Visit to Fraundorfer Aeronautics.

Mike G

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2005
Messages
1,743
Location
Lillebonne France
Aircraft
Owned Magni M16 now ELA 07
Total Flight Time
550FW + 500 gyro
Fraundorfer Aeronautics (https://www.fraundorfer.aero/) are developers of the very interesting and advanced Tensor autogyro

D-MYFAsmall.png

and when their specialist with the PB4 balancer left them they asked Smart Avionics who they could get to train their new guy to get the maximum out of the PB4. They got me.

As a result I spent 3 days at the Fraundorfer headquarters in Genderkingen where they showed me some of the detailed aerodynamic and design simulation work
CFD.png


that they have done to develop their own rotor with their own aerofoil sections. This team comes from Airbus helicopters and bring with them advanced engineering knowledge and specialization that I’ve not seen in any of the other gyro manufacturers I’ve worked with and I’ve worked with most of them.

Their rotor has different aerofoil sections along its length that were developed with the University of Stuttgart and a variable chord width.

A prototype rotor was fitted to a Magni M16 test vehicle that we used as a basis for the PB4 rotor track and balance (RTB) training.
IMG_2071 resized.jpg

This M16 and its rotor are loaded with sensors. I thought my gyro with multiple PB4s, flapping sensors and the Gyro Warning System (GWS) was well instrumented but this M16 was at a totally different level.

IMG_2075resize.jpg

IMG_2074resize.jpg

IMG_2073resize.jpg

The influence and sophistication from the modern helicopter was very evident.

The fuselage layout includes stub wings and twin tail booms and a number of other innovative features that look very promising.

It’s obvious that this gyro is aimed more at the professional market as a helicopter alternative for those missions that don’t require a hover function and will probably be too expensive for most of us but if it succeeds in breaking into the pro market it should create a more positive image of gyros than they have at the moment and that has got to be a good thing for our recreational gyro industry.

Their prototype was at another factory being worked on but I got a chance to sit in their mock-up cockpit which was very comfortable with a superb view especially from the rear seat where the pilot’s head doesn’t seem to block much of the view and the passenger has a complete view of the instrument panel.

Mike_in_the_Mockupresize.jpg

The training was a pleasure and went very easily because these guys already understood RTB and we could really spend the time delving into different functions of the PB4 that most users never need to use.
Dieter and M16 resizejpg.jpg

A fascinating visit and I really hope Fraundorfer succeed, I feel that they’re making an advance in gyrocopter design without trying to go too far in one step as was perhaps the case with the Carter copter.

Mike G
 

NJpilot

Gold Supporter
Joined
Aug 19, 2012
Messages
163
Location
Voorhees
Isn't the often repeated selling point for commercial operations of "simpler and less expensive than a helicopter" thwarted by the fact that most professional pilots value helicopter certification way over gyros?
 

Mike G

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2005
Messages
1,743
Location
Lillebonne France
Aircraft
Owned Magni M16 now ELA 07
Total Flight Time
550FW + 500 gyro
Wolfy
This M16 had higher than usual 2/rev due to all the equipment on the rotor and rotor head and the probe sticking out the front so its 2/rev isn't comparable. Typically the 2/rev of an M16 with the PB4 accelerometer mounting bracket is between 2.5 and 3.2 IPS.

NJpilot
This was one of the subjects I brought up during our discussions, and I agree with you that it is a real problem for anyone trying to get gyros into a commercial application.
Unlike most gyro manufacturers I've dealt with I found Fraundorfer very open to outside ideas.

Mike
 

Kevin_Richey

Yamaha power
Staff member
Joined
Nov 16, 2003
Messages
2,879
Location
@ 4,500' (N. Central AZ)
Aircraft
Dream-like
Interesting gyroplane concept. The overhead view photo (if real & not CGI) shows a sleek machine.
Also interesting is the second comment @ the end of that article, stating the DiNelly & Arrowcopter gyroplanes heritage, if true. That commentator apparently is one of the DiNelly principals, who also claims there are NDA issues that have been violated..

I'd be interested in hearing Arrowcopter Chris' comments about his knowledge of Christoph Fraundorfer & this new design, if he was still active on this forum & could speak freely w/out fear of legal reprisals.
 
