New RAF 2000 build

Mike Leimetter

Mike Leimetter
Joined
Apr 8, 2013
Messages
28
Location
Las Vegas, NV
Aircraft
2005 RAF 2000 (Building)
Total Flight Time
10 gyro, 100 fw
Hello fellow RAF owners! Just purchased an older model kit (2005 I believe) and will start building in a few weeks. I’m totally new to the building process, but definitely want to build in many of the new safety mods I’ve read about...drop keel, CLT, HS etc. First question to all of the very knowledgeable owners here is, where can I obtain these mods, and is there any help out there fabricating them. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I’ve already spent weeks pouring over old threads doing research.

Mike
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,759
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Congratulation on your purchase Mike!

There are several experienced RAF builders on the Rotary Wing Forum that may help you with your project.

The safety modifications don’t all go on the same aircraft.

They address different issues to varying degrees with varying impacts on your bank account.

I wish you all the best on your gyroplane adventure.
 

Mike Leimetter

Mike Leimetter
Joined
Apr 8, 2013
Messages
28
Location
Las Vegas, NV
Aircraft
2005 RAF 2000 (Building)
Total Flight Time
10 gyro, 100 fw
Thanks Vance. I’ve read a lot of great stuff from some very knowledgeable folks here, and it can be a little overwhelming. Just want a great, safe aircraft in the end.
 

Eric S

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2012
Messages
167
Location
Kingsland, TX
Aircraft
Sport Copter Vortex & AAI (Sparrowhawk) RAF
Hello fellow RAF owners! Just purchased an older model kit (2005 I believe) and will start building in a few weeks. I’m totally new to the building process, but definitely want to build in many of the new safety mods I’ve read about...drop keel, CLT, HS etc. First question to all of the very knowledgeable owners here is, where can I obtain these mods, and is there any help out there fabricating them. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I’ve already spent weeks pouring over old threads doing research.

Mike
Which engine did your kit come with? EJ22 or EJ25 or something else?

Mine has an EJ22 and can be a bit anemic in high density altitudes. I don't take passengers up in the summer here in TX when it hits 100 degrees or higher. I see you're in Vegas, so you'll want the EJ25. Might as well swap it out during the build if you don't already have one. They use the same engine mount. EJ22 is fine solo, but too much power is always better in my opinion.

My other recommendation is the SDS computer versus the stock Subaru unit. I have another open cockpit 2-place with an EJ25 that I'm in the process of changing over to SDS and it's going to be great for tuning and monitoring what's going on with the engine. It's also lighter, less wiring and doesn't require an oxygen sensor so you can run Avgas when necessary.

Eric
 

SportCopter

Active Member
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
172
Location
Scappoose
Aircraft
Vortex M912, SportCopter II, Vortex 582, M2
Hello fellow RAF owners! Just purchased an older model kit (2005 I believe) and will start building in a few weeks. I’m totally new to the building process, but definitely want to build in many of the new safety mods I’ve read about...drop keel, CLT, HS etc. First question to all of the very knowledgeable owners here is, where can I obtain these mods, and is there any help out there fabricating them. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I’ve already spent weeks pouring over old threads doing research.

Mike
Hello Mike,

Congratulations getting into gyroplanes, and we hope you enjoy your new sport!
We've been offering for many years our Sport Copter Upgrade for the RAF 2000 and Sparrowhawk, which includes:

upper Mast Plates (bolted vs. riveted, and now thicker than OEM)
dual-bearing precision Rotorhead (with "In-Air Suspension")
4-way Air Trim (in-flight control on the stick grip)
robust 6061-T6 Hub Bar (with Heim-joint)
8.5"x29' (or 30') Sport Rotor blades​

RAF Conversion kit.jpg

You will enjoy significantly increased performance, safety, and service life. (OEM RAF rotor blades "time out" at 500 hours, whereas our Sport Rotors are typically in field for 2000+ hours and inspected "on condition".) Our 4-way Air Trim directly acts upon our Rotorhead (thus removing these forces from the control system linkage), and includes friction dampers to absorb any last remaining stick shake.

