# Your opinion on the Tractor Style Gyrocopter?

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

1. May 6, 2017

### Aesquire

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The wings & tail with control surfaces were a very early design, abandoned when Juan de la Cierva developed the hinged/teetering rotor head. That made pitch & roll control much more positive than ailerons on stub wings ( long wings for long lever arm ) and the elevator/stabilizer combination. Companies like Pitcairn Aircraft in the US and Focke-Achgelis in Germany, were licence holders and made further improvements. ( There's more info out there on the Pitcairn connection, really partners in later development. )

One reason the wings went away is at low airspeed the control surfaces lost effectiveness.

Another reason to get rid of the wings is the drag at high angles of attack was very high. Without variable incidence, the wings were only helping in a narrower range than was really worth it.

Plus no wings, no weight, no parts, no time & labor. Win win.

I'll finish with a safety tip. Training is important. Knowing what is different from an aeroplane and an Autogyro is a matter of life & death.
With a slow, high drag airplane, like a Pt103 ultralight, the trained response to engine failure is to immediately lower the nose ( in some cases a LOT ) to maintain airspeed and have enough energy to flare properly on landing. The same response, to quickly push the stick forward, may cause a gyro to "bunt" over. Relative wind on top of a wing momentarily is exciting. The same in a gyro may result in an uncontrollable tumble and the rotor tearing the tail off. Very high probability of a fatal crash. Very.

( The response to lower the nose when the pilot cooling fan quits is pretty normal in flight training. But. A Lancair has much less drag and more inertia than a Quicksilver and I doubt they teach nearly full control deflection for an engine failure )

2. May 6, 2017

### cheapracer

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Not sure I even agree they are "wings" per say on the Pitcain, more like flat plates to hold the ailerons and landing gear so not a great surprise they lost effectiveness at low airspeed with even moderate AOA.

There are many reasons to retain the wings, I am not building a rotorcraft. It is blantantly obvious despite their incredible abilities that no one buys them therefore I'm banking on a hybrid being the answer, or more to the point, a plane with short wings using a 1 dimensional rotor for lift that has does not intrude on a typical Recreational Flyer's normal operational procedures.

No offense meant but you guys need to stop quoting gyrocopter based comments, this is a plane with a rotor on top, and little to do with short coupled flying lawn chairs.

There are no tractor gyroplane of my ilk accidents.

It is this type of misrepresentation that even puts me off building stuff. Fortunately the driving force has everything to do with the Chinese market that has no airfields for which this craft type is a fit.

Please listen to the early information offered in this interview ....

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3. May 6, 2017

### Aesquire

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Point taken on the gyro accident comment. It's the short coupled versions that can have the bunt problem. I am mildly surprised that the tractor type doesn't have it, at all. I'd think it possible, but far less likely, to pitch over in one. No matter where you put the propeller, the rotor won't like a negative AOA.

My comment is valid for all the gyros I've seen for sale, except the Little Wing, and they are uber rare.

There are gyros sold here, but the number is small in proportion to the number of aeroplanes, and instructors are rare. You may have to travel quite a ways to get instruction, and lodging can really drive the price to learn up.

I don't know about your "hybrid" idea. It seems that the articulated rotor control and rudder does a good job without wings, and that was the evolution of the design from winged to not... but if you can make it fly just like a "regular" airplane without the gyro quirks, you may have something.

no offence taken, when I'm talking out the wrong orifice, ( and I was over generalizing, from short pushers to long tractors ) I welcome the polite correction.

The tractor type gyro has a lot of appeal to me. I'm a little wary of the Little Wing, since I haven't seen a lot about them for years, but they could just be quietly keeping on with a very low volume business.

4. May 6, 2017

### cluttonfred

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cheapracer, I was trying to remember a French design I had seen that seemed to be the kind of hybrid you were describing, and here it is, the Hélicop-Air L-50 Girhel.

Despite what it says in one of the link and the "GIRoplane-HELicopter" name, I don't think it actually used a powered rotor, just engine driven prerotation of a normal, fixed-incidence gyro rotor, but unfortunately the article is not quite clear enough to read easily. Still, it's a place to start.

