Buying an ArrowCopter second hand

deandob

Newbie
All,

I'm interested in ArrowCopter #10 (G-1010, the only one registered in Australia) as a second hand purchase. It is an AC10 build 2012 rotax 914 with about 500 hours.
This will be my first machine and should have finished my training by Christmas.
There is so little info on the web about this machine its hard to find out some of the details, so I have a number of questions for the folks on this forum familiar with the Arrow:

- People say the Arrowcopter is a heavy machine but what does that actually mean? I found when flying the machine as a passenger that it was stable but also seemed to have enough agility, and it has a good cruise speed compared to other machines. Note I live in subtropics where it is humid and temperatures in the high 90's (35 degrees) in summer which will impact power.

- Fuel economy, is it considerably worse than equivalent machines due to its weight?

- The UK regulators would not certify the Arrow in the UK (deviant in fugoid above 75mph?) does this mean the gyro is dangerous / prone to PPO? It does seem to have a high thrust line but has a reasonable horizontal tail.

- Have any of the Arrows crashed? If so, what was the cause?

- This particular machine had a bird strike on the prop, which was replaced as well as the gearbox (just to be safe). Anything to be concerned about long term from this?

- What is the difference between the AC10 and AC20? I think they are the same machine (renamed AC20 after Austrian type certification).

-
Is the Arrowcopter a good first machine (ie. is it easy to fly, forgiving of mistakes as I learn)?

- Given that this one is an early Arrowcopter, are there any recommended updates based on customer experiences?

- If you have an opinion about the pros/cons of the arrow versus other euro machines (J-Ro and Eclipse)

- Variable pitch prop, the current owner mentioned it didn't seem to make a difference in power/economy - doesn't seem right as you should be able to set it for power for takeoff / manoeuvring and economy for cruise?

- What are some of the typical problems that folks are experiencing with the Arrowcopter (eg. regular replacement of parts)? Any extra maintenance concerns specific to the Arrow?

- What should I look out for when inspecting a used Arrowcopter to buy

- I have seen that the bottom of the tail on this machine has dragged sufficiently to have worn down completely the composite bottom of the tail. I assume it isn't a big problem to fix.

-
Are Arrowcopter back up and running? They went insolvent not so long ago and seemingly they got refinanced but it isn't clear if production has started again, ie. if I need spare parts will they be available?

- Anything else to consider?

Thanks for the feedback!

Regards
Dean
 

magknight

Member
I sold my Arrowcopter AC20 to a gentleman in New Zealand. I don’t know if you’re ever there, but it’s a better example of the later built Arrows. It’s fully loaded with Dynon avionics front and back with ever option.

As for flying, it is the best flying gyro out there in my opinion until you get to high speed cruise. There is significant forward stick pressure required at high cruise. If you release the pressure the nose wants to come up quickly. I never had a problem with it, but it’s tiring on long flights and I can imagine a bad scenario if you don’t stay on it (I don’t know but I’d guess that’s the reason for the UK denying certification). If you let it get out of trim in fast cruise it wants to yaw then roll due to the wing dragging (that’s my guess). But in every other stage of flight it was a dream. Easy landing, easy take off, really solid.

On the issues, I had a few, but for the most part it’s really well build. We had leaking tank sumps which are down by the rear wheels that ended up weakening the carbon and had to be repaired. Everything is custom, so no off the shelf options and they had only very limited quantities. Pretty much made to order. Had an issue with the pneumatic system and a runaway pump caused by a faulty design. if you engaged the pre-rotator and the trim at the same time it would blow a relay and the pump would run continuously. Unfortunately this was always during take off and the back trim would continue to run on take off (not good). Only other big item I didn’t like was the brakes. I had the rear brake system for instruction and it made the system too complicated and nearly impossible to bleed properly. This is an issue since it uses differential braking.

Now, that machine. Others might have more info, but it is one of the first. In my opinion he’s wrong about the prop. His was an earlier prop and control (variable pitch vs constant speed) The new prop is a constant speed and is very effective and the gyro wouldn’t perform the same without it. He had a bird strike which caused it to prop to come apart in air and the vibration caused other damage (not sure what it was) but I think it was a safe landing. This data was used to strength and redesign the newer prop. If I could just buy that prop system, I’d put it on my Cavalon today! The other thing I heard was that he replaced the rotor system so you might check that. The newer AC has a 3 degree pre-con in the hub bar and was a great setup.