Please visit our below webpages to learn about the Sport Copter difference, and why to build your RAF as the best it can be:


To help defray the cost of our Upgrade, your new/used RAF parts could probably be quickly sold through this Forum.
Below are some links from one of our customers who upgraded his own RAF 2000, and now has 200+ hours on the conversion.

Mike, please contact us for a price quote or to answer any further questions.

[email protected]
503-543-7000 (M-F, 8-4:30 Pacific)

SC logo1.jpg

why I fly with Sport Copter rotors ("Sport Rotors")

rugged Sport Copter M912 hardly damaged after rough terrain crash

converting RAF2000 to the superior Sport Copter rotor system

Tips on adding Sport Copter rotors to the RAF2000
 
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grevis

Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2019
Messages
37
Location
Hamilton, New Zealand
Aircraft
Mosquito XE285, RAF2000(Building)
Hi Mike, this forum seems to be the best place around for info on the RAF. I'm restoring one myself of about the same year that had never been completed by the original owner.

I am hoping to order the complete Sportcopter rotor setup in the not too distant future. I originally tried contacting the RAF agent with serial numbers from my blades to find out if they were the latest version or not, and they refused to give me a direct answer, just telling me to buy a new set. Not being able to get a straight answer from them didnt inspire too much confidence, while the Sportcopter guys seemed great to deal with.

At the moment I am working through the electricals on mine, and have had the original EJ22 stripped down and checked. Lucky I did that, even though it was theoretically a rebuilt engine, the sump had been painted on the inside and the paint was starting to come off in big flakes. It would have likely blocked the oil pickup and starved the engine. Worth checking on yours. Also the breather for the block had a tiny fitting that might have caused oil return issues from the heads, another one to check. I am going to try a fuel injected setup with a plastic intake manifold (some EJ22'2 had a black plastic intake). Haven't got to the point of finding if this will cause any clearance/mounting problems yet.

Have been working through lots of the other mods. Have stepped the keel and lowered the engine a bit (I only dropped it 4"), changed lots of rodends for aviation type and the extra high strength type on the stainless control rod. My kit already had a horizontal stab with it to fit.

Keep us posted with your progress

Gary
XE285 (and soon RAF2000) in NZ
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,759
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Hi Mike, this forum seems to be the best place around for info on the RAF. I'm restoring one myself of about the same year that had never been completed by the original owner.

Have been working through lots of the other mods. Have stepped the keel and lowered the engine a bit (I only dropped it 4"), changed lots of rodends for aviation type and the extra high strength type on the stainless control rod. My kit already had a horizontal stab with it to fit.

Keep us posted with your progress

Gary
XE285 (and soon RAF2000) in NZ
Please help me learn.

Why did you lower the engine in your RAF Gary?

Thank you.
 

okikuma

Member
Joined
May 21, 2006
Messages
2,129
Location
Santa Clarita, CA
Vance,

The drop keel allowed the ability to lower the engine and reduce some of the high thrust line by 6 inches.

Wayne
 

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Mike Leimetter

Mike Leimetter
Joined
Apr 8, 2013
Messages
28
Location
Las Vegas, NV
Aircraft
2005 RAF 2000 (Building)
Total Flight Time
10 gyro, 100 fw
Which engine did your kit come with? EJ22 or EJ25 or something else?

Mine has an EJ22 and can be a bit anemic in high density altitudes. I don't take passengers up in the summer here in TX when it hits 100 degrees or higher. I see you're in Vegas, so you'll want the EJ25. Might as well swap it out during the build if you don't already have one. They use the same engine mount. EJ22 is fine solo, but too much power is always better in my opinion.

My other recommendation is the SDS computer versus the stock Subaru unit. I have another open cockpit 2-place with an EJ25 that I'm in the process of changing over to SDS and it's going to be great for tuning and monitoring what's going on with the engine. It's also lighter, less wiring and doesn't require an oxygen sensor so you can run Avgas when necessary.

