Cyclogyro [Cyclogiro]


I think it's called the Magnus Effect, easy to build a Flight Model....

Pull the ends off a BIC pen, and press it against the table it until it pops out from under your fingers, done right it'll have lots of backspin, and will perform a Loop(proof of lift) in Mid-air.

Problems is an engine Failure the wing stops rotating.... and gravity wins...
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Cyclogyro , paddlewheel rotors .... various names ....

I built one of those in my basement in 1980. The rotors were 2 feet long , cord 4 inches , symetrical (they have to be) and the diameter of the rotor assembly was 4 feet.

I used a one horsepower electric gearhead motor on a rehostat , which means I could control the electric motor rpm from 0 to 1680 rpm. With additional reduction the actual rotor speed was very slow. This was the whole purpose. A slow rigid rotor with no dissemetry of lift and no retreating blade stall until over 200mph. (Without my notes I would guess the rotor speed at about 200 mph.) That is a slow rotor. Airfoil was chosen for high lift at lower speeds. The rotor was rigid mechanically. Centrifugal force or blade strength was not required for rotor to be rigid.

I had the assembly nicely mounted on a long set of arms to do the testing. I used a calibrated bathroom scale under the heavy end to measure the lift. By my rough calculations it would lift 10 pounds per horsepower. At the time I knew helicopters flew with these ratios of pounds per horsepower.

As my 4 foot diameter rotor system hovered just below the floor joists of my basement , I was most surprised at how smooth it flew. I had built my own cyclic and collective controls and pitch had to change from lift over the top 180*to push at the lower 180*.

The rotors were as rigid as possible , centrifugal force was not required in this system. Rotors turned at a low rpm.

See my drawings on a napkin. Not very good. Remember I was trying to build a very slow speed rotor with a high forward speed. At the time I knew nothing about aerodynamics or rotors except the local library. ... which had very little.

I went on to fly the Bell 47 helicopter and did not experiment with hobby cyclogyro's any more. With the internet I see many others had the same idea since the 1930's.

What I would really like is for someone like Dave Jackson and others to study this type of slow rigid rotor with an eye on forward speed around 150 mph. I would appreciate all the arguments why it would not work and I have a few more ideas to keep this idea active. Thanks.


Rotor Rooter

Dave Jackson
Hi Arnie,

It is an interesting idea. Congratulations on going the distance to build and test a model prototype. That's further than I go with my crazy ideas.

A couple of concerns to consider might be;
Does the center of lift vary longitudinally between hover and forward flight.
When testing indoors, the lift to power ratio might have been enhanced by ground-effect AND by ceiling-effect.​

"symmetrical (they have to be)" . OK. I wonder if a weird 'airfoil' might offer something. For a crazy idea; what about a cloth skin held in place by being attached be a strong leading edge bar and strong trailing edge bar. These bars could be interconnected by bowed bars above and below the flexible skin. They would act as an 'external' spar and help shape the skin as it moves, by air pressure, between the so-called 'upper' and 'lower' spars. In other words; a undercambered blade that can work with air coming at either surface of the skin.

It might be interesting to see what Northrop was considering in their soon-to-be 17 year old patent combined with your new ideas.