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  • Sparrow Hawk RAF

    I am looking at a RAF with Sparrow Hawk conversion with 350 hours. Has RAF blades. Anything I should be looking at? How long does the rotor bearing last? RAF blades good?

  • #2
    Hello Kevin,

    Most of the RAF American Autogyro (Sparrow Hawk) conversions I have seen include a set of Sport Copter rotor blades.

    The blades are fabricated aluminum instead of the composite blades of the RAF.

    The Predator came with RAF blades and I changed them to Sport Copter blades because the RAF blades were cracking on the trailing edge at 250 hours and/or nine years.

    If you have the RAF blades there may be challenges with the hub bar, balance and cracking. They may also be just fine.

    Good luck on your gyroplane adventure Kevin.
    Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

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    • #3
      I have a RAF in my hanger that has the RAF blades,they are the smoothest blades I have ever seen.The later generation blades appear to be OK,

      I fly sportcoptor blades on my RAF and they are not the smoothest,but they do have excellent flight qualitys and are really strong.
      Best Regards,
      Eddie Sigman,Polvadera,nm
      (575) 835-4921

      Comment


      • #4
        What engine 2.2 or 2.5 Subaru ?
        Happy Flying, Chris S.

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        • #5
          It has a 2.2 engine. RAF says that the blades need to be replaced at 15 years. I am a little concerned that this has RAF blades that have not been replaced. It was built in 1996. Am I concerned for nothing?

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          • #6
            Rattler 1, do exercise great caution. That you've posted here in advance is a good sign.
            The 1996 kits have the old (crack prone) hub bar. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

            RAF really does not know how to design rotor systems.
            The internal spar of their blades (which I've seen) is cross-hatched with many stress risers. An odd notion of "engineering".

            Also, the 2.2 is likely underpowered for the heavier Sparrowhawk conversion.

            If you must buy this gyro, make sure you've enough cash to upgrade immediately to Sport Copter's rotor/hub bar.
            And have an RAF expert owner check it out for you.

            Good luck, safe flying,
            Kolibri
            PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

            Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!

            "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

            Comment


            • #7
              The latter generation of RAF rotor blades is just fine,there has never been to my knowledge a blade failure,there have been some hub bar

              problems but they appear to have been involved is prior accidents. I have a set of later generation blades and the early styled bar and would fly

              all day on them. You have said that the blades appear to be the earlier generation blades,I would recommend replacing them.

              I fly with sportcoptor blades on my RAF rotor head and it works just fine,the only complaint is that the blades are not very smooth,and I

              know the rotor head is not the problem,as I have tried different rotor heads with the same vibrations. the sportcoptor blades are really

              built stronger than necessary but that's fine by me,the extra strength gives you a positive feeling about the reliability of them.

              There is no such thing as to much HP on a gyro,I would recommend the 2.5 Subaru as the miminiun engine size for the sparrowhawk conversion.
              Best Regards,
              Eddie Sigman,Polvadera,nm
              (575) 835-4921

              Comment


              • #8
                eddie, sorry that your SC rotors uncharacteristically aren't as smooth as others (and I am pleased with mine). Have you chatted with Jim Vanek about it? And, yes, you did manage to survive for 600 hours on that old RAF hub bar, but you also enjoyed a fair amount of luck in that.

                Regarding RAF's rotor blades (including their last/24th generation), I've been informed of their engineering faults by an expert in the industry, so I personally would not trust them (or any other RAF rotor system component). To make the RAF 2000 into a manifestly safe machine requires replacing or modifying nearly everything but the gas cap. There is not a single major sub-system that hasn't significant design and/or material issues. After 200+ hours in mine, I've learned this lesson rather well over the past 3 years. Caveat emptor, Rattler 1.

                PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

                Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!

                "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kolibri View Post
                  eddie, sorry that your SC rotors uncharacteristically aren't as smooth as others (and I am pleased with mine). Have you chatted with Jim Vanek about it? And, yes, you did manage to survive for 600 hours on that old RAF hub bar, but you also enjoyed a fair amount of luck in that.

                  Regarding RAF's rotor blades (including their last/24th generation), I've been informed of their engineering faults by an expert in the industry, so I personally would not trust them (or any other RAF rotor system component). To make the RAF 2000 into a manifestly safe machine requires replacing or modifying nearly everything but the gas cap. There is not a single major sub-system that hasn't significant design and/or material issues. After 200+ hours in mine, I've learned this lesson rather well over the past 3 years. Caveat emptor, Rattler 1.
                  With all due respect.......how many major sub systems can you list or think of ?

                  Blades, rod ends,landing gear, cabin, dash,engine ???? What all did you learn ?

                  I was just saying yesterday, how I used to think 25K was alot for the RAF. As I am helping build this SH1 I realize that the RAF was a bargain. Anodized & powder coated , pick your interior.

                  We spend more time looking for drawings than building. I pity anyone that had to build a SH1. My friend purchased every upgrade along the way, making alot of the manual useless. Starting with the underpowered 2.2. Did these "engineers" believe at some point that it was enough power ?

                  Then at Mentone the one year , they actually took them in the grass......,.,Remember that ?

                  All of my hours in an RAF were very enjoyable. One ride in a SH showed me "not interested" . Bring your ladder !
                  Happy Flying, Chris S.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Chris, it would be easier to list the very few major sub-systems that did not need serious re-engineering.
                    The engine I've not much issue with, but, really, that's about all.
                    Nearly everything else was done rather poorly, cheaply, heavily, and often dangerously.

                    Such has been thoroughly covered on RWF, although disparately over many years.
                    The below thread of mine has many general RAF pointers, while dealing with a particular gyro, owner, and seller:

                    https://www.rotaryforum.com/forum/ki...2%80%94-n122lh

                    The RAF 2000 could have been a great gyro, but neither the Canadians nor the South Africans care to make it so. Virtually every improvement of design or material has derived from the owners themselves (either in self-fabrication, or going to quality aftermarket sources). The component list is very extensive, and had I known of it as a newbie I'd have bought another brand of gyro. Rotors, hub-bar, control system, landing gear, ignition, horizontal stabilizer, fuel tank, etc., etc. There wasn't a single aeronautic engineer behind the RAF 2000, on either continent, and it shows.


                    After throwing $13,000+ and many hours of repairs/mods, I began to generally enjoy mine. (I've profoundly mixed feelings about my journey.)
                    But, a "poor-man's Cavalon" a stock RAF 2000 is not . . .

                    Regards, Kolibri
                    PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

                    Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!

                    "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

                    Comment

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