Tilting Rotor Steers New Autogiro (Oct, 1933)

Tilting Rotor Steers New Autogiro

Unusual Craft Has No Wings and Vanes Fold So it Can Be Stored in a One-Car Garage One overhead handle in the cabin of the latest type of autogiro, now being successfully tested and flown at Willow Grove, Pa., enables the pilot to steer up, down, or sideways and to bank the craft simply by tilting the windmill-like rotor. The experimental model carries a horizontal rudder, but tests indicate that this may be superfluous. There are no ailerons or elevators, and the stub wing usually present in this type of craft is missing. Because of the simplicity of control, the new craft is expected to be especially suited to the novice pilot and is soon to be marketed. Other striking innovations are embodied in the new machine. A clutch disconnects the motor from the propeller and transfers the power to a tail wheel, steered from the cabin, so that the plane can run out of its hangar under its own power. The vanes fold out of the way when the plane is stored so it occupies no more space than an auto. It has a top speed of 105 miles an hour.

4 comments
  1. Hirudinea says: April 6, 20123:10 pm

    I love Autogyros, don’t know what good they’re for (neither airplane or helicopter) but they just look so neat!

  2. cr0sh says: April 6, 201210:38 pm

    @Hirudinea: Autogyros had their “heyday” prior to the invention of a practical working helicopter; they mainly excelled as an STOL (short take off and landing) aircraft. Their forward motion would keep the blades turning, the turning blades provided both lift from forward motion (as with a regular wing), but also lift from the motion of the blades thru the air (much like a real helicopter – because the blades are shaped like an airfoil). In addition, if the autogyro lost power, the blades would continue to autorotate, allowing for a more controlled landing (which isn’t always possible with an airplane; some airplanes have poor glide handling). Although, one of the big downsides with an autogyro (IIRC), was that they couldn’t fly very quickly (I think this is also an issue with helicopters, in that there is an “upper speed” of forward motion relative to the blade motion – I might be misremembering something else, though).

  3. Zeppflyer says: April 7, 20125:13 am

    The upper speed problem with helicopters is caused, as I understand it, with the rotor moving towards the rear of the bird. As speed increases, its effective motion through the air decreases and it loses lift. Meanwhile, its partner on the other side is creating more and more lift. This can be countered for a while by changing the blades’ angle of attack, but, eventually, the tendency of the helicopter to flip over becomes too great.

    Solutions for this include the V22 Osprey (with dual tilting rotors on the end of wings), the kellet xr-8 (which used two rotors inter-meshed with one another, rotating in opposite directions), and any helicopter with contra-rotating props fitted to a single axle.

  4. Toronto says: April 7, 20127:04 pm

    Yes, the forward moving rotor has more lift, but this can be compensated for several ways. Helicopter rotors with more than two blades have a complex mounting method that allows the blades to “hunt” back and forth and to “flap” up and down to spill off some of this effect. Of course, control systems allow automated pitch compensation as well.

    Two-bladed rotors are sometimes made in a ‘teeter totter” fashion, with the flap and hunt on one rotor blade is replicated in reverse on the other. Much simpler, but load limited.

    The lightweight autogiros I’ve seen use a control system similar to this but also have fairly large and effective rudders. By deflecting the propwash, they can control heading as well as direction, somewhat.

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