You show one of the most famous autogyros but overlook the designer and pilot.
(former Wing Commander) Kenneth Wallis MBE,
I don't know if he is still flying (hes 94?) but he was until recently.
Former British Army pilots, drawing on military experience carrying out covert surveillance with secret special-forces units, have decided to revive the autogyro - a long-lost aircraft design of the 1930s, probably most famous for its use in the James Bond movies. The Little Nellie autogyro as used by James Bond, with designer …
How's the cost (and TCO and so on) compare to the fully unmanned stuff?
And, well, how hard is it to keep such a thing flyworthy? Is it usable as an air-taxi? The short take off and landing are definately features, but a glorified moped is maybe not the thing the over-monied executive has in mind.
as used by Bond in 'You Only Live Twice'
but I'd also quite like a go in any civil version, it looks a lot cooler than the RAF2000 which is the only other (partially) enclosed autogyro I've seen. If it's got a reasonable cruising speed and range then even better.
Ahh, the so often over-looked autogyro - the aircraft that won the Battle of Britain that no-one has ever heard of.
In 1940 it wasn't the number or quality of aircraft/pilots that won the BoB (as we didn't have many of either) but the fact we had radar and so knew where the Germans were before they got there.
Of course a 1940 radar system wasn't something you just switched on but something that needed daily calibration. You regularly needed to point it at something sat, stationary at a known point in the sky - a job perfect for an autogyro...
As he would have told you that he went a long way down this track, only have the MOD remind him that one of his autogyros crashed spectacularly - at Farnborough - in front of everyone when he and Vintons nearly went into production. They carefully gloss over the fact that the *helicopter* pilot had very few hours on type and did a manoeuvre that Ken had specifically (and repeatedly) told him not to do. Coupled with this, the various (non Ken) homebuilts, and even some of the upcoming commercial examples, have a frankly bad safety record. A lot of pilot error and some technical problems seeming to be the cause. Even the chap that taught me to fly one (in Cornwall) died because some idiot "borrowed" the single nut that held the rotor on and he didn't notice until the rotor came off when the autogyro glider was several feet in the air, with a student on board. Yes, that was the machine that I learned on, and not many months afterwards...
Autogyros have always suffered since.
Doesn't stop me wanting one though.
Maybe now that we have CAA Part G, a lot more "official" research and generally better understanding how these amazing machines work things will change. I do hope so.
The manoeuvre in question (at Farnborough) was a sharp transition from nose-up to nose-down. The rotor is a gyroscope, and tried to continue rotating in the same direction as before (axis toward the rear). The body of the craft wanted it to be axis toward the front. The rotor flexed (as they do) and collided with the propeller and/or tail with predictable effects on the continued flight-worthiness of the craft.
"And "borrowing" the nut that holds the rotor on? "
I think the equivalent in helicopter terms this is called the "Jesus bolt"
However even the professionals have there FUBAR's.
IIRC about.com had a piece on composites and reported the perception of composite weakness when an F117 took off and it's composite wing parted company from the fuselage (can't trust that dang carbon fibre and glue, pah). The article went on to explain the *real* reason.
Wing secured with 8 (large, specialised) bolts
7 left on the workbench when it took off.
Presumably 8 will handle maximum wing loading in high g maneuvers. Being this is a stealth aircraft I cannot imagine *anyone* being allowed near it who was not USAF. Likewise I don't think an abject apology was really going to cut it either.
The reason why the police use helicopters is because they can hover over an area where a suspect has gone to ground and/or chase after speeding vehicles. In both cases they are used to direct ground forces as well as collect video surveillance.
I can see how these would be of use in addition to 'copters, but if they can't hover or fly at suitably high speeds, then they're not likely to be good replacements.
Wasn't there a problem with flying auto-giro with too-high a wind speed causing them to fail in some catastrophic way? Or am I thinking of something else like microlights?
The police do indeed need a stable platform for things like their thermal cameras when doing suspect searches. They are also quite keen on the VTOL capabilities of helicopters. They can set down at the site of an emergency if required. More importantly perhaps they do not need to be based at an airfield, but can be based at the most convenient location for the area they operate in. They can also have multiple bases.