http://www.aviastar.org/helicopters_eng/helicop-air.php

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=12871.0

5. May 6, 2017

### cheapracer

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I completely agree, what I am saying is they aren't selling, and I can only conclude it's their appearance and learning slope that scare people off. There is way too many poor performing "normal" planes flying whereas a gyroplane such as the Little Wing would be a superior choice that support my conclusion. Mind you the marketing on their shoulders, and the scary accidents of the small gyrocopters don't help the cause at all as we are seeing in this thread and another elsewhere I am running. Gyrocopters simply have a bad name, I need a new modern catchy name, anybody?
Their website looks active, there are a number of pictures on Google. Just maybe the ownership has changed .. http://ldmueller.com/Autogyro.htm The $50,000 price doesn't grab me with a VW engine, that may be a factor, although the kit is cheap. The owner i the video mentioned that 600 sets of plans had been sold, but he certainly lost me with his attitude at the end when talking about his clients engine questions. Pretty bad attitude actually, especially when he's pushing the safety of the craft. He was one of the people I would contact for this project, not now. On that, another bonus is the greater choice of auto engine due to that landing safety and the ability to carry a bit more weight. It's something he should be pushing, not scoffing. 6. May 6, 2017 ### bmcj ### bmcj #### Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Apr 10, 2007 Messages: 12,637 Likes Received: 4,654 Location: Fresno, California Tractor vs pusher: I like the tractor, but today's younger customer base is not as mired in tradition and nostalgia. For them, the pusher wins over the tractor because you can craft a sleeker, more modern cockpit enclosure that focuses on style with the prop and engine hidden out of sight (more jet-like). cheapracer likes this. 7. May 6, 2017 ### vtul ### vtul #### Well-Known Member Joined: Mar 13, 2017 Messages: 366 Likes Received: 91 Location: Northeast, USA cheapracer, don't stop building or thinking just because people say things here based on what they've read elsewhere. Basically it's just a misunderstanding of what you are thinking about, which becomes clearer after you explain the difference. I really enjoyed the video interview -- and learning about bunting and the solution of keeping the center of mass close to the rotor base combined with a long tail moment n a conventional gyro. It seems like a radial engine has a really compact mass compared to anything else, and the rotor mast is placed close to that radial on the traditional old autogyros -- and the newer one. It's really interesting to me. I also really love the old designs aesthetically, so it's great to see a lot of their form justified for practical reasons. Your vision is something different, since it is an airplane with a rotor lift assist (hope that's a correct way to phrase it?). It does create a bunch of thoughts and questions for me that I want to ask -- but don't take them as expressing doubt, they're just real questions where I don't know the answer. So first, what do you hope the landing speed will be, if it all works out? Second, what do you hope the cruise speed will be? Third how do you think the interaction of the wing and rotor will play out at various speeds? If you are still just working on this as a concept and can't say on any of the above until you get more specific in design, that's understandable, so no answer required. 8. May 6, 2017 ### cheapracer ### cheapracer #### Well-Known Member Joined: Sep 8, 2013 Messages: 5,049 Likes Received: 3,327 Location: Australian No, no, no, nothing to do with here other than being a gateway to what the masses generalise gyrocopters as being. The effort to explain it to each individual becomes a marketing nightmare, and incredibly tiresome, that's what I'm referring to. That's why I'm not dropping everything and finishing off number one project first, when that's underway it won't matter if this idea is a flop. It's like when I get angry at a Chinese, my Wife always interjects and says "You can't change 1.3 billion people!". 1/ Well 'halfway', less than 200 yards would be satisfying. 2/ Same as a STOL, 90 to 100 knots would be great. Lets not pretend this is ever going to be fast. 3/ My wings are very modular, after I get the 'normal' first project out of the way, I could try a small rotor, say 4 meters diameter, and start trimming the wings down literally with an angle grinder, 10% at a time off the span to each next rib to find the equilibrium point. Then see where it stands at that, then continue with say a 4.5 meter rotor and repeat. Last edited: May 6, 2017 9. May 6, 2017 ### vtul ### vtul #### Well-Known Member Joined: Mar 13, 2017 Messages: 366 Likes Received: 91 Location: Northeast, USA Very weird coincidence, I was just cleaning up a big pile of papers and books in a corner of my office and face down was a book, "Aircraft Treasures of Silver Hill" I must have bought at a used book store a few years ago, and never read. On the back cover facing up was a small photo of a "Convertaplane" -- with a wing, and a very wide rotor above! "Huh!" I thought. Actually, not quite the right name, I guess the book cover designer put it there. But It was really the Herrick Vertaplane. There was most of a chapter devoted to it, so I read that. Not quite the same concept as yours cheapracer, but interesting, anyway. A rotor that can start out as a wing for takeff or fast flying, and then converts to a rotor for landing, or short field takeoff. Apparently it can go from wing to rotor in flight, but not the other way. Maybe you already knew about it, but I didn't, despite the fact I owned the book. Another coincidence that struck me was that the Heath company built it, and I was building a Heath parasol. There's a write up online, here (if you haven't already seen it): https://airandspace.si.edu/collection-objects/herrick-hv-2a-vertaplane cheapracer likes this. 10. May 6, 2017 ### Aesquire ### Aesquire #### Well-Known Member Joined: Jul 29, 2014 Messages: 2,283 Likes Received: 905 Location: Rochester, NY, USA Cheapracer, thank you for that link to the Little Wing maker. All I had before was the old designer's page, http://www.littlewingautogyro.com/ which lists plans and welded fuselage for sale. The price for either seems reasonable, but even though I was a machinist, I don't have a mill or lathe at home, and that makes fabricating everything a bit daunting. ( although any excuse to buy tools is a good excuse ) The one page of the plans looked less sturdy than I liked. However the designer stated that he used commonly available rotor head parts, and I was hoping to find out if ( just for example ) an Air Command rotor head & controls would be adaptable, since well proven in flight hardware makes me happy. The website you pointed out? I haven't looked at everything, but Dragon Wing rotor blades have an excellent reputation, and$50k for fly away isn't insane pricing compared to the majority of LSA turn key airplanes on the market.