Last edited:

Mike G

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2005
Messages
1,743
Location
Lillebonne France
Aircraft
Owned Magni M16 now ELA 07
Total Flight Time
550FW + 500 gyro
Kevin
I have no information regarding Fraundorfer implication with DiNelly but from what we've seen on social media DiNelly is not considered very reliable.
As I said most of the guys I met came from Eurocopter which plays in a different league to DiNelly.

I visited Arrowcopter factory a few years ago to teach them to track and balance with the PB3, and have flown in and balanced 3 Arrowcopters. I found the rear cockpit surprisingly cramped for such a big machine. The Fraundorfer mock up cockpit I sat in was much more roomy, similar to but better than the DTA JRO or the Niki, I've flown in and balanced both.

Mike G
 

Philbennett

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
659
Location
London
I'm not sure what drives the business case for these entities beyond what appears to be access and availability of capital and if that sounds negative on the 600x I don't mean to be, its just that from where I'm sat it seems we are doomed to repeat failures of the past.

Happy to be shown the error of my thinking but if you take the gyroplane in the context of other classes of aircraft then beyond the second world war its commercial success has entirely remained in the light sport regime. Bensen never made a commercially successful commercial focused aircraft, neither did Ken Wallis, it didn't work for Ray Umbaugh, the Groen Brothers or Carter. There are likely some nuances around just how much each of those I mention really promoted the commercial narrative but fair to say I think that all [and there are surely many others you could list] play on the same technical potential advantages of a gyroplane in a different era and every time society rejects the offering.

I don't see it being different this time. The biggest problem is that the category to fly a gyroplane that can carry a useful payload just doesn't exist. So it isn't just design and build then selling an aircraft any participants need to create and drive the entire landscape and then having done all of that [and lets face it the regulatory challenge alone will be multi, multi year] but then as mentioned above you have to convince all of the operators not only to throw all their kit in the bin and start again with your gyro, but you have to retrain and re create all the procedures to operate, except that bit is hard because nobody has any experience operating a 700kg [for example] gyroplane with a Rotax 915...

And the Rotax 915 kind of limits MAUW and to really gain traction you need something that can fly in IMC. Of course AutoGyro will claim that the commercial use of a gyroplane is being done just not in mature aviation territories - like the middle east, africa and asia - and yes that may be true but then these are being operated with none to little regulation and in such areas you just buy the cheapest [as is being done] and strap the lowest paid Bloggs to drive it. The 600X doesn't seem a goodfit and at some point I suspect the marketing will turn eVTOL or autonomous etc blah.

I also think as it is there are [or there were] some potential snags in the simulator model because the combined rotor/engine tacho seems one and the rotor brake, wheel brake, pre-rotator arrangement seemed a faff.
 

Resasi

Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
8,631
Location
London/ Kilifi Kenya
Aircraft
Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. GT-VX1&2, Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
Phil, it would seem to be a serious effort by some reasonably informed people, backed up by serious investors, that do believe that there is a gap in the market for a lower cost and technicaly simpler/cheaper machine than a helicopter to fill a commercial gap in the market.

As you quite rightly point out many have tried, and failed. The Fairy Rotodyne, possibly with the greatest potential, but time and circumstance unfortunately conspiring against it, but this has not deterred others to keep trying, and gaps in the market that can be filled by these machines.

If the company is listening, then 'faff' elements can be looked at and rectified.
 
Last edited:

All_In

Gold Supporter
Joined
Apr 21, 2008
Messages
16,109
Location
San Diego, CA. USA
Aircraft
Airgyro AG915 Centurian, Aviomania G1sb
Total Flight Time
Gyroplane 70Hrs, not sure over 10,000+ logged FW, 260+ ultralights, sailplane, hang-gliders
How much are they going to sell for?
 

Philbennett

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
659
Location
London
Hey Leigh - yes agree on the effort side although the Fairey aviation efforts with the Gyrodyne, Rotordyne were of a significant order of magnitude greater and still failed! Now I take the point different time but why will it be different this time? Fairey it must be remembered were already a manufacturer of aircraft/missile systems/engines/marine and automotive products and of significant size, resource and experience.

