Aussie Paul's gyro life........

Aussie_Paul

A reforming stirrer!!!!!
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Since 1982 Gyro 5000+ mostly instructing, and approx. 200 fixed wing in the late 1960s.
I have searched my hard drive and found most of the relevant info re my "non understanding" of gyroplanes in 1982 to where I finished with Firebird late 2007, a little wiser and informed thanks to many on this forum.

Part 1. Written approx. early 2007

I started powered gyro flying in March 1982 with a Bensen style gyro fitted with a 1905 cc VW direct drive, a 53” two blade timber prop, and a set of solid spar 23’ Rota Hawk rotors. It had a Bensen rock guard and a horizontal stab. I had bought the keel with the fin, rudder, and h/stab already fitted. I think the guys’ wife made him sell it!!! My dad and I reckoned I might as well leave the stab on even though Bensen did not have a stab. I learnt to fly it first by towing. Hops were next followed by circuits. I conducted 350 hours of most enjoyable flying in this machine between 1982 and 1987.

The death rate started to climb as the Rotax with the redrive came along and people were able to get above ground effect before they lost control and died. Prior to this a lot of alloy was bent but not a great many deaths. By the time people had the skill to get above ground effect they had enough skill not to PIO and bunt to their deaths.

I decided to try and do something about dual training and after sorting out a home built machine I imported an Air Command side x side 532 powered trainer with 25” Mc Cutchen Skywheel rotors. Gyro training was illegal in Oz at that time and my legal advisers felt that if I was going to help people train in gyros, while attempting to have the rules changed, it would be better to be operating a commercially made machine rather than a home built in case something terrible happened. If there had not been people dying in these quick build A/Command HTL kits, I would have fought to have the rules changes before I began offering training.

My first student was a friend, Mark, who was fed up with the GA rules etc and decided to build a 503 single seat open frame. With single ignition and insufficient rotor blade area I began training with hops as people had been doing with the gyro glider. We would fly from one end to the other, back track and do it again. People had to learn to taxi and valuable briefing chats were had whilst back tracking. In nil wind fly both ways. Mark was over controlling badly in pitch as did most fixed wing pilots starting with gyros. I remembered seeing a pic of a single seat A/Command with a pod and h/stab fitted, so that night I made a similar looking flat plate stab from what I could remember from the pic. I placed it 1/3 of the way up the all flying tail.

The next night we went out again and low and behold Mark was flying s/level ok!!! While refueling I removed the stabs and Mark went back to over controlling!!! Today I still have those stabs hanging up in the shed for sentimental reasons.

At this time I believed that gyros were more like a helicopter and you had to fly them all the time. I fitted the A/c super thruster update kit that had a 68” prop instead of the standard 60”. This improved the static thrust by 25 lbs with this update. Next I had the opportunity to buy 27’ Skywheel rotors and fit a dual ignition 582. This, with fitting an in flight adjustable pitch trim, made the machine less marginal and safe in my mind to conduct training away from the runway. My hand never left the throttle and many times I felt that the student would die if I wasn’t there to stop the “bunt over”!!!! Ignorance was bliss as well as being very very scared of dying probably kept me alive. The need to help people over rode my fear of dying. Around February 1990 I was President of ASRA and with help from people like mceagle Tim we achieved legal dual place training.

I took an ex Vietnam chopper pilot, who was part of the Oz air accident investigating team, for a fly in this trainer and he commented that it would be absolutely impossible to learn to fly a gyroplane without heaps of training. He came and spent an hour training with me so he could understand more about gyroplanes. He sometimes had to investigate gyroplane accidents. It was nice having the govt give me some of my taxes back!!!!! I eventually conducted a little over 1500 dual training hours in this old A/C trainer that I called “old faithful”.

As I have said in previous posts, 1997 was the time for a change and I looked at Raf for a comfortable dual trainer, and Raf were looking for an experienced instructor who believed in good instruction. At this time I still believed that gyros where inherently unstable and had to flown all the way!!! I argued with Don, from Raf, about the lack of an h/stab. Don convinced me the “magic bush come control geometry” scenario was the pitch stability stabiliser. People who said that my Raf did not have a stab would get the “magic bush come control geometry” scenario!!!!