I can see how a fellow in a time bind might not want to deal with different engines. Vans aircraft has an excellent reputation for customer service, but if you want to install a different engine than specified, ( even a Continental ) their attitude is "you are on your own". I don't blame them since...... Lawyers.

Also, despite the many here who want, or are happy with car engine conversions, ( and I'm totally onboard with the efficiency advantages of an engine designed since 1939 ) there have been PSRU and engine failures with conversions that make many, and especially insurance companies, not want to deal, at all, with them.

It's a bit disappointing to run into someone who gets upset at your good ideas, but on the subject of changing the engine on an aircraft, it seems to be very black & white. Some are eager to see you succeed and will donate time to help, others fear liability problems and won't even discuss it, lest an off hand comment end up in court. Pity, but that's what I observe. ( and, of course, I could be wrong. )

What I "Want" is a bolt together airframe with minimal fabrication. The Skyranger type construction would be nice. A pre-welded frame is arguably even better, ( although the shipping costs are higher ) and if I can buy rotor head assemblies, ( even as parts ) and can avoid welding, I'm fine with covering a fuselage.

BTW.... The experimental process of removing wing or control surface area to find the sweet spot is a time honored tradition. I have seen several pictures of early ( 1930-40's ) planes that had the tail or control surfaces built so they could be recovered for less area while not changing the frame, to speed up the experimental process. Much faster than building a new tail each time. When the happy medium is reached, then you make a new part.

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11. May 7, 2017

### cheapracer

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Great find Mathew, and maybe the closest to what I am proposing, thanks for that

12. May 7, 2017

### cheapracer

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Mathew, you would appreciate "Twin Twirls" (RC Models) as they fly on the same principle as a Flying Flea, only need 2 axis controls, rudder and HS, no ailerons needed

As you know, a Flying Flea works when rudder is applied, the advancing wing's dihedral and upswept tip is pushed up to create roll (and vice versa for the retreating wing), same for a Twin Twirl (as long as the rotors are set with dihedral). And like a Flea, likely you hold the stick (rudder operate) over the whole time for the turn and when you let it go the plane straightens.

Food for thought, like a Flea, it certainly simplifies things.

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13. May 7, 2017

### Marc W

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Here are a couple links to EAA 1373 newsletters that have pictures of a tractor gyro called the Versiplane. It has a Rotax engine and the target cruise speed is 150 kts. The designer/builder used to work for Scaled Composites. The fuselage is molded with honeycomb. There will be small foam core wings with control surfaces that mount on the tube that is visible below the seat in the largest picture. The rotorhead is all original but the rotor is from another gyro. There are more photos and more info in previous newsletters. If you care to see more Google "Chuck Richey Versiplane".
http://eaa1373.org/1373december09.pdf

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14. May 7, 2017

### cheapracer

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You mean it "HAD" a Rotax engine, the darn thing ate it, those teeth, scary!

Thanks for the links, more here .. http://www.eaa1373.org/chuck_versiplane.html

15. May 7, 2017

### cluttonfred

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You are right that I am fond of two-axis aircraft generally, though oddly trikes have never done anything for me. While that system clearly works great for a model, I don't think it would work well for a homebuilt gyro. For one, since the rotor swept area increases with the square of the radius, two smaller rotors side by side plus a little bit of a gap add up to a much greater total "span." Also, the only way the twin rotors become about as simple as one is if they are fixed, like a Sky Pup's wings, leaving just the pure aerodynamic control of the rudder and elevator, which will be poor at low speed. Then there are the rotor tips swinging by very fast and very close to your head...(shudder). It's a cool idea, but there are definitely some pitfalls.

16. May 7, 2017

### cheapracer

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If they came off they would immediately go up.

Besides, no reason you could not do a hi wing version anyway, probably more structurally logical as you could use wing struts.

17. May 7, 2017

### Marc W

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Cheapracer, you are probably right, it has probably digested that Rotax by now!

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18. May 8, 2017

### cheapracer

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This is one of the motivating forces behind it. The small stubby wings are easily handled and removed (or maybe folded) by one person, the rotor blade is longitudinally positioned and then transportation and parking in your garage is easy ...

19. May 8, 2017

### cluttonfred

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Cute. Most gyroplanes are too too tall to fit in a 20' shipping container, so if yours were short enough to do that it would be an advantage. I would be a bit worried of the possibility of propeller-rotor contact, though.

Perhaps leave the mast tall but allow the landing gear to be manually folded up so the aircraft can sit on it's belly in wheeled cradle? Actually, maybe you already did that? If there is no control of the rotor, only via the wings, then it would be easy to hinge the mast sideways for much easier storage.

For reference, 20' ISO container door dimensions are width 7′ 8 ⅛″/2.343 m and height 7′ 5 ¾″/2.280 m, so practically you'd be shooting for 6' 6"/2.0 m or so in both folded width and height.

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20. May 8, 2017

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