I suppose by 2021 that isn't the most relevant point as to why the 600X will surely fail, but because I think this is flawed thinking:-
serious investors, that do believe that there is a gap in the market for a lower cost and technicaly simpler/cheaper machine than a helicopter to fill a commercial gap in the market.

The world isn't looking for such a machine. If you look at all mature aviation nations, and lets take the UK as an example. The current operators of helicopters are either involved in air transport, police, air ambulance or utility surveying in the main. Almost all are twin turbine and mostly Agusta A109 or Airbus H135/145. Not one of these operators is looking at the cheaper helicopter landscape, nevermind a Rotax 915 powered gyroplane with what payload potential? 100kgs??

In mature markets the payload alone excludes the aircraft [and remember payload will also influence fuel], the inability to fly in IMC will hurt and if none of that matter then the final nail will be the utter shambles that is regulation. Flying a gyroplane as passenger transport, flying over congested areas, flying an aircraft with higher payload capacity, flying low level will all need process/procedure and licencing. For mature markets be lucky. It took Magni UK what? 4 years + just to get the M22 able to fly in the UK. There are how many CPL (G) rated pilots in the UK? In the end these serious investors can sit with the same serious investors that are in Pal-V and swap war stories and say how their 2023 press releases will be reprints of the 2021 release about how jam tomorrow and how next year it will all be different.....

Its a great shame these great minds can't design / build a low cost single & two seater that Average Joe Blow can buy for $20-30K and have some fun. The last guy who gained significant traction within the wider aviation market with a gyroplane was arguably Dennis Fetters and that is because he absolutely "got" the commercial side.
 

Tyger

Super Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
2,187
Location
Clermont, NY
Aircraft
Magni M16
Total Flight Time
475
"Reliability and safety are pivotal when using an aircraft on a daily basis. From the outset, we developed the TENSOR 600X to be able to fly safely and reliably under even the most difficult conditions. Inclement weather*, low altitudes and regions with a scarcity of suitable landing areas are no match for its technology. Each time a pilot takes to the sky, they can rest assured that they will be able to complete their mission.
The TENSOR is at home where other aircraft are at their limits."


The accompanying graphic shows this aircraft avoiding "inclement weather" by flying "safely" (at 150m) under a low cloud base. That seems like pretty suspect marketing to me.

It follows that up with up with this:

"Protracted flight preparations, extensive pre-flight checks, laborious ground handling: until now, private aviation has been a long, drawn-out affair – not to mention expensive. What’s more, flight clearance has been reliant on suitable weather conditions, meaning many flights never make it into the sky. The TENSOR presents an all-new approach to private aviation. It encompasses training, servicing, maintenance and operation – and naturally the aircraft itself. The result: less time and money, more personal mobility for people with packed schedules."

Flight preparations, pre-flight checks, and bad weather can be SO tedious...
 
Last edited:

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Staff member
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
17,519
Location
Santa Maria, California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
I suppose by 2021 that isn't the most relevant point as to why the 600X will surely fail, but because I think this is flawed thinking:-

The world isn't looking for such a machine. If you look at all mature aviation nations, and lets take the UK as an example. The current operators of helicopters are either involved in air transport, police, air ambulance or utility surveying in the main. Almost all are twin turbine and mostly Agusta A109 or Airbus H135/145. Not one of these operators is looking at the cheaper helicopter landscape, nevermind a Rotax 915 powered gyroplane with what payload potential? 100kgs??

In mature markets the payload alone excludes the aircraft [and remember payload will also influence fuel], the inability to fly in IMC will hurt and if none of that matter then the final nail will be the utter shambles that is regulation. Flying a gyroplane as passenger transport, flying over congested areas, flying an aircraft with higher payload capacity, flying low level will all need process/procedure and licencing. For mature markets be lucky. It took Magni UK what? 4 years + just to get the M22 able to fly in the UK. There are how many CPL (G) rated pilots in the UK? In the end these serious investors can sit with the same serious investors that are in Pal-V and swap war stories and say how their 2023 press releases will be reprints of the 2021 release about how jam tomorrow and how next year it will all be different.....
According to Aircraft Cost Calculator an Agusta A109 costs $1,722.11 per hour to operate.

Somehow Robinson Helicopter has sold more than 13,000 helicopters despite having limited payload and one engine. Most are not approved for IFR operations although many are used for instrument training in the USA.