Geez, I am embarrassed to admit all of this!!!!

I first flew the Raf in the winter and conducted quite a few 200 and 300 mile cross countries. As the summer thermals started to develop I began enjoying this flying less!!!! I would be exhausted after a few hours in the middle of a hot summer’s day. Not even game to take my hand off the throttle for a drink!!!!

In 1999 three months after being at Bensen days with Raf, I had the opportunity to fly with Rob Sanders in NZ in his Raf with a stab. When I trained Rob in my A/Command I told him of the stab story. I had heard that Rob was playing with stabs. Rob told me that he had a fright in his Raf in rough NZ mountain waves and remembered my H/stab story. He decided to have a go at making one, and proved how much better the Raf was with a stab. I was so impressed with Robs Raf that I rang Raf and was read the riot act. They (Don the flower) said that Rob and I did not know what we were talking about. I told Don that I was going to proceed to test h/stabs on my Raf, and was hoping for support.

I arrived home and told my brother Lin, who was now a proficient Raf pilot, about the Robs Raf. I made a stab to Rob’s dimensions out of ¼” ply with some alloy supports. Robs was ¾” thick and non flexible. Lin and I went flying and I was disappointed with my stab. We could feel it starting to work, but flexing the thinner ply, but the Raf kept trying to PPO. The next few days had me making one out of 5/8” MDF. Now we had a stab that was working similar to Robs.

Rob had told me about Norm’s forum and it was at this time I was the newbie on the forum and very much a Raf supporter. I explained what I was doing with the Raf, and people howled the company down and said that the stab was a band aid. I got defensive and argued BUT could see the sense that Chuck Beaty was making with his “pushing on the pencil” scenario. I am glad that I can change my views when needed!!! We made various stabs with Retro Composites Alan Loughrey, and ended up with an airfoil shaped stab that Alan called the “effective” stab. Alan improved the effective stab further by using negative AoA with it. Also at this time Ken J was introducing the Rob Sanders stab to the market place. Ken beat us to the market by a few months if I remember correctly. These were exciting days. It was strange to see diehard Raf supporters giving up on the company and going separate ways. Testing various stabs I would see how far I could fly without touching the stick. I would use power to help and realized that my abilities at sensing the unloading of the rotor were clouding the testing. A number of test pilots made some comments on the forum and emailed me privately to help me learn how to conduct unbiased testing. When you are testing your own product you want it to work and it is easy to unintentionally “fool” yourself. It took me quite some time to be able to test correctly so that I could learn from the data gained.

My brother Lin bought a kit and we decided to see if Chuck Beaty really did know what he was talking about!!!! It made sense to me BUT I always like to prove things to myself.

We decided to swap the Raf 8” off set belt redrive and fit a 4” off set Hirth gearbox BUT mount it with the prop line higher than the engine crankshaft. We stepped the keel 4” and because Raf has too much prop to keel clearance we were able to lower the thrust line 5”. This meant that the engine was now 7” higher and the thrust line 5” lower. It looked so terrible and unusual after the Raf!!! We had to make new tail feathers because the prop was rotating in the opposite direction with the gearbox. Knowing that the Raf is yaw unstable with the doors on we decided to make the tail 30% larger. This fixed the yaw stability problems. We also had to move the axle back several inches because with the almost CLT arrangement the nose came up so early that steering was difficult and putting the stick forward enough to place the nose wheel back on the ground there was insufficient disc angle to speed up the rotors.
This was the birth of Hybrid. I had been thinking about Firebird because I was having no joy with Raf and safety issues. That is why we decided to test Chucks (and many others of course) theory. Chuck’s patience with me was probably more than I deserved but Chuck hung in there for me.

Hybrid without a stab flew better than the stabbed Raf, and once we fitted a stab to hybrid. WOW!!!!

I began stick free, followed by stick fixed stability testing. Changing the trimmed airspeed by 10% and seeing how many times the nose went through the horizon and how long it took Hybrid to return to trimmed condition. The Hybrid stabs were adjustable, so I conducted tests at various AoA. I also tested various sizes and shapes of stabs on Hybrid, tested various thrust line angles as well as developing a system in my hanger for me to be able to use the double hang picture method to find the CoM of gyros. Every gyro that comes to my hanger has the CoM measured. This is for my benefit and that of the owner.
This would have to rate as the most exciting part of my aviation career. This uneducated country bumpkin was actually proving the theory. By now we were getting a pretty good handle on what was needed to make a stable gyroplane.