Not long back they had the director of "You only live twice" on Desert Island Discs (UK radio programme, for non-Brits). Apparently they asked the pilot to get closer to the pool of boiling mud at the bottom of the volcano, so he did. Then he flew round and round inside the rim of the volcano. Director says, "OK, we've got enough film, he can come back now." "You don't understand", say the support crew, "the wind's dropped and he can't get out". So the pilot flew round and round, and fuel got lower and lower, and the director was thinking that he was going to have basically killed a war-hero test pilot for the film. Then at the last minute the wind got up enough that the pilot could get enough altitude to get over the volcano rim and get out. *Way* lucky!
last year I walked into the crater north of Kagoshima to confirm that Bond's mission had been successful and tasted the water. Heaps of sulphur vents but it wasn't hot. It may have cooled down since then though.
Auto Gyros were also used in Mad Max2 or Road Warrior movie. The guy that built the 2 used in Max2, and I think 3, lived around the block from me. he built them in his garage. I used to cut through his yard as a short cut till his neighbour got a large and very angry dog.
They were first invented in the 1930's but are also in current production. The CAA G-INFO site lists quite a few examples on the UK register (about a dozen by Ken Wallis and 9 Mangi M16s), and there is a M16 up for sale on the AFORS site at the moment for a mere £56k. They are classed as Gyroplanes, not microlights, so to fly one you need a PPL(G), not a microlight licence. Had a fly in one last year, well cool but out of my price range. Have a look at gyrocopterexperience if you want more info. Black (Gyrocopters) - obviously.
You'll see that James is wearing his dinner jacket while having his arms crossed.
So I guess another great thing about autogyros is that you can fly them with your knees while 2-3 other aircraft are shooting at you!!!
Mine's the dinner jacket with the keys to the Aston-Martin in the pocket :)
With the cantilever from the engine through to the rotor mount Gyrojet has some serious structural engineering to sort out. This will affect cost and weight. Kenneth Wallis knew the problem and the answer: keep the load and lift close together. That is how you dare go for speed records, the Girojet will fold up at half the speed. And why? Just for a bit of style.
One thing I have always wondered. There are advantages to having a two blade rotor, mainly it is easy to park and garage and even drive about. However with higher loads, would a four blade rotor be more efficient and a lot smaller?
They say comparisons are odorous. True. However if you remember the task is as a flying camera mount; the fact that it is not as fast and cannot hover has to be weighed against low vibration and duration on site. With an autopilot and auto stabilised camera mount an autogiro looks ideal. Ok so so you cannot do motorway chases, so use a fixed wing aircraft. The bottom line is that it will cost about as much to operate as the average police mobile speed trap.
Do more for less. Remember.
The rotor "teeters" or wobbles, if you will, as it goes round. This is how it manages to deal with the advancing/retreating blade asymmetric lift issues that helicopters have, that are dealt with by swash plates and linkages and such that change that angle of attack of each blade depending on its position as it goes around the circle.
See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOVl-9R0UcI at about 04:10 to see the mechanism. It isn't offset from the control pivot, so it won't be as stable as he would like, but that's a different problem.
"One thing I have always wondered. There are advantages to having a two blade rotor, mainly it is easy to park and garage and even drive about. However with higher loads, would a four blade rotor be more efficient and a lot smaller?"
Another option would be contra-rotating main rotors. Not sure how you ensure they spin in opposite directions but I think there is an aerodynamic tweak that would ensure it.
A trickier issue would be if you can divert power to the rotors for a near vertical take off (some autogyros have had this option)
Compact storage retained but potentially shorter blades and higher lift.
Well Dirk a helicopter pilot like to get killed in one of these; the controls are all wonky.
(This is important and the test will have this at about 200 feet actual.)
You do not! want that rotor to stop and that can happen if you treat it as if it is a helicopter; it kind of spins over on its back and you die.*
A few 'true gyro-copters' were made; they could take off from a standing start by spinning up the top rotor. In fiction The Shadow used one. (William Gibson, AKA Maxwell Grant.)
*The control confusion is my main problem with these things; a good helicopter pilot has the wrong reflexes to fly one and will end up getting hurt and not even know why.
You have to learn the craft.
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