No no accidents that I’m aware of other than his bird strike. Hope this all helps a little.
 

Mac

Member
Insights to flight characteristics of the Arrowcopter????
I have never seen an Arrowcopter in person. My imaginary drawn line of thrust for the Arrowcopter puts thrust above centerline. Having to apply significant forward stick at high cruise rocks my preconception of its flight characteristics. My thoughts for stick pressure would be the application of more back pressure due to my notion of it have an above centerline thrust. The upward lift from the canard type wheel struts do not seem far enough forward of centerline nor does the horizontal stabilizer appear to apply significant downward lift to require the forward stick pressure at high speeds. Where are the forces originating for the required stick pressure at high speeds. Is it rotorblades??? Would an Aviomania influenced horizontal stabilizer help with yaw? I don't know the answers.

Edit: Does the canard type wheel struts influence rotor speed? Is rotor speed somewhat linear from cruise to high speed cruise?
I love the lines of the Arrowcopter and wonder about its flight characteristics.
I hope these questions are not distracting to the above post.
 
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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Mac;n1127066 said:
Insights to flight characteristics of the Arrowcopter????
I have never seen an Arrowcopter in person. My imaginary drawn line of thrust for the Arrowcopter puts thrust above centerline, Having to apply significant forward stick at high cruise rocks my preconception of its flight characteristics. My thoughts for stick pressure would be the application of more back pressure due to my notion of it have an above centerline thrust. The upward lift from the canard type wheel struts do not seem far enough forward of centerline nor does the horizontal stabilizer appear to apply significant downward lift to require the forward stick pressure at high speeds. Where are the forces originating for the required stick pressure at high speeds. Is it rotorblades??? Would an Aviomania influenced horizontal stabilizer help with yaw? I don't know the answers,
In my opinion cyclic pressure at speed has to do with trim and is unrelated to thrust line offset.

At my top level speed in the gyroplane I fly (The Predator) the cyclic (stick) is against the forward stop. If I add power she will climb. I can trim her for that cyclic position.

I have not flown the Arrowcopter. I have flown several gyroplanes that would roll with yaw at higher speeds. In my opinion it is not particularly hazardous. If I just manage the pedals and stay coordinated there in no roll. I feel flying coordinated is important in any gyroplane with a body.

It is easy to get caught up in imagining a particular feature is important. In my opinion a gyroplane is a system that works together. One of the more stable gyroplanes I have flown is the Magni M16. It has a very high thrust line compared to the center of gravity. The total system is what makes it work.

An American Ranger appears to have a high thrust line in relationship to the center of gravity and yet the power/pitch/yaw coupling that some gyroplanes exhibit is significantly absent.
 

deandob

Newbie
Thanks guys, this feedback is gold!

For those niggling problems like not enough trim at high speed cruise and blowing a relay when engaging the prerotator and trim at the same time - surely the factory was notified and issued a fix for these design flaws? Or does the owner have to deal with them separately (ie. Arrowcopter factory doesn't provide after sales service)?

Also, what exactly is the difference between a variable prop and constant speed prop (pardon my ignorance) and why is it better on the Arrow? I'll check with the owner to see if he replaced the original variable speed prop with a constant speed one.

Also good to hear no accidents with the 50 or so flying around, not a bad record (a bird strike isn't the fault of the pilot or machine).
 

deandob

Newbie
Interesting link. Looks pretty dead... So Arrowcopter is at the end of the line, which means getting parts for it will be hard. I have asked Chris (ckurz7000) if he can jump into this thread to provide an update as he has a close association with ArrowCopter (FD Composites) being a test pilot for them (at one point, not sure now).
 

deandob

Newbie
They are still responding to email - I sent them an enquiry about option for the new 915IS and they replied (cc: Martin Kassecker CEO).
 

Tomgyro

Newbie
$2.8 million.....mere pocket change for a Saudi aero club or private investment trust. If there have been over 1000 Autogyro brand gyros of one model only, there is a market for at least several hundred Arrow Copters as those experienced pilots look to upgrade to faster enclosed machines. I would not count the market dead yet.
 

