Is Ultralight Gyro really possible?

GyroDoug

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Is there anyone out there flying a Gyroplane that honestly weighs in at less than 254 lbs? I know Gyroplanes are not very efficient at flying and a lot will depend on how heavy the pilot is and at what altitude you are flying out of. For me an ultralight gyro may never be practical. But is there anyone out there that has a Gyro that honestly makes weight? If so please describe the model, what engine is on it and what features it does without to make weight, and how you like flying it. I would like to know if many people are really able to pull it off. I understand many people call what they fly an ultralight and fly it without a license but I really want to know if it is possible to do it at legal weight.

Thanks,

Gyro Doug
 
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dragonflyerthom

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Doug

A friend of mine Stevorotors has built a Hornet that weighs 252 lbs. He just came under the weight. He post on the forum from time to time. You might ask him.
 

Friendly

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Doug,
I think it is possible although I have not done so. The biggest obstacle to over come I think is the engine weight and Rotor weight. The trend has been to use the Rotax or Compact Radial. The Bensen with the Mac made ultralight weight ( I have been told).
Look at this engine and a set of 23 ft Dragonwings.
http://www.simoniniusa.com/?page=Engines&Engine=Victor-1-Plus
 

GyroRon

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Doug, I thought Larry Neals original butterfly with the 503 and no frills was supposed to make the 254 weight limit
 

Chuck Roberg

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Is there anyone out there flying a Gyroplane that honestly weighs in at less than 235 lbs?

The Ultralight weight limit is actually 254 lbs or less.

The KB-3 gyro when built to Ken Brocks specs would make the Ultralight weight. This included pre-rotor and brakes.

Now before any newby here runs out and buys a used KB-3. Be advised this is a High Thrust line Machine.

If you want an Ultralight then I would look into the Honey Bee or Star Bee gyro's. I understand they both can be built to Ultralight specs.
 

DennisFetters

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Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt to prove it...

Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt to prove it...

I did it back in the 1980's with hundreds of 447 Commanders flying all over the world. FAA even did an official weighing. They were not sky rockets, but they flew pretty good for what they were, as you can see with your own eyes in this old promotional video;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYuHR1Eet3w
 

Jazzenjohn

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I've designed, built, and flown 4 different ultralight gyros. Amassing parts for a 2 place now.
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My Gyrobee was a true ultralight. It had Bensen blades and no prerotator. It had a Rotax 447 engine. When I used the R&D aerosports tuned pipe the performance was decent. It was further improved with Sport Copter blades, but it was overweight then. I could have shed the necessary pounds to be a true ultralight with them, but I didn't bother. It was overweight even more with Dragon Wings and a Wunderlich prerotator.
 

Jazzenjohn

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The Rotax 447 weighs about 90 pounds and the Skywheels 75 or 80. The entire rest of the gyro including rotorhead, stick, frame, tail, wheels, motor mount, seat, instruments, prop, weighed only 75 pounds?
 

Alan_Cheatham

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Doug, I thought Larry Neals original butterfly with the 503 and no frills was supposed to make the 254 weight limit

Yes, it was a true ultralight and came in under the UL weight limit with room to spare. With Bensen blades and a wood prop it even made the speed restrictions, according to Larry.
 

Joe Pires

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I would guess a 150 pound pilot would more likely find success in getting airborn and having acceptable performance in an ultralight than a 220 pounder.
 

GyroDoug

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Doug,
I think it is possible although I have not done so. The biggest obstacle to over come I think is the engine weight and Rotor weight. The trend has been to use the Rotax or Compact Radial. The Bensen with the Mac made ultralight weight ( I have been told).
Look at this engine and a set of 23 ft Dragonwings.
http://www.simoniniusa.com/?page=Engines&Engine=Victor-1-Plus

Mark,

While that may be a good engine choice I am thinking the Aixro XR 50 makes more sense. It is also rated at 48 HP but weighs about half the weight. I do not know what all up weight (with exhaust and all other needed accessories like a PSRU) would be on either unit as I only have what they quote in their marketing material, but I suspect the Aixro engine will be lighter and smoother running. And it is less money to purchase.

I do believe building an ultralight Gyro is possible. I am just not sure if it can be done economically. The Aixro XR50 engine is still over $5,000 and using carbon fiber to build a really light frame costs a lot more than using aluminum. However, to have enough power to fly larger pilots or fly out of higher altitudes, an ultralight would have to have a very light but powerful engine and as light a frame as possible. If someone could develop an ultralight Gyro that would honestly make weight and give reasonable performance under less than ideal circumstances (like small pilots flying at sea level) I think there would be a huge market for it.

