am.
                  PRA# 40294

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