Any Little Wing gyro owners here?

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13brv3

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Greetings,

I keep coming back to the possibility of building a Little Wing 3S gyro. I've thought about this for years, and I have the plans, but it's always bothered me a bit that there just aren't many out there. I found 10 Little Wings in the FAA registry, though there may be a few more I didn't find. I'd love to see one of these in person if there's one in reasonable driving distance of east TN. I'd even be interested in purchasing an existing LW3S project if there happens to be one out there.

Thanks,
Rusty (need to finish my Onex...)
 

13brv3

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Tellico Plains, TN
For most of the registered aircraft, there are the last known mailing addresses, but that's not quite the same as finding one of them active on the forum. None appear to be close enough to be worth trying to track them down from their address. I'm actually more interested in finding an unfinished project, which wouldn't be listed in the registry. It's a long shot that any of the aircraft or project owners are active here, but it doesn't hurt to ask.
Rusty
 

Pilot-34

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Most of me is in IL but my hearts in Alaska
Well if there’s any place that one might turn up this would be it!

What’s your idea of reasonable driving distance? Considering where you live I would think most of the population of the United States was within a days drive.
 

Mike von S.

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I own a LW, formerly registered as N146BH. (Not sure if that registration is still valid). Powered by a Rotec 2800. Builder was the best in the business. I can explain off-line. Less than 10 hrs TTSN, airframe and engine in 2017 when I suffered an engine out on short final. Tried to stretch the glide, ran out of energy, bounced hard and flipped. No injuries (the LW fuselage is very strong, with the cockpit essentially a 4130 cage). Landing gear bent, and the rotor blade chopped the tail. I love the aircraft, but my wife won't let me rebuild it (for now, anyway). Too unconventional for her. I am hoping her attitude softens over time. Although the prop wasn't spinning at impact (that was the problem!), I sent the engine back to Rotec in OZ and they rebuilt it. I have the airframe in a garage in west-central Illinois (that's a long way from east TN).
Here's a pic from happier times, in Arkansas, after Ron Herron performed it's first annual inspection for me.image.jpeg
 

13brv3

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Really sorry to hear about the accident, but happy to hear that the 4130 structure did it's job. Safety is one of the main reasons I like the LW over the more common pusher types. I've seen plenty of pictures of that particular gyro, since it's one of the most classic looking examples ever built with that radial engine.
Rusty
 

Mike von S.

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Rusty,
Actually, it's the sister ship to the one featured in the magazines and on Ron Herron's LittleWing website. Same engine (they were both ordered from Rotec at Oshkosh on the same day), same paint scheme, except that Ron's own craft has a white fairing over the mast with a red diamond, different undercarriage set up. The similarities are not accidental, if you get my drift.
Somewhere I have a photo of the two side by side in Ron's hangar, which I'll dig up and post when I have more time.
 

Mike von S.

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C87334FF-5328-4235-B9EF-C1590D1EAAD3.jpeg
Actual landing gear on the left. The wheels and square tube brackets were just to facilitate transport after the "incident." Another LW airframe next to it which I had been building before buying N146BH.
 

13brv3

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Tellico Plains, TN
I certainly hope you get it rebuilt. Let's just not tell your wife :)

Building an entire 4130 fuselage has been sort of a bucket list item for me, and the LW3S would be about as good a project as I could hope for. Of course I've done just enough welding to know that I should take my time and find one already built. I may be the slowest TIG welder ever.

Rusty
 

Mike von S.

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I certainly hope you get it rebuilt. Let's just not tell your wife :)

Building an entire 4130 fuselage has been sort of a bucket list item for me, and the LW3S would be about as good a project as I could hope for. Of course I've done just enough welding to know that I should take my time and find one already built. I may be the slowest TIG welder ever.

Rusty
Have you spoken to Ron Herron about it? He's a great guy and very helpful. Might know of a project for sale.
 

speedracer

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Feb 4, 2020
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I own a LW, formerly registered as N146BH. (Not sure if that registration is still valid). Powered by a Rotec 2800. Builder was the best in the business. I can explain off-line. Less than 10 hrs TTSN, airframe and engine in 2017 when I suffered an engine out on short final. Tried to stretch the glide, ran out of energy, bounced hard and flipped. No injuries (the LW fuselage is very strong, with the cockpit essentially a 4130 cage). Landing gear bent, and the rotor blade chopped the tail. I love the aircraft, but my wife won't let me rebuild it (for now, anyway). Too unconventional for her. I am hoping her attitude softens over time. Although the prop wasn't spinning at impact (that was the problem!), I sent the engine back to Rotec in OZ and they rebuilt it. I have the airframe in a garage in west-central Illinois (that's a long way from east TN).
Here's a pic from happier times, in Arkansas, after Ron Herron performed it's first annual inspection for me.View attachment 113496
That's a good looking gyro, safer looking than conventional ones for some reason. I've ridden and taken the stick in two different ones. It was a hoot.
 

