Tractor video

okikuma

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The Kay Gyroplane

There was only one built. The original is on display at the National Museum, Edinburgh, Scotland

Wayne
 

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Tyger

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That's some prop it has on it! In one flight photo it looks like it has a three-blade one, though.
 

Doug Riley

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Jan 11, 2004
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Interesting hybrid control system. It appears to use elevators on the H-stab for pitch -- but, without wings, it must use a tilting spindle for roll.

Ron Herron tried this combination on one of his early tractor gyros. He said he didn't like it.

The control experience in one axis would indeed be different from that in the other. With elevators and ailerons, the frame leads the rotor; with tilt-spindle (or swashplate, or other equivalent cyclic control), the rotor leads the frame.

Ultimately, in either system, you are controlling the rotor's orbit via a cyclic pitch change -- but with surfaces, the frame moves first (bringing the spindle with it, since the spindle is fixed relative to the frame ) and then the rotor reacts to the spindle tilt. Tilting only the spindle eliminates the middleman, so to speak, imposing a cyclic pitch change immediately.

Rotor-first-frame-later (our usual system now) has both advantages and disadvantages over the surfaces system. It works normally at low and zero airspeeds, even engine-off. A "surfaces" system can be made to work (after a fashion) in a vertical descent as long as there's enough propwash over the surfaces. You really don't have much control with a surfaces system once the prop is still, though.

OTOH, a surfaces system doesn't quit working in zero G conditions the way a teeter-hinge cyclic-control system does. Legendary autogiro pilot Johnny Miller (who was a degreed engineer) said that he would never loop or roll a direct-cyclic 'giro, only a surface-control type.

Tilting the rotor first, with the frame lagging behind, requires the pilot to acquire a sense of timing; you get no visible reaction immediately from your control inputs. This leads to over-control until you get the timing down.

Anecdotes from the 30's suggest that fixed-wing pilots found the old winged gyros (with ailerons and elevators) so easy to fly that there was essentially no transition needed. In contrast, FW pilots very often over-control direct-cyclic gyros, at first.
 

TJPUMPHREY

TJGYRO
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Dec 5, 2012
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Erlanger, Kentucky
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C-172,C-152-C150, Twinstar gyro
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It tilts the rotor head for roll and uses a elevator for pitch. The first autogyros used standard airplane controls with ailerons for roll and
an elevator for pitch control like the one John Miller used to loop. Ron Herron at Little Wing Autogyros made one of his first tractor configuration autogyros with the same type of controls as the Kay autogyro. I think he still sells plans for that configuration as a ultralight. Also, there are
videos on YOUTUBE of Jim Vanek at Sport Copter looping a direct control gyro with no wing control surfaces.

 
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