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Panther Trainer Autogyro

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Panther Autogyro

Panther Autogyro

info for builders of RCM&E's March 2013 free plan

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Second Time Around

Second Time Around

Colin Budds rediscovers his love of autogyros

Allan Bennett01/06/2014 20:59:15
1686 forum posts
49 photos

Today, after waiting about five months for the right weather -- a light NE wind so that I could take off straight towards an open field, rather than have to do a 180 straight after take off -- I soloed my Pink Panther for the first time. Charles at the Old Warden club (aka "Gyrocopter" ) had maidened it for me in November, and allowed me a couple of minutes stick time until I started straying over the boundary fence.

Today I was surprised how easy the take off was. It was completely uneventful, and took off like a fixed-wing trainer. Once airborne I found it a bit twitchy in roll, and am tempted to dial some expo into it. But I managed 5 minutes of gentle circuits, including one recovery from turning too sharply and almost stalling.

Landing was not so easy. I'll have to re-read these threads to figure out how to get the right rate of sink while maintaining enough speed to keep the rotor going. I got her to the ground okay, but on landing I was correcting for a bad left lean, and tipped it onto its right side. No damage other than at the tail where somehow the blades hit it.

Thanks Charles, and Richard, I'll soon get the hang of it!

Edited By Allan Bennett on 01/06/2014 21:00:00

Steve Jones 201/06/2014 21:03:18
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581 forum posts
423 photos

Fantastic Alan, well done on the flight. Hope you can make Winterton at the beginning of July??

On the landing, when i first started the classic mistake I made was to throttle back like fixed wing landings. This was met with cries of 'more throttle, more throttle' from the experienced auto flyers.

Good luck and keep it up

Steve

Richard Harris01/06/2014 21:49:34
avatar
2168 forum posts
2013 photos

Allan,

Congratulations on your first flight with your Panther, there will be no stopping you now wink 2

Landing is all about keeping the energy in the blades, always best to control your final descent with your throttle but don't chop it right back like you would with a fix wing. Reduce it to say 1/4 and flare at the very last second.

It's is easy, just different.

Rich

Allan Bennett01/06/2014 22:06:43
1686 forum posts
49 photos

I usually control my rate of descent with throttle, but maybe I cut it at the last minute, or simply let it go too slow, resulting in the wobble that I tried to correct when about 6" off the ground. Anyway, more practice should help!

Gyrocopter02/06/2014 19:17:41
50 forum posts
10 photos

Hi Allan,

So pleased you have had a flight with your beautifully built Pink Panther, can we have some pics please. You are most welcome to come to OW again (Friday?) although I suspect your next flight will be uneventful . I see Rich has filled you in on keeping some throttle on when landing but it is so easy to switch into fixed wing mode for your first few flights.

Excellent,smile d

Chas

Allan Bennett03/06/2014 08:21:30
1686 forum posts
49 photos

Thanks for the invite Chas but, even though I'm retired, my routine (school run!) doesn't allow for outings on most weekdays. But I'll pop by for a chat if you're there next time my wife and I go to OW for a walk and lunch.

Tail is repaired already and, with the first flight under my belt, I now have more confidence about going up with our normal wind direction, and making a U-turn to get over the flying area, rather than waiting for ideal conditions. So I should be able to practice again soon.

As for photos, here's the only one I've got, taken by Zane.

img_0068.jpg

Trevor26/06/2014 21:28:46
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442 forum posts
57 photos

I've just been watching a sales video about full size gyrocopters :- http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=p8IB-5PbL9U

Seeing how easily the pilot demonstrated the deadstick landing ability, I wondered what the Panther is like in this department. I must admit that, having once been caught out with losing rotor speed on day one of flying mine, I've since been very careful to keep the rotors turning and never dared to throttle back very much. Is a dead stick descent a sensible manoeuvre to try with the Panther? If so, any tips on how best to approach it?

Trevor

Steve Jones 226/06/2014 21:39:04
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581 forum posts
423 photos

Trevor,

I have done a couple with another due to it throwing its prop.

For what its worth I would suggest the key basic thing is the trade of height vs rotor speed. Its so tempting to pull back to control the decent speed and float in.... this will kill head speed I think....

On my 2, like my helis I allowed the model to drop quickly, allowing air up thro the rotor, spinning it up. As it aproached the ground so back stick created a curved approach and forward motion to a lovely fair and touch down, converting the rotor speed into lift and forward flight.

One thing to remember in the flair and back stick - go easy as you only get one go !!!

Other more experienced auto pilots will comment so take all on board and good luck

Steve

Richard Harris26/06/2014 22:39:20
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2168 forum posts
2013 photos

Trevor,

Dead stick landings are good fun, with the Panther you will need to push the nose down to keep energy in the rotors like Steve mentions. The hardest part is the flare and timing it just right, wait until a foot or so off the ground.

I knew I had a video of me doing it somewhere so I put a search on youtube for panther autogyro, I was go smacked at the amount of videos out there!

I found this one, the dead stick decent starts around 2.26, see how close I leave the flare out?

Let us know how it goes?