Eric
Eric, it came with the 2.2 fi. I’d love to get the 2.5 eventually, and definitely the SDS.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,759
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Vance,

The drop keel allowed the ability to lower the engine and reduce some of the high thrust line by 6 inches.

Wayne
My question to Gary was why would you want to lower the engine?
My question to your Wayne is reduce the thrust line in relation to what?
 

Mike Leimetter

Mike Leimetter
Joined
Apr 8, 2013
Messages
28
Location
Las Vegas, NV
Aircraft
2005 RAF 2000 (Building)
Total Flight Time
10 gyro, 100 fw
Hi Mike, this forum seems to be the best place around for info on the RAF. I'm restoring one myself of about the same year that had never been completed by the original owner.

I am hoping to order the complete Sportcopter rotor setup in the not too distant future. I originally tried contacting the RAF agent with serial numbers from my blades to find out if they were the latest version or not, and they refused to give me a direct answer, just telling me to buy a new set. Not being able to get a straight answer from them didnt inspire too much confidence, while the Sportcopter guys seemed great to deal with.

At the moment I am working through the electricals on mine, and have had the original EJ22 stripped down and checked. Lucky I did that, even though it was theoretically a rebuilt engine, the sump had been painted on the inside and the paint was starting to come off in big flakes. It would have likely blocked the oil pickup and starved the engine. Worth checking on yours. Also the breather for the block had a tiny fitting that might have caused oil return issues from the heads, another one to check. I am going to try a fuel injected setup with a plastic intake manifold (some EJ22'2 had a black plastic intake). Haven't got to the point of finding if this will cause any clearance/mounting problems yet.

Have been working through lots of the other mods. Have stepped the keel and lowered the engine a bit (I only dropped it 4"), changed lots of rodends for aviation type and the extra high strength type on the stainless control rod. My kit already had a horizontal stab with it to fit.

Keep us posted with your progress

Gary
XE285 (and soon RAF2000) in NZ
Hi Gary. Sounds almost exactly like what I would like to do to mine. I’d love to get the Sport Copter set up but it will have to wait a bit. Everything is still new in boxes except the airframe and fuselage have been partially assembled. The engine is new still in crate, but will have to be torn down to check for corrosion inside due to humidity and sitting for a long time. I really want to get the initial safety stuff incorporated, drop keel, lower engine for more center line thrust, and yes, replace some of the crap rodents and control rods. Unfortunately, everything I have read regarding RAF does not inspire confidence at all. It truly is going to be a learning experience.
 

grevis

Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2019
Messages
37
Location
Hamilton, New Zealand
Aircraft
Mosquito XE285, RAF2000(Building)
Hi Vance, as Wayne mentioned above and as I understand its lowering the line of thrust (with respect to the machines vertical centre of gravity). When researching the RAF mods I found there were actually quite a number of these machines over here in NZ, and a number of them have had the keel drop done with pilots having before and after experience. I have not been able to find or talk to all of the owners yet, but of the ones I have the general consensus seemed that the RAF in its original setup was overly sensitive to wanting to nose over with any light g's and power, and it became a more predictable machine to fly with the mod done.

I of course wont have before and after experience to comment on as I am doing the mod at the start, but you try and make the best informed decision you can when building experimental aircraft like this. That blue machine in those photos above will be one of the RAF's over here in NZ, and the red one in the attached photo is local to me. I am only dropping the keel by 4", it appears most do a 6" drop, and I have seen mention of machines overseas doing an 8" drop.

GaryRCW (TI).jpg
 
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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,759
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Thank you for the explanation Gary.

Where is your thrust line in relation to the center of gravity now?
 

Doug Riley

Platinum Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Messages
6,583
Vance is asking exactly the right question.

The CG-thrustline misalignment on stock RAFs has been reported by various folks here over the years as 12" or more. Moving the engine down lowers the CG and (strictly from a weight-and-balance viewpoint) makes things potentially worse.

When moving ballast (like the engine or the crew pod) a given distance, the CG moves less than that distance. The CG moves by the same percentage as the ballast weight to the gross weight.

