I flew the autogyro again today for the first time since its crash in October. It didn’t go so well.
These are the before shots. I actually liked the previous all blue colour scheme better, but this one looks more like the RCM&E review model in its red, white and blue.
I was a bit worried that there wasn’t enough wind to turn the rotors for a hand launch, but there was plenty to get up to flying speed. The problem stemmed from the launch, as I’ve damaged my right shoulder and had to hand launch left handed for the first time. Looking at the launch video, it’s not so much a left handed problem as a consciously not throwing it forward too fast problem. The YouTube clips I’ve seen of autogyro hand launches show a gentle push with the arm at 45 degrees tilting the rotor disk to get it to spin up, followed by a slow transition from 45 degrees to level with the horizon and a push forwards. I was worried that my previous launches were more javelin style aircraft launches, in other words, get as much forward speed as possible. This isn’t necessary with an autogyro, as the speed is in the rotor disk. You do have to throw it flat and with some forward speed, which I didn’t do well enough.
So, a fraction of a second after launch, I had an autogyro prop hanging in a vertical manoeuvre. All I could really do was try and stabilise it laterally, allow it to climb as much as possible and try to flip it around in a stall turn. Another five feet and I would have done it, but it ended with a fairly soft impact directly on the nose.
Spy satellite pictures show more of the descent back to Earth:
OK, so I had a RunCam filming the hand launch and the images above are from a GoPro Hero 4 Session dug into the grass pointing skywards to the left. I wish I had captured more of the short flight, as you can see what I mean by “stabilisation problems”. I’m not just prop hanging, the head is pointing ground-wards at an alarming angle.
The damage isn’t too bad considering. Like I said earlier, I had it stabilised by the point of impact, I just needed more height to fly. It’s snapped the motor shaft, split the fuselage where the LiPo moved forwards and snapped the two spruce tail sticks. I am determined to fix this quickly and get it back in the air next week.
This is the most difficult damage to fix, as it’s right up at the point where the spruce longeron meets the fuselage. I’ll have to have a think about this.
The split fuselage is easy to fix:
Oh, and I nearly forgot, Pete the Pilot isn’t feeling too well:
It must have been that negative g manoeuvre that I pulled.
So, that was the autogyro. I also had three flights with the RS352. There was one other guy with a high wing foam aircraft practising his touch and goes, the lady with the drones and a couple of guys with some really cool HLG gliders.
OK, where did I put that book on how to fix autogyros for the stupid and impatient?