13brv3

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Tellico Plains, TN
Have you spoken to Ron Herron about it? He's a great guy and very helpful. Might know of a project for sale.
I exchanged a couple emails with him back when I was getting the plans. I have thought about asking him if he knows any projects that are laying around, but I'm trying hard not to get too distracted. Once I get the Onex out of my garage and off to the hangar, I'll be a lot more serious about looking. I'll probably contact him then.
Rusty
 

galapoola

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I’m surprised that tractor style auto gyros haven’t over taken pushers. The “pushover” problem sounds like a non-starter for me.
 

Mike von S.

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I’m surprised that tractor style auto gyros haven’t over taken pushers. The “pushover” problem sounds like a non-starter for me.
Exactly!
Tractor autogyros dont "bunt."
The fundamental, and often fatal, problem with pusher gyros is the fact that, to provide clearance between the prop and the tail, the engine is raised, moving the thrust line well above the CG of pilot and aircraft. No problem as long as the rotor is providing lift to the airframe. BUT, a zero or, god fobid, negative G situation disconnects the two, and the airframe wants to pitch over. This is usually caused by pilot induced oscillation (over-control in pitch), but turbulence can do it, too. Deadly.
Igor Bensen's flying lawn chair (pusher prop with a rigid, teeter-totter two blade rotor, a seat, and not much else) popularized gyros by making them cheap and easy to build. Bensen's early Gyro-Copters didn't have a tail, which allowed less off-set of the thrust line, but increased the related risk that the teeter-totter rotor would "bump" the mast due to a negative G situation. Also potentially deadly.
This legacy has been killing pilots ever since, and has given autogyros a bad name.
 
Last edited:

Woofbite

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Forest lake MN, washington
[QUOT
Greetings,

I keep coming back to the possibility of building a Little Wing 3S gyro. I've thought about this for years, and I have the plans, but it's always bothered me a bit that there just aren't many out there. I found 10 Little Wings in the FAA registry, though there may be a few more I didn't find. I'd love to see one of these in person if there's one in reasonable driving distance of east TN. I'd even be interested in purchasing an existing LW3S project if there happens to be one out there.

Thanks,
Rusty (need to finish my Onex...)
Several years back, i bought plans for the Preceptor N3 Pup/Ultra Pup. i was at an EAA auction and came across plans for the all models of the Little Wing. I had most of the fuselage tack welded for an Ultra Pup. as i looked at the plans, it was apparent that most of the dimensions were the same. I bought thicker tubing and replaced at the stations where it was different and shortened the tail to build the LW5. I came across one of Ron Herrons videos where he was talking about the engine size and he was basically saying if You dont go with the big Rotax, its not worth building the machine. At the time i was thinking about a 2180vw or Corvair. So i didnt know how to build the front end or which landing gear set up to use. Because there are so few out there and i couldnt get the info i needed, Everything came to a dead stop,
then making a living got in the way. Now im thinking about selling my home, when i sell, there will be extra money to put into it again, but still its the same problem. Getting the information. Just really hard when there isnt much support in the thing. I really do love the Little Wings tho and do believe if Your going to go with a gyro, this is the kind to have. Also, it seems like shortly after they did all those record setting flights in Woodstock, it all just kind of fell off the face of the earth-really sad
E="13brv3, post: 608242, member: 52732"]
Greetings,

I keep coming back to the possibility of building a Little Wing 3S gyro. I've thought about this for years, and I have the plans, but it's always bothered me a bit that there just aren't many out there. I found 10 Little Wings in the FAA registry, though there may be a few more I didn't find. I'd love to see one of these in person if there's one in reasonable driving distance of east TN. I'd even be interested in purchasing an existing LW3S project if there happens to be one out there.

Thanks,
Rusty (need to finish my Onex...)
[/QUOTE]
 

13brv3

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Messages
199
Location
Tellico Plains, TN
I've had a Ridge Runner 3S project for sale for months, and I've started looking at that fuselage and wondering how hard it would be to convert. Being tandem seat, and larger than the other models, it's not really a good substitute for the LW3. If it was one of the single place aircraft of that same type though, it would be tempting.
 
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