According to Robinson Helicopters, operating costs for an R22 are $407.44 per hour based on 500 hours per year.

In the beginning many people explained to Frank Robinson that there was no market for an inexpensive light helicopter.

They delivered 177 helicopters in 2020 despite the pandemic and have delivered over 13,000 helicopters since 1982.

In my opinion a gyroplane is well suited to police work.

I wish Fraundorfer Aeronautics all the best on their gyroplane aviation adventure.
 

Abid

AR-1 gyro manufacturer
Joined
Oct 31, 2011
Messages
4,985
Location
Tampa, FL
Aircraft
AR-1
Total Flight Time
4000+ 560 gyroplanes. Sport CFI Gyro and Trikes. Pilot Airplane
"Reliability and safety are pivotal when using an aircraft on a daily basis. From the outset, we developed the TENSOR 600X to be able to fly safely and reliably under even the most difficult conditions. Inclement weather*, low altitudes and regions with a scarcity of suitable landing areas are no match for its technology. Each time a pilot takes to the sky, they can rest assured that they will be able to complete their mission.
The TENSOR is at home where other aircraft are at their limits."


The accompanying graphic seems to show this aircraft avoiding "inclement weather" by flying "safely" (at 150m) under a low cloud base. That seems like pretty suspect marketing to me.

It follows that up with up with this:

"Protracted flight preparations, extensive pre-flight checks, laborious ground handling: until now, private aviation has been a long, drawn-out affair – not to mention expensive. What’s more, flight clearance has been reliant on suitable weather conditions, meaning many flights never make it into the sky. The TENSOR presents an all-new approach to private aviation. It encompasses training, servicing, maintenance and operation – and naturally the aircraft itself. The result: less time and money, more personal mobility for people with packed schedules."

Flight preparations, pre-flight checks, and bad weather can be SO tedious...

Well this does not sound good. Again expectations should be realistic. This will create unsafe situations and accidents so their marketing needs to be checked with reality and responsibility.
However, I think for regions like Asia, Middle-east, Africa where there is no professional force entrenched into a particular way (helicopter pilots for instance), there likely is a market for gyroplanes in professional world to fulfill. It will never be a very good ambulance like a heli or medivac heli can be but it can fulfill many observation roles and force multiplier roles. The problem in so called mature aviation countries is that there is a vested interest in aviation professionals in police and other government agencies to go for helicopters. They already are pilots for helis and they want turbine heli time so right after early retirement they can fly for rigs for 5 years for many $$. Its selfish in a way but they want what they want so a gyroplane is going to have an uphill battle here and of course money ($$) is of no significance for the US or UK. The tax payer flips the bill and they have no incentive to lower that cost. US military retires so many helis every year they just hand them out to police for free and other public agencies for free and by Public Use clause, the police pilot flying the heli does not even have to be a FAA certified commercial rated pilot or the maintenance on these machines do not have to comply with any FAA regulations.

Now the real market in these new regions like Asia, Africa are price sensitive. And that is where making a Hawk 4 or Tenser 800 more expensive is not going to work. They don't care about going fast or even a jump takeoff (because of complexity or cost). Going 80 mph is likely plenty. They just want the right cost for doing an adequate job. So solving a problem no one is asking to solve by coming up with an expensive proposition is like taking the business case and beating it dead with your own analysis and thus failing. That is the real issue and trap all these companies have fallen victim to. Its a pitfall when technical people lead a company. Yes I know pot kettle black
 
Last edited:

Philbennett

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
659
Location
London
Agree fara - I hear the low cost alternative with possibilities in Asia or Africa but why take a 600x?? Take what already exists. Robbo helicopters are a sales tour de force but in mature markets they are trainers & private aircraft first.
 

Abid

AR-1 gyro manufacturer
Joined
Oct 31, 2011
Messages
4,985
Location
Tampa, FL
Aircraft
AR-1
Total Flight Time
4000+ 560 gyroplanes. Sport CFI Gyro and Trikes. Pilot Airplane
Agree fara - I hear the low cost alternative with possibilities in Asia or Africa but why take a 600x?? Take what already exists. Robbo helicopters are a sales tour de force but in mature markets they are trainers & private aircraft first.

