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  • Looking for a new challange

    Long time aviation nut. Bought my first project, an Aeronca, way back in '78. Also have had an interest in gyros for just about as long.

    Why Hot Wings? It's a reference to Icarus to remind me that Experimental aviation has risks. I like building as much as flying. I'm a wanabe engineer that doesn't yet feel ready to take the PE exam. But that doesn't stop me from filling cells in Excel or making pretty pictures in CAD.

    My newest challenge is a part 103 tractor gyro. To make it even harder I live at 5000 ft with lots of windy days. I may never get to the build stage, but I'm certainly going to try - if the math and CAD says I have a reasonable chance. To this end I've been reading a bunch of the old posts to refresh my memory regarding the physics of gyro flight. I'm going to have some questions..........

  • #2
    Welcome to the Rotary Wing Forum Leon.

    Why an ultralight rather than an N numbered gyroplane?

    Are you planning on getting training?

    Why don't you want to use one of the existing designs?

    I wish you success on your gyroplane adventure.
    Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

    Comment


    • #3

      Why an ultralight rather than an N numbered gyroplane?
      Tired of the bureaucratic FAA. I'll never again own a certified plane unless the spreadsheet says I'll make money with it. That includes LSA even though I helped craft the ASTM standards for fixed wings. Finding a DAR for fixed wings is hard enough. Finding one for a gyro!?

      Are you planning on getting training?
      Planning? Not at this time. If'/when the time comes to actually fly ............. I'll most likely seek some. Glider add comes first.

      Why don't you want to use one of the existing designs?
      I've have the Bensen and the various "bee" plans.
      From what I've read they just won't fly at my density altitude - too much drag. They also have too many parts to build. I still have an unused Bensen head I built before the turn of the century.
      I'm comfortable with composites. A composite tractor should help reduce both drag and parts count. I've kind of wanted to build a replica Weir W-2 for about a decade. A part 103 tractor may be as close as I'll ever get.


      I wish you success on your gyroplane adventure.
      Thanks!

      Comment


      • #4
        I fly an experimental amateur built gyroplane and don't deal with much regulation at all. The builder can do the annual condition inspection.


        An ultralight gyroplane has some real limitations particular at high density altitude. Most people use a two stroke and five gallons of gas doesn’t take you very far with a two stroke at 55kts.


        I feel training has value. Rotor management is foreign to most fixed wing pilots and in my opinion rotor mismanagement is the number one cause of gyroplane mishaps on takeoff.
        Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Vance View Post
          I feel training has value. .
          Arguably even more value than for a fixed wing. I totaled a weight shift trike on my first, attempted, flight in that type of aircraft and still have a piece of the broken nylon wheel as reminder. I like to think I can learn from, some of my mistakes.....


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          • #6
            Hot Wings: I don't know where in the Rocky Mountains you reside at, but a gyro guy moved from here locally in Oregon (less than 100' ASL), to Colorado Springs (6,000' ASL) many years ago w/ a Vancraft Rotor Lightning (the company formed later as Sport Copter), powered by a Rotax DCDI. The gyro weighed 274#, having 23' Skywheels (fiberglass) rotors. So, it was 21#s over weight of the FAR 103 regs as an ultralight vehicle. It also could go a lot faster than the Part 103 limit of 63 mph.

            He weighed about 170#, and after being proficient flying that gyro around here, could not get it to climb any higher than a foot off of one of the gravel/dirt runways, no matter what he tried. He had help from local gyro people to change the jetting for the much higher altitude. It still simply did not have the grunt power to do anything better than 1'. That gyro had the Sport Copter fairing, which helps the airstream to slide around the gyro in the front. He bought another gyro, a Sport Copter, that had a Rotax 618 (about 75 hp), and flew it fine for several hundred hours until the engine seized one day.

            So, not only was there not enough horses to fly there @ the Springs, but the machine was already 20# overweight to be legally an ultralight. Change to any two stroke engine w/ more hp requires adding a radiator since that amount of power needs water cooling to last any length of time. The FAA personnel are not stupid. They know what they see is pretty much accurate regarding flying weights.

            Certainly going four stroke will even make it more assured you'll be spotted as flying an unregistered aircraft. Yes, a few people stay away from busy airports where the FAA don't visit very often, but the biggest factor is there is no performance to be had w/ an engine that is close to making the gyro appear to be an ultralight at higher altitudes. And, even more important, it certainly would have no reserve of power that is quite often needed for climbing out, or sudden emergency situations where power is needed to avoid any other aircraft, or objects, such as trees or buildings if you end up being too close to them.

            I speak from experience flying a Rotax 503 DCDI powered single place, "N" numbered, registered gyro @ 4,000' altitude in Utah (higher density altitude when it gets hotter out, such as over 6,000' DA. Takeoffs were l-o-n-g and climbouts were s-l-o-w as well @ the same altitude in far SE Oregon flying off the Alvord desert dry lake bed. It flew me fine around here locally, but it took awhile climbing out w/ full fuel on board (just short of 8 gallons), and I had to be careful until burning off several gallons.

            Also, @ 3,000' ASL @ El Mirage dry lake bed in southern California's high desert. That gyro, a Sport Copter Lightning, weighed 340#, using 25' Sport Rotors. I believe that if it only 23' blades, I never would have lifted off, needing the extra diameter rotor disc, or "wing" to fly around. On a high-density altitude day, I could only get off the ground if I had 3-4 gallons of fuel on board, and then only be able to gain a few hundred feet in altitude. I weighed about 220#.

            That little amount (3-4 gallons) of fuel is little more than about a half hour of flight on a two stroke engine, and doesn't consider that the FAA wants us to have a 20 minute reserve. Firing up the engine, warming it up for a few moments, taxiing it out to the runway, and accelerating through lift off, and then climbing out, consumes about 1 to 1-1/2 gallons! You've now got about 2-1/2 gallons left if you had only about four gallons onboard in order to get off the ground. I'd use about one gallon every 10 minutes, so, about 25 minutes of flying before the big fan behind you stops. Or, if being smart, and having a fuel reserve of 20 minutes, about five minutes of flying time before landing! If you have a full five gallons on board to follow the ultralight rule, @ a high density altitude, you might not be able to lift off at all because it's too much weight for the engine to lift!

            I switched to a Yamaha snowmobile engine (four stroke), w/ more than double the hp, and now can fly around w/ plenty of power @ those higher altitudes. I did have troubles w/ having full power when I experimented w/ using different mufflers on the engine @ those altitudes. But, I never have used all those 120 horses, only using about 90 hp (maximum), limiting them due to my prop pitch. The engine seems to be loafing along @ less than 6,600 rpms cruising around (w/ 7,200 max for full throttle for climbing out). The engine's redline is 10,500 rpms.

            I'm limited to speed due to my comfort level because it is an open cockpit, and anything faster than 60 mph really starts beating me up in the wind, as well as my clothing is whipping me to death. I've had it up 100 mph, but didn't like how much I had to lower the rotor blade disc down in front to do so. Below 60 mph, it is a pleasant day out, much like driving your car in the summer time w/ all the windows down. Below 45 mph, it is as if I don't hardly feel any wind.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Hot Wings View Post
              A composite tractor should help reduce both drag and parts count. I've kind of wanted to build a replica Weir W-2 for about a decade. A part 103 tractor may be as close as I'll ever get.
              Keep in mind that the drag from the autorotating rotor system is so dominant that a slick composite body provides less performance advantage than one might wish.

              I'd love to have a Weir as well, and have always thought the auto-dynamic rotor was quite clever.

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