The next challenge was to try and improve Rafs without having to fit a gearbox which necessitated a new fin and rudder, or fitting what I felt was a reasonably expensive AAI augmentation kit. I conducted some stick fixed stability testing in a Raf with a stab to see what we needed to improve on. Attempting to conduct stick fixed testing was more like: "The first bump and the machine would start to diverge in pitch". That was the only time I felt uncomfortable with stick fixed testing. I tried twice more but the same thing happened each time. It was fine until the first bump.

I figured that getting the thrust line down by 6” must be a help, but the weight of the engine and redrive would also come down. I then figured that the rest of the gross weight of the Raf would go up in relation to the thrust line. With the engine weight of approx 300 lbs and the gross weight 1200 lbs I figured, rightly or wrongly, the CoM should change approx. 30%. 30% of the stock Raf offset of 10” was 3”, so I felt that this would be a worthwhile exercise. I modified my first stock Raf without changing the redrive or tail feathers. I also lowered the front of the engine to give a 3 degree down of the thrust line.

The first problem was the tail wheel was too low and there was not enough rotation. I had to angle the rear stepped keel back up at approx. 3 degrees to put the tail wheel back to its original position. This further helped the fixed pitch h/stab by giving it 3 more degrees of Negative AoA. The next problem encountered was the fact that the nose wheel lifted too early and the stick had to be pushed so far forward to place the nose wheel back on the ground. The disc angle was so low that the rotors were very slow to come up. Solo, I would just let it sit on the tail wheel until it flew off.

Two NZ friends, John and Lloyd, who I had trained a few years earlier bought a Raf NZ registered RAE and asked me how to modify it. John came up with the idea of curving the keel under the prop and then curving it back up to the original position. This was very aesthetic. I told john to make sure he included 3 degrees negative AoA with the stab. I also mentioned to john that I was in the process of moving the axle back a few inches on one Raf, but we could do that when I arrived to conduct the flight testing. The flight testing went well except for the nose coming up too early problem. The next day was wet so we moved the axle back a few inches and we had another WOW!!!

During the next couple of weeks I conducted training in the most modified Raf I had flown, and people who had trained with me earlier in my stabbed Raf could really notice the difference. I had a stick the correct length that I could fit between the control stick and the dash to hold 60 mph s/level cruise speed. I would remove the stick and pull the nose up until the speed was 50 mph, then I would lock the control stick again, and the machine would settle back to the stick locked trim speed after 15 seconds and 3 passes of the nose through the horizon. With an increase in speed it would take slightly longer to return to stick locked trim speed. I was happy BUT there was still one thing missing and that was the yaw stability that I had gotten used to with Hybrid.

In June 2005 while I was grounded in Oz, I again went to NZ to help out with training. John and Lloyd had fitted fuel injection to their Raf and John had modified another Raf RCW for its owner. This Raf had a larger adjustable stab with an airfoil section, as well fins on the ends of the stabs. John had also lengthened the rear keel enough to move the fin, rudder and stab back 8”. This was now the most modified Raf that I had flown, other than Hybrid.
I ran a 10 hour flight testing program with a NZ testing officer as my passenger and scribe for the testing. The pitch stability exceeded the NZ fixed wing standard. Once again I was a very happy chappy!!!!!

If I was building a stock Raf with a stab I would move the axle back 2”. With the extra weight of a stab out the back the nose wheel does come up too early particularly when solo and low fuel.

The final chapter will be to see if I have been able to incorporate all that I have learnt, with the above testing, into Firebird Mk1.

In a few months we should know!!!!

I realize that this has turned into a bit of an epistle, BUT there is a very productive story in amongst it all.

Aussie Paul. :)
 
Last edited:

CLS447

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Thanks Paul ! I will not only view it , but I will respond also.

I really enjoyed it & will reread it again.

I always hate to see lots of viewing without lots of responses !

Surely people think but few like to share their thoughts !

