Your opinion on the Tractor Style Gyrocopter?

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by cheapracer, May 4, 2017.

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  1. May 4, 2017 #1

    cheapracer

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    Everytime I watch this video I get a 'wow' factor from it, yet the Pitbull itself only has some 5 to 8 that ever flew, so I guess 15 kits sold. Wiki says the kits were only $12K(?) so price wasn't keeping people away.

    I'm surprised, my question is not what you think of them or if you would own one, but what keeps people away from them, and other tractor gyros in your opinion?

    Personally when I look at one I can't get past the missing wings!



    PS: I am not referring to or interested in pusher gyros, but these tractor ones that actually look like part plane, no offence meant.
     
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  2. May 4, 2017 #2

    cheapracer

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  3. May 4, 2017 #3

    Grelly

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    I like the tractor form too. They just look "right". I have no idea why the pusher form dominates.

    Have you seen this lot? http://bulldogautogyro.com/ It looks the biz and it's a perfect application for a radial. They made all the (UK) pilot mags in 2015, but have gone a bit quiet since!
     
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  4. May 4, 2017 #4

    cheapracer

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    Have you seen the price? 170K USD. It's a little too odd and lacking for that money, IMO.



    You need a trustworthy and reliable radial, not sure there's any available in that sizing.
     
  5. May 4, 2017 #5

    tspear

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    When I think autogyro, I think open air. Somehow the tractor config makes the it look larger and less open. Therefore, I would think it would be less appealing. Same reason I think a lot of the small LSAs end up in a pusher config.

    Tim
     
  6. May 4, 2017 #6

    cluttonfred

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    An artist named David Gittens became fascinated with gyroplanes in the 1980s and developed the Ikenga series of mostly tractor-engine designs. Some really neat ideas, though the site is old-fashioned and the music annoying. His designs are *very* open air and very much in the "motorcycle of the air" spirit.

    https://dwij.org/dwij/aircraft.htm

     
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  7. May 4, 2017 #7

    vtul

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    I always loved the Pitcairns and Kellets, and actually, many of those had small wings. I don't know why pusher types predominate now. But as said before, the most popular types now are open structure -- maybe because of cost, build simplicity, weight, and fun mission visibility. It's harder to imagine a tractor version of an open structure gyro, and it would have a less pleasing forward view, more prop blast, and probably less thrust efficiency since it's blowing onto the poorly faired pilot instead of just the rudder.

    But put a nice cowl and covered fuselage w/fairings aft, and a tractor improves in efficiency (though not cost) and wins in style points, in my opinion. It is no accident that the traditional autogyros were pre-eminent advertisers for everything from spark plugs, to newspapers, to the US Mail, to expeditions, even car parts via the Pep Boys. They helped boost star aviators' fame, too. Definitely high visibility aviation even if they were expensive and used big radials to get there.

    Now we're largely in a form-follows-function aesthetic era, so because of tastes and efficiency the old radial tractor style autogiros are dinosaurs.

    But, just so happens many of us like dinosaurs.
     
  8. May 4, 2017 #8

    vtul

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    Here's an old 16mm clip of a tractor Kellett autogyro used to carry mail 10 times a day for many years between post office at Philadelphia and Camden, NJ. It operated from the roof of the PO building , and flight time was 6 minutes between the two. The autogyro part starts at 1:55 in the video:

     
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  9. May 5, 2017 #9

    vtul

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    Convertible top....

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. May 5, 2017 #10

    TFF

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    I think the reasoning for tractor or pusher comes from what you think you are flying. The Pitcairns and Kellets were considered safety AIRPLANES. Pushers are want to be HELICOPTERS. it depends on what dream you are standing on.
     
  11. May 5, 2017 #11

    vtul

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  12. May 5, 2017 #12

    Tiger Tim

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    I think tractor gyros are just full of the character I would want in a flying machine. The thing is, they really only look the part as taildraggers and I wonder how easy/catastrophic it is to groundloop one on landing. You have to figure there must be almost no flow over the rudder given the extremely low touchdown speed, coupled with whatever effects you're getting from the spinning rotor, plus the generally high centre of gravity of the whole affair.
     