GyrOZprey

Aussie in Kansas.
Listen to your local ASRA sources ...... NO .... do not buy this machine! There are plenty of good alternate options with solid active companies that will give you good after sales service and access to parts ...at this time the Arrowcopter in Australia is an unwanted orphan! RUN Forrest RUN!!!!!

....just my 2 cents worth!
 

XXavier

Member
Tomgyro;n1127153 said:
$2.8 million.....mere pocket change for a Saudi aero club or private investment trust. If there have been over 1000 Autogyro brand gyros of one model only, there is a market for at least several hundred Arrow Copters as those experienced pilots look to upgrade to faster enclosed machines. I would not count the market dead yet.
The market for top-class gyros is very small, but –if the internet can be trusted– the company is now owned by a Swiss holding company formed with Qatari capital...
 

deandob

Newbie
Hi Chris, I have been asking around the ASRA sources and indeed the question of the viability of Arrowcopter for the long term came up, but also speaking to someone well respected in the local ASRA community who has flown all of the latest enclosed tandems including the arrow had positive things to say about how it flies (albeit a little heavy). Visually the Arrow is the most appealing of the current generation of tandem enclosed gyros, it flies fast and the concept of the winglets (eg. storing fuel, adding lift) make sense. I have flown in the Aussie one, and was impressed, it seemed very stable yet could still dance in the sky. Downside is the question of viability of the company long term, and weight (consensus seems to be the 914 is still powerful enough for the extra weight).

Also the translation of this page
http://www.noen.at/amstetten/fd-composites-zieht-zurueck-in-den-bezirk/11.342.111
(linked from the one XXavier posted) explains how FD-Composites has been recapitalised and production starting up again earlier this year. Also it mentions that the production moved to another district in Austria which is why the blog XXavier originally posted shows a vacant factory - they moved!

However I would be interested to know if they are selling them now. I might ask on the German gyro forum.
 

XXavier

Member
deandob;n1127162 said:
Hi Chris, I have been asking around the ASRA sources and indeed the question of the viability of Arrowcopter for the long term came up, but also speaking to someone well respected in the local ASRA community who has flown all of the latest enclosed tandems including the arrow had positive things to say about how it flies (albeit a little heavy). Visually the Arrow is the most appealing of the current generation of tandem enclosed gyros, it flies fast and the concept of the winglets (eg. storing fuel, adding lift) make sense. I have flown in the Aussie one, and was impressed, it seemed very stable yet could still dance in the sky. Downside is the question of viability of the company long term, and weight (consensus seems to be the 914 is still powerful enough for the extra weight).

Also the translation of this page
http://www.noen.at/amstetten/fd-composites-zieht-zurueck-in-den-bezirk/11.342.111


(linked from the one XXavier posted) explains how FD-Composites has been recapitalised and production starting up again earlier this year. Also it mentions that the production moved to another district in Austria which is why the blog XXavier originally posted shows a vacant factory - they moved!

However I would be interested to know if they are selling them now. I might ask on the German gyro forum.
As this news is from December 2015, when the new chef, Siegfried Gruber, says that 'he intends to resume production in January', he means January 2016. Almost two years have passed since then...
 
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deandob

Newbie
Yes, I sent the company an email (as they responded to me earlier) asking for clarification of support for existing machines. Lets see what they come back with. Agree until we see more evidence of the company in active operation (and even better if there are any new sales) then it is best to be cautious.
 

Steve_UK

Active Member
Hi Dean - I've not been able to find any production after serial 044 - 044 was delivered in summer 2015.

I have noticed over the past year or so numerous ads promoting the product on their Facebook page - however all the images used related to known older machines.

My *guess* would be that they are trying to gather sufficient orders/letters of intent to resume.

Be interesting to see if Arrowcopter make an appearance at the next Aero trade show at Friedrichshafen ( ie April 2018 ) - this is the largest GA trade show in Europe - they used to attend every year.

Have you been and seen your local G1010?




