Autogyro Musings

There’s a cycling event on this weekend and all the roads are closed, so I can’t go flying today. The weather is also extremely windy, so I don’t know if I would have actually tried flying in these conditions? It’s a day for big gliders which like the wind, as I can see lots of development happening in the clouds as they’re being blown overhead. I probably would have gone flying if I could, but I wouldn’t have risked the autogyro.

On the subject of autogyros, I’ve been reading the modelflying thread on the Atom build to try and get to the root cause of my problems. When I finally got to page 20 (there’s a lot of information there), I read about somebody else having problems with it rolling left on take-off. The reason is given as “insufficient rotor speed”, which is what I had suspected. Now, interestingly, there’s also a bit on hand-launching autogyros and they include a link to the very same YouTube video I mentioned last week. My problem stems from the bumpy nature of the grass I’m trying to fly from, so I either need bigger wheels, or I might have to bite the bullet and throw it. I still need to do some more experiments outside in the wind to see how fast the rotors can be made to spin. In the hand-launch clip, it’s stated that, “you should be able to feel the lift pulling it out of your hand”. I never felt that it was producing as much lift as I would have expected, so that needs some more testing. Hopefully we’ll achieve some air under the wheels in the not too distant future?

I’ve also been looking at the videos I took the week before last, both of the autogyro test and of me flying the RS352. The autogyro test doesn’t show very much, as all I can see is it whizzing off into the distance and it disappears into the grass because of the low camera angle. Watching three flights with the RS352 was interesting with the camera pointing up into the sky and the wide angle fish-eye lens of the GoPro Hero 4 Session camera. The first thing that struck me was, “I don’t remember the sky looking quite so dark and threatening”. It looks like there’s about to be a thunderstorm and you can hear the wind whistling around the microphone. These are the conditions we seem to have to fly in these days. The second thing is that the fish-eye effect is great for showing the area I’m flying in, but I have real difficulty working out what the aircraft is doing. I can’t tell the orientation and height, even though I can see myself standing there flying it. The Cuban Eights are fun to watch though. I might have a go at editing this and posting a flying video if I get the time, as this is the best I’ve managed to produce so far.

Let’s hope the August weather is a bit more co-operative than July and that we get some calm conditions for an autogyro test next week.

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