  13. May 5, 2017 #13

    cluttonfred

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    Since gyros can land (but not take-off unless complicated) with little or no forward motion, I don't think ground loops are a major issue.

     
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  14. May 5, 2017 #14

    lr27

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    It's probably safer to lose your hat or your camera from a tractor autogyro than from a pusher.
     
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  15. May 5, 2017 #15

    cheapracer

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    There seems to be no reason for the lack of support.

    There may just be a subconscious problem that it falls way outside of the "Golden Ratio" maybe, that makes them look less than appealing. The popular little gyro pushers are about right for the ratio btw.



    http://www.creativebloq.com/design/designers-guide-golden-ratio-12121546

    It's believed that the Golden Ratio has been in use for at least 4,000 years in human art and design, but it may be even longer than that – some people argue that the Ancient Egyptians used the principle to build the pyramids.

    In more contemporary times, the Golden Ratio can be observed in music, art, and design all around you. By applying a similar working methodology you can bring the same design sensibilities to your own work.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio#Applications_and_observations
     
  16. May 5, 2017 #16

    cheapracer

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    Exactly, and yet ....

    How can you watch the Vtul's airmail video above and not see how they answer so many problems.


    That's resolvable, and remember that a tractor must excite the rotor better making for shorter TOL.

    I wonder at what point the crossover arrives for rotor diameter and wing span for a hybrid plane/autogyro such as this thing ...

    [video=youtube;-GNUsqOQ3T8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GNUsqOQ3T8[/video]

    Note Guys that I am looking into this as it seems a very real answer to carrying the weight of a fully electric plane, I imagine something with wings and rotor like this one here would be one answer.

    You could well use the rotor as a charging medium as well.
    .
     
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  17. May 5, 2017 #17

    cluttonfred

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    True, but a twin-boom pusher autogyro is probably less likely to end up with a person in the prop on the ground. You pays your money and you takes your choice. :p

    taifun_4s.jpg
     
  18. May 5, 2017 #18

    Tiger Tim

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    That minimal forward motion is where my concern comes from. Maybe it's unfounded but a conventional taildragger wants to swing the most at low speed because there's diminished fin/rudder authority to prevent it.
     
  19. May 5, 2017 #19

    cheapracer

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    I'm not an expert but I think you are completely eliminating the downwash factor that obviously has to spread outwards and past the rudder. I notice the successful ones have a very long dorsal/rudder probably to take advantage of the downwash.

    pitcairn-pca-2-autogyro-plans-26340846.jpg
     
  20. May 5, 2017 #20

    cluttonfred

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    My probably oversimplified understanding is that early autogyros used rotors fixed in both blade pitch and hub angle and therefore used conventional aircraft controls including the ailerons on those stub wings. The wings weren't there to offload the rotor so much as to provide aerodynamic control, which became less effective at low speed and even worse with an engine out and no prop blast.

    At the other end of the spectrum later on were the fully-articulated rotor heads with variable blade pitch used to achieve jump take-off, essentially all the complexity of a helicopter except for the tail rotor.

    The middle ground used by almost all modern gyroplanes, tractor or pusher, combines a rotor hub which may be physically tilted in two axes for pitch and roll, fixed rotor blade pitch, and an aerodynamic rudder. Almost all modern gyros use a two-bladed, teetering hub for simplicity and reduced susceptibility to resonance. The effect is almost like weight shift control for pitch and roll.

    If I were going for a modern tractor autogyro, I think I'd start conceptually the cute little Pitcairn PA-22 (original and later version below), but simplified with a teetering, two-bladed rotor. It not hard to imagine a mashup of a modern pusher autogyro with something like a tube-and-dacron Skyranger microlight coming out something like an updated PA-22.

    pitc-pa22.jpg 2374_31_77-pitcairn-pa22.jpg

    Actually, I think that the reason for the low aspect ratio fin and rudder has more to do with getting enough side area in while still clearing the spinning rotor.
     

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