Thank you for sharing all of yours !

So the super thruster kit on the AC gave 25 lbs more thrust ? Do you remember what props you had used ?

Do you like the AC CLT kit ?
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
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Inspiring!

Inspiring!

Hello Paul,

I admire you willingness to think for yourself and try things inspite of your detractors.

Thank you for sharing your story.

I look forward to the next chapter.

Thank you, Vance
 

C. Beaty

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Thanks, Paul.

The part you forgot was that I almost had to beat you over the head to get you to understand that the “Magic Rubber Bushing” was a destabilizer, behaving oppositely from what RAF claimed and probably believed.

Lean the mast back and the rotor leans back, not forward as claimed.

You refused to believe what could be shown with cardboard strips and thumbtacks and had to measure the real thing with the bushing removed, using a Smart Level on the rotorhead.

The sad part is most gyros are still by guess and by gosh designs.
 

GrantR

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Thanks Paul. I enjoyed your experiences and sharing the importance of center line thrust and H stabs.
 

Aussie_Paul

A reforming stirrer!!!!!
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Ha ha Chuck.

Ha ha Chuck.

Thanks, Paul.

The part you forgot was that I almost had to beat you over the head to get you to understand that the “Magic Rubber Bushing” was a destabilizer, behaving oppositely from what RAF claimed and probably believed.

Lean the mast back and the rotor leans back, not forward as claimed.

You refused to believe what could be shown with cardboard strips and thumbtacks and had to measure the real thing with the bushing removed, using a Smart Level on the rotorhead.

The sad part is most gyros are still by guess and by gosh designs.

Sorry about that Chuck. Yes, silly, stubborn and dumb old me had to prove it for myself by using a 1/4" bolt instead of the RAF 1/2" bolt through the "magic" bushing. I locked the stick and placed the mast as far forward as the 1/4" bolt would allow. I measured the torque tube angle. I then moved the head and upper mast back as far as the 1/4" in a 1/2" hole would allow. I then re measured the torque tube AND YOU WERE BLOODY RIGHT. :)


Aussie Paul. :)
 

Resasi

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Very interesting to see how you worked your way to understanding with the RAF Paul, will look forward to reading the next episode.

I have to admit I did enjoy my lessons with Tony in his unstabbed machine. He also was doing experiments with home made stabs before the CAA approved version came out.
 

Russ Hobbs

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Good read Paul, I came on board just after your accident. The nice thing about the forum is the ability to research previous threads, and I read many of your previous posts. I'm happy to see your back to fill in the blanks.

Russ
 

Aussie_Paul

A reforming stirrer!!!!!
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Location
Ballarat Australia
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Since 1982 Gyro 5000+ mostly instructing, and approx. 200 fixed wing in the late 1960s.
Thanks Paul ! I will not only view it , but I will respond also.

I really enjoyed it & will reread it again.

I always hate to see lots of viewing without lots of responses !

Surely people think but few like to share their thoughts !

Thank you for sharing all of yours !

So the super thruster kit on the AC gave 25 lbs more thrust ? Do you remember what props you had used ?

Do you like the AC CLT kit ?

The prop was a timber Canadian 3 blade 68". Efficient but not very durable for tarmac operations.

Any kit that changes a deadly HTL machine to a CLT machine is ok by me.

Aussie Paul. :)
 

Aussie_Paul

A reforming stirrer!!!!!
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Location
Ballarat Australia
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Since 1982 Gyro 5000+ mostly instructing, and approx. 200 fixed wing in the late 1960s.
Very interesting to see how you worked your way to understanding with the RAF Paul, will look forward to reading the next episode.

I have to admit I did enjoy my lessons with Tony in his unstabbed machine. He also was doing experiments with home made stabs before the CAA approved version came out.

Leigh, if it had not been for the RAF I would probably not have ever understood gyroplanes. I trustingly spent my $$$s and HAD to do something. The old saying, "necessity being the mother of invention

Say hello to Tony for me when you next talk to him.

Aussie Paul. :)
 

Riff Raf

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Thanks Paul
This is a great thread, I love my RAF with the mods that you/and others made revolutionary!
 

