Sunday, September 14, 2008

Winged autogyro to make a comeback

Sitting in the cafe of the National Library of Australia today, I was flipping through copies of an Australia aircraft managzine and was struck by the simialries between the designs of lightweight fixed wing and autogyro aircraft. Perhaps by combining the two the winged autogyro will make a comeback and be used for UAVs.

The aircraft I was looking at are the Martin 3 Light Sports Aircraft from Silent Wings Aviation and the ELA-08 Autogyro from ELA Aviation. These are both pusher propeller aircraft with tricycle undercarrage, two seats and simialr engines. The Martin 3 has a high mounted wing just behind the cocpit in front of the wing, where as the ELA-08 has the mast for the rotor in that position. As might be expected the fixed wing aircraft is faster but takes more space to take off.


Martin 3 Fixed Wing AircraftELA-08 Autogyro

Empty weight

280 kg

244 kg

Maximum Take-off Weight

450 kg 550 kg
Min Speed at Level Flight 65 km/h 30 km/h
Cruise Speed 180 km/h 150 km/h
Take Off Distance120 m50 m
Rate of Climb5 m/s8 m/s

Some early autogyros had wings and recentircraft such as the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne have experimented with combining a pusher propeller and small wings on a helicopter. It might make sense to replace the wings of the Martin 3 with the rotor of the ELA-08, then reposition the landing gear on a small low mounted wing. The rotor would allow for a sort takeoff afterwhich the wing could take over some of the load allowing for a faster cruse speed. This might also be used for a UAV which could be launched from a ship or vehicle without the need for any runway.

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