Fleet on my Blog

http://gyrocopterarrowcopter.blogspot.co.uk/
 

deandob

Newbie
Yes, I have seen & flown in G1010. It has almost 600 hours on it and not in perfect condition but not unreasonable for its age. The biggest issue is the bottom of the rudder has worn down so needs repair to the carbon fibre (I assume not too difficult - but the arrow does not seem to have any protection for tail scraping on takeoff/landing). I thought it flew well but I was only a passenger and not experienced enough.

My other options are a Calidus, J-Ro and ELA Eclipse, as it seems buying a second hand arrow will be a risky proposition for ongoing support.
 

ckurz7000

Senior Member
Lately, I have very little time to spend on the forum. But I just stumbled upon this thread and have to chime in. Please excuse my enthusiasm for this machine. This really is my dream gyro and has been now for about 6 years.

I have flown a lot of the European gyros (MTO, Calidus, Cavalon, Xenon, Tercel, ELA 07, Magni M16, M24, etc.) and am now flying the ArrowCopter since about 2011. I was the company test pilot for the certification process and wrote the POH for it. So I do know the machine pretty well.

The ArrowCopter is a machine built at the highest build quality I have seen. They are manufactured at Carbotech, a company well known for high quality racing technology. They use prepreg cloth and cure it in an autoclave. You really have to see it. As the ArrowCopter was the first gyro ever to be certified by the Austrian authorities, they were extremely cautios and careful about the entire process. We started from the British BCAR Section T with some additional requirements. The whole certification process was very strict, alsmot to the point of being a regular ICAO certified aircraft.

The empty weight of my own machine, which is pretty much tricked out (including a fire extinguisher) to the max, is 372 kg at a MTOM of 560 kg. The ArrowCopter has been designed to 600 kg (including all safety factors) but is limited to 560 kg when registered as an ultralight in Austria. In other parts of the world, where they are flying as experimentals, 600 kg MTOM is often used with no problems. However, it doesn't feel like a heavy machine at all. It is light on the stick and very responsive. It reminds me of the Calidus but it isn't as nervous and jittery. It flies very predictably with no bad habits.

It is very easy to land and virtually impossible to tip over because of its 2.45 m wide stance. The wings also function as shock absorbers and they provide noticable ground effect. In addition, the nose wheel is freely castoring. Combine all these effects and you have a gyro which is very easy to land even in a strong cross wind. I remember the test flight series I did to demonstrate cross wind capability. The wind was blowing at 20 kts straight across and I was able to land with no engine and no problem thanks to the generous rudder volume. Climb performance at MTOM is about 800 fpm and take-off distance is about in line with an MTO.

I have a constant speed propeller (the ArrowCopter also comes in a variable pitch version) and am loving it! Flight performance is great, particularly on long cross country flights. I cruise at 180 km/h solo and 160 km/h at max gross. And that's on 75% power, burning about 22 liters per hour. It is easily the fastest gyro around and I set the F.A.I. speed world record in 2016 in this machine, topping the previous record by 60 km/h. (One piece of information if you check out the record: the speed of 181 km/h is measured as the average from take-off to landing over an out-and-return course. It is NOT the cruising speed, which was 225 km/h.)

My machine is serial number 4 with all mods installed. I haven't had any maintenance issues at all apart from (1) a leaking drain valve and (2) a slow leak in the pneumatic line. I love my LiFe battery which has never let me down and charges to full in about 1 hour should I ever need to charge it. The only complaint I have is that changing a tire takes a bit more fiddling because of the wheel fairings. All electronics are accessible behind the rear seat mounted to the fire wall. The fire wall itself is, of course, covered by stainless steel sheet metal on the engine side.

The ArrowCopter comes with a closed and optionally an open canopy. They exchange without any tools in about 30 seconds.

Regarding the company. They have had a big fire in 2014 which burned the factory to ground. In 2015 they went through some financial troubles but managed to shed their debt and are now debt free. They are have restructured and moved shop. Both very arduous and drawn out processes. They are back in the seat again. They have full stock of parts and provide service to the entire fleet. They are just starting to build new ships. It is probably best to inquire directly by mail or phone.

Greetings, -- Chris.

P.S.: I am not associated in any way with the company. If I come across as biased toward the ArrowCopter it is simply because I really love this gyro.
 
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