Aussie_Paul

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Paul

Excerpt below from your thread on the forum regarding the relationship between the mast and the head when the mast is moved backwards

When you moved the upper mast backward were the control rods in place?

The top half of the rods are fixed to the bottom half of the mast and to the front of the head. If the mast moves backward it would seem that the control rods would hold the head down to some degree as their length is fixed and so then help keep the disc angle flat.

Seems the geometry does not add up unless I am missing something?

******


Excerpt from your thread:
Yes, silly, stubborn and dumb old me had to prove it for myself by using a 1/4" bolt instead of the RAF 1/2" bolt through the "magic" bushing. I locked the stick and placed the mast as far forward as the 1/4" bolt would allow. I measured the torque tube angle. I then moved the head and upper mast back as far as the 1/4" in a 1/2" hole would allow. I then re measured the torque tube AND YOU WERE BLOODY RIGHT.



Yes *****, the RAF 2000 controls were in the flying position. It could not understand the situation until I did this test. A similar test suggested by Chuck Beaty was to use strips of cardboard pinned to a table top. The control tubes mount to the torque tube ??? inches in front of the pitch pivot bolt. The articulated joint for the control rods that are located at the top of the lower RAF mast are less ? inches in front of the pitch pivot bolt.

Perhaps Chuck could pop in and explain it better for us.

Aussie Paul. :)
 

C. Beaty

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In the case of a parallelogram (a shoe box with the bottom removed), no matter which way it is racked, the sides remain parallel. If the RAF mast-pushrods were arranged as a parallelogram and the mast was leaned back, the rotorhead angle wouldn’t change.

But the RAF, mast-pushrods are arranged as trapezoid; the magic hinge and push rod ball joints are closer together at the bottom than at the top. As the mast leans back the rotor angle of attack increases, the rotor head and torque bar rotate about the virtual center.
 

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Aussie_Paul

A reforming stirrer!!!!!
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Since 1982 Gyro 5000+ mostly instructing, and approx. 200 fixed wing in the late 1960s.
Thanks...

Thanks...

Thanks for that Chuck, I really do not have the vocabulary to explain it well enough.

Aussie Paul. :)
 

C. Beaty

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Paul, I expect I’ve learned more new words from Australians than they could ever have learned from me.

Take Dunny door for instance; never before heard of such a thing.
 

Aussie_Paul

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Paul, I expect I’ve learned more new words from Australians than they could ever have learned from me.

Take Dunny door for instance; never before heard of such a thing.

Ha ha Chuck.

Aussie Paul. :)
 

Peter Collins

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Modified RAF 2000 RCW - an update

Modified RAF 2000 RCW - an update

I'm a newbie to gyro flying (a whole 3 hours under my belt, 2 of them with Lloyd, in RAF2000 RCW, and 1 with SamL in Kruza G762) plus another 40 hours in 3 axis fixed-wing.

I have just negotiated to purchase RCW and take it from Nelson to its new home in Rangiora so I an complete my training in a suitable vehicle. I've discussed it with Jim Service (RCO) who trained on it when Derek owned it in Timaru, and with Jim, who explained to me about the testing method that Paul discusses in his posting.

RCW is certainly easy to fly and I look forward to many fascinating hours at its controls, learning to appreciate the efforts that so many skilled people have put into making it the machine it now is.

Peter Collins
 

SamL

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GT Gyroplanes "KRUZA" G-762
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I'm a newbie to gyro flying (a whole 3 hours under my belt, 2 of them with Lloyd, in RAF2000 RCW, and 1 with SamL in Kruza G762) plus another 40 hours in 3 axis fixed-wing.

I have just negotiated to purchase RCW and take it from Nelson to its new home in Rangiora so I an complete my training in a suitable vehicle. I've discussed it with Jim Service (RCO) who trained on it when Derek owned it in Timaru, and with Jim, who explained to me about the testing method that Paul discusses in his posting.

RCW is certainly easy to fly and I look forward to many fascinating hours at its controls, learning to appreciate the efforts that so many skilled people have put into making it the machine it now is.

Peter Collins

Hi Peter
Congrat's on the purchase of RCW. I know you will enjoy flying your new gyroplane. Best of luck, & safe flying.
PS say hello to Bonita for me.

Regards SamL........
 
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