For example, if you move a component weighing 250 lb. by 12 inches, and the gross is 1500 lb., you've moved a sixth of the gyro's whole mass. The CG will move 1/6 of the 12 inches -- or 2 inches.

Moving the engine obviously does have the benefit of moving the thrustline down toward the CG; just keep in mind that you're moving the CG, too -- in an unfavorable direction. In effect, you're chasing the CG down. E.g., if you move the engine down 6," your thrustline-CG separation has probably improved by a net 4-5".

A down-loaded H-stab helps, too, but it takes a relatively huge download on the H-stab to zero out the nose-down moment created by a big Subaru with a foot of HTL. Even with an extended tail tube, you need downloads in the 80-100 lb. ballpark to zero out the nose-down pitching moment. Download acts just like real weight in its effect on performance.

Raising the pod can be a total solution. A lot of work.

BTW, if you get rid of the HTL on an RAF, you'll likely have to change the hang-test specs. IIR, RAF specifies a hang value something like 4 deg. nose-down on the keel. If you achieve CLT or nearly so, you'll likely need to return to the classic Bensen spec, in the neighborhood of 9-11 deg. nose-down. Otherwise, the machine will fly nose-high.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,759
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Thank you for the through explanation Doug.

I feel there is value in revisiting thrust line offset, the mechanics of it and the results of modifying the thrust line.

At this time I am training two RAF owners in their aircraft.

One has an American Autogiro Incorporated modified RAF with a thrust line below the center of gravity. He is an experienced single engine land/instrument pilot and I am training him to Private Pilot, Rotorcraft Gyroplane.

The other has an RAF with a horizontal stabilizer, a stabilator and suspension to sport pilot. He is a primary student with little exposure to aviation going for Sport Pilot, Gyroplane.

Both aircraft are still in the process of becoming airworthy.

I feel they can learn from each other’s aircraft and the process.

I am hoping Mike will stop by when the two aircraft are still here because the differences make great teaching aids.
 

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grevis

Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2019
Messages
37
Location
Hamilton, New Zealand
Aircraft
Mosquito XE285, RAF2000(Building)
Doug/Vance, thanks for your input. I had also discussed all the same things with the other RAF owners with the exception of the cab relocation/redesign. We also discussed a redesign of the RAF belt drive, the Neil Hintz drives, and even that D-motor on a RAF. At this stage the discussed mod is my chosen direction.

Another mod I havent implemented yet is moving the main landing gear back. Am still working over ideas there how I could turn something that looks very much like the existing setup into a relocated landing gear/suspension combination using the main axle as a torsion bar. Again, still working through ideas on that one.

Vance, as mentioned I have spoken to RAF owners/pilots over here, but welcome your comments of your detectable differences piloting modified vs original RAF's.

Gary
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,759
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
In my opinion based on my experience an RAF with a heavy horizontal stabilizer will benefit from moving the landing gear back.

How far to move it is an individual thing.

I heavy pilot who usually flies with a heavy passenger and full fuel will likely not need to move the axel as far back as a light weight pilot who typically flies solo.

For me in a happy world with the nose less than an inch off the ground on the takeoff roll a gyroplane will lift off very close to its climb out indicated air speed.

Writing in the most general terms the lift off speed is governed by the location of the mains in relation to the center of gravity and how high the nose is.

I have not flown two RAFs that fly the same.
 

Mike Leimetter

Mike Leimetter
Joined
Apr 8, 2013
Messages
28
Location
Las Vegas, NV
Aircraft
2005 RAF 2000 (Building)
Total Flight Time
10 gyro, 100 fw
Thank you all for the advice and words of encouragement! It’s great to know there is a place do ask questions and discuss problems that might come up
 

Brian Jackson

Platinum Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2004
Messages
3,278
Location
Hamburg, New Jersey USA
Aircraft
GyroBee Variant - Under Construction
Thank you all for the advice and words of encouragement! It’s great to know there is a place do ask questions and discuss problems that might come up
Agreed. This forum is very dear for builders like us. Glad we have it. Consider supporting it with a donation if you haven't already. Will be anxiously following your progress. Cheers.

Brian
 
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