I don't know why I would select 600x for low cost simple force multiplier or observation/monitoring platform. I would for the cool factor but that's just me being a techie. With all their effort with a wing carrying 30% of weight in cruise and customized optimized blade profile and planform and airfoil, they have only gotten to 108 knots max Vh. An AR-1 gets 100 knots Vh CAS with a 915. So 8 knots is all they got in practical terms. That seems very little gain for all this effort and wing etc. Something seems amiss.
Anyway, for the actual market in Asia, Africa, this does not sound like the right track for me. If your mission is to supplement helicopters as a force multiplier or observation and monitoring of pipelines, borders, forests or doing LIDAR surveys etc. Going too much faster than 80 knots is a bit useless. It would be better to build ways to carry equipment, transfer data from the air to ground vehicles, better view for the observer (put pilot in back seat and observer in front with unhindered view and GPS marking device etc. ). You want to go much faster, just buy an airplane. So easy. May be jump takeoff if it can keep thing light and simple for being able to takeoff from unprepared fields in service. That's all I can see.
Hawk, Carter copter, even SC-II miss the mark completely IMHO. They tried targeting US, UK and western public forces. Making things too heavy, too complex, gas guzzlers reducing flight time, payload, can't fly at higher DA as others, assuming all police officers are big and tall (well may be many are in the US but there are no donuts thankfully in Asia and Africa yet) and that is where the market is for this for public use. You can safely assume a 175 pound pilot and passenger and you will cover 85% of the people.
 
Last edited:

Philbennett

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
659
Location
London
Yes I agree and worse of all they seem oblivious to what is required and the challenges in the territories they are likely to gain more traction. I was involved with a program in the middle east and by far the biggest challenge aircraft wise is heat. An enclosed cockpit will require air conditioning and sun protection which is all added weight and the electronics of a 915 will immediately close the motor down once it starts to see temps at the limit [and we would see air temps at c.45-50oC during the summer in mid-east]. The problem in these territories is that it is the armed forces that control both power and budget and in the territory I flew in the usual helicopter was an AW139 - which as you may know is a $20+M aircraft.

The air force is damned if they are going to have that either diluted or the rationale under minded by a $200k alternative. Outside of that the electronics for a typical mission is not only costly but equally so to integrate it and this project [whilst its interesting and we wish it all the best etc] has a lot of challenges and almost none of them relate to how well the aircraft might fly. Its a simple challenge of weight and appetite - what would be a more profitable endeavour is to find a sponsor in territory and develop it locally to get added buy in.
 

Abid

AR-1 gyro manufacturer
Joined
Oct 31, 2011
Messages
4,985
Location
Tampa, FL
Aircraft
AR-1
Total Flight Time
4000+ 560 gyroplanes. Sport CFI Gyro and Trikes. Pilot Airplane
Yes I agree and worse of all they seem oblivious to what is required and the challenges in the territories they are likely to gain more traction. I was involved with a program in the middle east and by far the biggest challenge aircraft wise is heat. An enclosed cockpit will require air conditioning and sun protection which is all added weight and the electronics of a 915 will immediately close the motor down once it starts to see temps at the limit [and we would see air temps at c.45-50oC during the summer in mid-east]. The problem in these territories is that it is the armed forces that control both power and budget and in the territory I flew in the usual helicopter was an AW139 - which as you may know is a $20+M aircraft.

The air force is damned if they are going to have that either diluted or the rationale under minded by a $200k alternative. Outside of that the electronics for a typical mission is not only costly but equally so to integrate it and this project [whilst its interesting and we wish it all the best etc] has a lot of challenges and almost none of them relate to how well the aircraft might fly. Its a simple challenge of weight and appetite - what would be a more profitable endeavour is to find a sponsor in territory and develop it locally to get added buy in.

Yup you are right for the rich gulf countries but there are plenty of other countries besides them so they can have their armies flying their $20 million AC helicopters because you know you really need that in the mission. But there are markets like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, south east Asia, a lot of Africa that would be open to such a venture as you point out. I have been contacted by some Indian industrialists for ventures like that. Recently a Bangladeshi flight school owner approached me also though the Indians seem to be the most likely serious candidates.
It helps to know the environment, culture and climate you want to target
 
Last edited:
Top