Chuck,

Sorry for the mistake. I was thinking 253 lbs and just had a dyslexic moment. I guess I just think of 253 because it has to weigh in at 254 or less so I am thinking you should be at 253 to make sure you make weight.

Ron,

Larry did make an ultralight version, but he found that all the people he talked to always wanted pre-rotators and they got excited about his G-Force landing gear and MLS system, so he wasn't selling the lighter system. That coupled with his vision of the future and the Super Sky Cycle being where he believes the big market will be, has led him away from ultralights.

I know there are several companies that claim they make kits for ultralight Gyroplanes. (There are also companies that claim they have Gyros that will fly at up to 140 mph but I have yet to find an individual who will publicly state that he has one and yes it does fly that fast) What I was hoping to find with this thread was actual pilots who have built an ultralight that makes weight and they fly it on a regular basis. I would love to hear from people who are living proof that it works and is practical. I would like to hear how they perform and what limitations they have. I would like to know what combination of frames and engines and systems they used to make weight. You would think if they really do exist, there would be someone on the forum that flies one. What I am hearing so far is "I know someone who has" or "I know this company that says they can". I would just like to hear from someone who says "I do and here is how".

Gyro Doug
 

GyroDoug

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My Gyrobee was a true ultralight. It had Bensen blades and no prerotator. It had a Rotax 447 engine. When I used the R&D aerosports tuned pipe the performance was decent. It was further improved with Sport Copter blades, but it was overweight then. I could have shed the necessary pounds to be a true ultralight with them, but I didn't bother. It was overweight even more with Dragon Wings and a Wunderlich prerotator.

John,

In my previous post I said I want to find pilots who have actually built a true ultralight and are flying it. While you have built one that did make weight and flown it, you changed it and didn't continue to fly it that way. That begs the question, "Is it really practical to fly an ultralight Gyro?" You obviously decided that for you it was better to modify and change yours, after it was flying in it's ultralight form.

I know it is possible to do. But I wonder why it is not being done. Is it that they perform so marginally that it is just not fun to fly? Is it that they are just too much work to spin up by hand and we can't get a pre-rotator and still make weight? Why do we not have ultralight Gyros buzzing around all over?

Gyro Doug
 

Jens

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..... Why do we not have ultralight Gyros buzzing around all over?...
For the same reasons that most people DON'T buy a simple car, a simple mobil phone etc. etc.. - I think.
The function seams to be the minor part - for most people.
 

jcarleto

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Doug,

I fly the GyRonimo regularly, and have now for almost a year. When I bought it, I weighed 270 pounds. I have flown it with winter gear with a personal all-up weight of 310. Frankly, I don't mind spinning up the rotors. My only incentive to add a pre-rotator would be to get out of a small grass strip. This isn't driving me at the moment.

My biggest gripe about ultralight limits is the 5 gallon tank. It really makes the reliable, safe, flight time limited to well under an hour. That makes even little jumps to the next airport (less than 25 miles) a careful exercise in wind calculation (both directions) and requires a refuel for the return trip. Since I prefer not to use 100LL in the Rotax engine, it means making arrangements for autogas in advance.

I think the 5 gallon limit was designed with fixed-wing fuel burn in mind. A similarly-powered light fixed-wing can typically do two 25 mile hops (a 50 mile round trip) on 5 gallons and have a gallon and a half to spare.


*JC*
 

dragonflyerthom

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It is called the Tim Taylor syndrome. More power=more weight. After flying an Ultra-light and realizing you want to go faster, farther, and don't want to spin your blades you make adjustments. You don't want to buy another gyro just tweek the one you have. I really don't see a problem with this. Try it you'll like it.
 

Friendly

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Doug,
I looked at the rotary engine as well. I think the Simonini engine is probably accurate. It is a single piston with belt redrive, aircooled. It will burn less fuel than a rotary. Remember the Rotary fires 3 times per/rev. The redrive is a must to get the amt of torque needed for a prop. I think I remember the rotary as h2o cooled so you have the radiator. The Simonini will need a battery. I have not seen a Siminoni in person to say whether or not a light prerotor can be made or not. I think there are other options that are light weight that have not been tried.
 
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