We are fortunate in having some very hi-tech futuristic design projects which are now well into the test flying stages. I will give brief details of these and act as a signpost putting a link to the appropriate web sites so that you can search through their pages in detail and e-mail them with any enquiries that you may have. I also hope to feature some of the less high profile projects which I am aware of, and which particularly appeal to me. If you know of anything radically different from the usual gyros that we fly then please let me know the details.
I was all ready to tell you about a very exciting, SERIOUS project which is possibly the most radical and far reaching development for autogyro flight involving an entirely new and different type of rotor system. However, I have been instructed - "not yet!" Spring (UK) of 1999 seemed a likely time for the world to be enlightened, but still we wait! In case you think that you have heard this type of thing before and that this is all 'Pie in the Sky', believe me - it is not!
Two very interesting projects which I can tell you about are the CarterCopter and the Groen Brothers gyros:
The CarterCopter is a very futuristic looking development
which, as you can see in the photo, has wings as well as a rotor. I understand
that the rotor is only powered whilst the aircraft is stationary on the
ground prior to the jump takeoff (up to 100ft, they reckon). The rotor is
driven to a speed beyond its normal autorotative flying rpm and is then
disconnected from it's drive before pulling collective and leaving the ground
(otherwise the torque driving the rotor would turn the fuselage - which
would then require a tail rotor). On takeoff the high inertia in the pre-rotated
rotor provides sufficient energy to keep it turning until increased forward
speed provides enough airflow through the rotor for it to autorotate, which
it will then continue to do throughout the flight. During slow flight the
aircraft is expected to fly as a (relatively) ordinary gyro, though as speed
is increased the rotor speed will be unloaded and slow down as the wings
take over supplying most of the lift (this is the bit that we are all looking
forward to observing - let's hope it works!). The jet powered version is
expected to fly at 500mph at a cruise altitude of 50,000ft with a range
of 2,600 miles from 225 US gallons of fuel stored in the wings. They hope
to produce a kit version at about $400,000 though a finished version would
cost about $1,000,000 (I don't suppose you will be seeing any pictures of
me flying one then!). First test flights for the Jet version are scheduled
for the year 2000, but test flying on the propeller powered version shown
in these photos is already well advanced with well known gyro man Don Farrington
at the controls. Sadly an accident during testing on 16 December '99 has
resulted in the test program being delayed - fortunately both members of
the crew were unhurt. The photo below was taken during recent test flying
at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. To find out what happened (who would
be a test pilot!) click on the underlined colored text to see the press
release of the accident http://www.cartercopters.com/pressrel15.html
When you have finished browsing my site I suggest you visit the CarterCopters site to find out all of the latest news.
Groen Brothers Aviation have designed this 2 seater Hawk H2X along with 4,6 and 8 seater versions. Like the CarterCopter they too are also designed to be capable of vertical takeoff and landing, using their own patented collective pitchcontrolled rotor head with the ability to change rotor blade pitch in flight. The H2X uses a pusher propeller powered by a liquid cooled aluminum V-8 engine.
Groen Brothers Aviation currently has a $50 million order for two hundred Hawk IV gyroplanes from the Shanghai Energy and Chemicals Corporation (SECC) of Shanghai, China, with an option to purchase three hundred additional gyros which could include the larger capacity aircraft. It seems that the SECC are intending using the aircraft for an air taxi operation and so these larger aircraft would seem a sensible option.
FAA type certification is a top priority for the Groen Brothers at the
moment which, though an expensive route, should make life much easier for
their marketing - we might even see them in the U.K.
June '99 - The Hawk is now on the move, if not quite yet on the wing, as can be seen from this photo showing the Hawk 4 loaded onto a trailer ready to be transported to its Flight Operations facility at Buckeye, Arizona, where it is now based. Although this is the 4 seater version - is it me, or has this bird lost some of its good looks? As long as it flies well!
When you have finished browsing my site I suggest you visit Groen Brothers Aviation to find out all
of their latest news.
Many people in the gyro world have been eagerly awaiting the results of this project funded by the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). A summary of the aims, analysis and conclusions can be found on their webpage for this project at http://www.aero.gla.ac.uk/Research/FD/Project5.html Research is still ongoing, and we are expecting soon to find out the conclusions of their study on the Air Command 532 Elite (see my gyro5 page).
Let us hope that gyro designers in the 21st century will utilize their findings to help make sure that we all fly gyros that are as safe as possible.
' Mel's Gyro Page ' (gyro homepage)
Ken Wallis page
gyro photos taken while filming for TV series
single seat gyro types commonly flown in the UK (Cricket types, Bensen, Montgomerie Bensen)
single seat gyro types rarely flown in the UK (Wombat, KB2, Air Command, Hornet, McCandless, etc.)
2 seat gyro types commonly flown in the UK (VPM M16, RAF2000)
2 seat gyro types rarely flown in the UK
an assortment of other pages - several sub-pages to this one
gyro9 - you're in it !
interesting projects going on
International gyro page
Gyros on Floats
Stop browsing this and get proper training to fly gyros in the U.K. (this link will take you to the BRA site)
Fly Gyro! magazine
The new international magazine (printed) for enthusiasts everywhere!