Manual pre-rotator

johnrk

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Hello gang,
A few years ago during the PRA Convention I met an older gentleman who had created an ingenious manual pre-rotator whose operation mirrored that of a recoil starter. It was a simple, beautifully crafted, clever design. Does anyone else remember it? Their chapter, he said, focused on grass roots, economical gyros and flying. If anyone can point me in his direction I would appreciate it.

Nice guy, and happy to share his design drawings. I don't remember what came of it.

Thanks, stay safe!
John
 

Jazzenjohn

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I believe it was called the Gizmo. I only remember it being sold by Star Bee gyros but I'm pretty sure I know someone that has at least one of them. He may know who came up with it and other details about it.
 

Kevin_Richey

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I met that gentleman @ Mentone also. I don't recall his name. He told me he developed that recoil prerotator & that he was supposed to be receiving a portion of each sale of them when StarBee sold them. He was not receiving any amounts.

The biggest complaint guys had that tried these recoil setups was that approximately 50-60 rrpms was about all anyone could achieve because we humans are not able to put out but a small fraction of one hp of energy...
 

Resasi

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I guess that may be all one can probably get in the traditional ‘Armstrong’ method but never measured it. The Bensen I flew had airspeed, altimeter, compass and slip string.
 

Jetrock

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Good evening fellow rotorheads,
Than gentleman's name was Rufas Howard. He was a longtime member of P.R.A. chapter 25, the Badger Mini Choppers.
Tom Milton may know him. I believe his pre rotator was featured in an issue of Rotorcraft magizine in the early or mid 1980ies.
 

johnrk

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Thanks for the responses.
 

giro5

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This thread reminded me of something. I once saw a video of someone starting a full sized ga airplane engine. There was something similar to a recoil starter on a lawn mower. They had wrapped a rope numerous times around a pulley that was on the engine drive shaft behind the prop. then attached the rope to a vehicle and drove off spinning the engine over. Wonder if you could do that with a gyro rotary wing?
 

wolfy

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It was done in the early days, but instead of a motor car a handful of people ran away from the aircraft to spin up the rotor.

wolfy
 

Brian Jackson

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One of the gentleman's names that co-developed it is Tim Blackwell. I took photos of the unit at Mentone to post here many years ago. Before it was called the Gizmo it was only referred to as the Recoil Prerotator (as far as I know). StarBee Gyros took over the marketting and fabrication. I do not know how many were sold or who owns one, but it was a simple and elegant design. I do not know if it was thoroughly field proven. The last I heard of anyone flying with one was Alan Coats (forum member) who was unfortunately killed in his machine. I doubt it was related to the Gizmo but I did speculate for a while.

Here is a link to my original post. Tim is the gentleman in the blue T-shirt in the 2'nd post.
 
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HoosierGyro

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Good evening fellow rotorheads,
Than gentleman's name was Rufas Howard. He was a longtime member of P.R.A. chapter 25, the Badger Mini Choppers.
Tom Milton may know him. I believe his pre rotator was featured in an issue of Rotorcraft magizine in the early or mid 1980ies.
He's currently a member of the Mentone chapter, and his gyro is sitting in the museum there. We just had a chapter meeting last weekend, in masks of course
 

Loflyr

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This thread reminded me of something. I once saw a video of someone starting a full sized ga airplane engine. There was something similar to a recoil starter on a lawn mower. They had wrapped a rope numerous times around a pulley that was on the engine drive shaft behind the prop. then attached the rope to a vehicle and drove off spinning the engine over. Wonder if you could do that with a gyro rotary wing?

Like this guy starting a tractor by spinning the pto. Pretty clever.
 

Resasi

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Have rope started a DC3 twice. Once in Libya with about 9 people pulling, the second time in Kenya with a Landrover.

The rope is wound tightly round and round the prop hub dome then pulled at a slight angle so prop can rotate freely then as it reaches the end pulls away. Rather like cord starting an early outboard motor on a boat or indeed a two stroke Rotax

Started first time on both occasions. The engine type was a Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92D twin bank 14cylinder 1000hp Twin Wasp radial.
On both occasions the inertial starter had failed.
 

WaspAir

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There's a scene in the 1931 Howard Hughes film Hell's Angels in which half a dozen men link hands in a line and then run like crazy to hand prop a big twin engined WWI bomber.
 
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