The Autogyro Wind Blew Too Late

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I took the autogyro out this morning, but there was absolutely no wind first thing, so I ended up not being able to fly it. If the breath of wind there was at the end of the session had been there at the beginning, then it would have been perfect. There wasn’t enough wind to spin the rotors until late on and rushing a quick test flight when I was pushed for time didn’t seem like a sensible idea, so the autogyro went home in one piece.

I spent all yesterday going through the autogyro’s systems to make sure everything was spot on. One difference between this setup and last time is the addition of the extra shims under the blade roots, so the blades are at a more negative angle to the head plate rotation plane. Also, while reading the original RCM&E article, I noticed that the designer put a 1 degree left side thrust angle on the motor using washers. I didn’t have this two weeks ago, but I can’t remember if the successful flights last year had it in or whether I decided to remove it? I added the left side thrust this time just as a precaution, as it won’t make a huge difference. The balance, measured using the “hang angle” technique, will make a big difference, as will the head plate angle (elevator), so this is what I spent most of the time checking. I actually had full down elevator trim on the radio, so I adjusted the mechanical linkages and moved this back to zero on the radio to give myself some margin for adjustment.

My plan for flying was simple. I was going to sit the aircraft on the runway and pull the elevator fully back to tilt the head back and let the wind spin the rotors up. Then I was going to release the elevator and try moving forwards slowly with the rotors spinning to try and “hop” like they suggest when trimming an autogyro. The idea is to fine tune the head angle so you can add a little speed and slight back tilt for it to gracefully take to the air. It was a disappointment not to be able to fly it.

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I managed three flights with the RS352, which sustained some damage on the journey to the field. The flight box moved and took a bite out of the right aileron, but nothing that a smear of PVA won’t fix. It flew cuban eights well in the completely still, hot, air. We don’t get these conditions very often and it was very busy at the field this morning. I saw the guy whose Hurricane I flew ages ago, with a foam drone and a Multiplex Easy Star, which I seemed to keep finding in the same bit of air as me. We also had three or four hand launch gliders, a pure bungee launch one, the high wing Cessna type trainer from the other week and a few drones, but they like to keep to the limits of the field and refuse to talk to us gyronuts.

There’s not much else to say, except that it was so hot I think I’m starting to melt. This afternoon I need to make a brushed motor controller for a micro drone, which means I’m soldering in the heat. If it works, then I’ve got an interesting aerial robotics test bed to play with.

Oh, well, I’m disappointed not to fly the autogyro, but that was the sensible option and it gets to fly another day. Let’s hope next week’s weather is better.

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