Rich

Trevor27/06/2014 08:31:35
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442 forum posts
57 photos

Thanks Steve and Rich. When I first flew the Panther it took me a while to realise that, whereas with a fixed wing aircraft pushing forward on the elevator is a good way to preserve airspeed, with a gyro, with power on at least, pushing the nose down tends to reduce rotor speed. Having learned this lesson the hard way, I've now got to take on board that, with no power available, pushing forward is once again the right thing to do, because we need to maintain forward speed in the absence of thrust.

I was struck by the rapid descent rate during your autorotation Rich. It seems to me that, because we haven't got control over the blade pitch as in a heli, the energy storage in the descent is as much in the kinetic energy of the descending craft as it is in the blades. Pulling back on the stick at the last minute then puts that energy into the blades. So, if we put a rev counter on the rotor, I'm guessing that the blade rpm would briefly increase as you begin the flare whereas on a heli it would decrease as positive pitch is applied to harvest the energy stored in the blades.

I'd be interested to hear whether any of this speculation is anywhere near right!

At a more pragmatic level, I guess that practising steep low-throttle descents and flare outs would be a wise step before trying a full dead stick landing.


Trevor

Keith Edis06/07/2014 19:15:48
1 forum posts

Many thanks to the organisers and flyers at the 2014 Winterton Autogyro meet! Particular thanks to Ian for his help and support over the last few months, resulting in him successfully test flying my Panther on Saturday.

Also thanks to Richard ('The Fireman' for his help and comments on the day.

I'm looking forward to flying the Panther out for myself now!

-Keith

Richard Harris04/08/2014 20:03:14
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2168 forum posts
2013 photos

Noticed this on Ebay, absolute bargain?

PANTHER

Grant Webb31/05/2015 04:43:48
26 forum posts
15 photos

Hi guys.

I've been hiding out and lurking for the past several months, following various 'gyro builds with growing interest, to the point that I just had to give it a go myself.

Thought I'd share a few photos of my endeavours - it has flown, albeit very briefly. During a test taxi it got airborne by mistake and got to approximately 10 mtrs high before I safely got it back down.

Very next taxi one of the rotor pushrods came loose and the model veered offline after gaining about a mtr altitude before settling back in on it's nose - broke one blade.

I hadn't made a spare so I deemed it better to make a new full set, this time with a spare.

As yet it's still to have a proper flight in anger.

Cheers,

Grant.

Tauranga, New Zealand.panther3a.jpgpanther2a.jpg

George Elliott22/01/2016 16:40:19
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12 forum posts

Hi Rich,

Better late than never!

I enjoy flying the Atom so much I had to try the Panther and I haven't been disappointed. As you hopefully will see from the video made by my flying buddy, the rotors spin up very easily and the take-off is very gentle. Flying is just as good but landing with my present trimming and experience is far from the finished article.

This was my third flight, the first two being short trials, after which I added more weight to the nose, as the Panther seemed to drop its tail and wallow as speed was reduced for landing. This is obviously not the whole story, even given my lack of experience, since the third landing was the worst of the lot. I have now reduced the back disc angle at neutral elevator stick slightly. I had to remove a little of the material at the core of the mast at the top to allow more downward pitch of the head.

I'm hoping this will make landing more straight forward, and more like the Atom.

I can only repeat what others have said : that the Panther is another great design.

PS I am about to start work on a RPG.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPvIH5NB2uU

Richard Harris22/01/2016 17:12:47
avatar
2168 forum posts
2013 photos

George (or shall we call you Gyro George),

Nice flying and well edited video, what's the ground handling like on the hard surface?

You video gives the perfect example on how to get rotors up to speed, I may well borrow it in the futurewink 2

You will like the RPG, just stick to the write up and all will be fine. It is quite an old design now and the Panther blades will probably work just as well on it (if not better) with the same plate and shim set up.

Here is your video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPvIH5NB2uU
Rich
Richard Harris22/01/2016 17:15:00
avatar
2168 forum posts
2013 photos

Mods,

For some reason the video won't display when copy and pasting the embed code, any ideas?

 

Thanks

 

Rich

Edited By Richard Harris on 22/01/2016 17:15:26

George Elliott22/01/2016 19:07:33
avatar
12 forum posts

Hi Rich,

Thanks for your kind compliments.

I have put a tail wheel on the Panther instead of a skid. I did this as a result of my experience with the Atom on our rough tarmac surface, since the skid tended to allow the Atom to vere off course due, I think, to the lack of ground purchase at the tail.

You are very welcome to use the footage in any way to further the cause!

George

Richard Harris02/06/2016 09:21:18
avatar
2168 forum posts
2013 photos

Gents,

I have been building a 4th Panther for a friend which is just about ready for covering, I know that a few of you have added steerable tail wheels, is there any chance you could pop a few photos up of your installations please?

Also, I seem to recollect that a few installed the rudder servo into the tail end, have there been any detrimental effects to the CG in doing this (this would save me a trip up to the model shop to purchase a snake)?

On a last note DB Sport and Scale seem to have stopped dural strips for U/C's, any links or guidance to a supplier please? I recollect Nogin end metals at the shows but dural was a bit thin on the ground with them. I could make up a piano wire version as a last resort of course but much prefer aluminium.

Thank you

Rich

Steve Jones 202/06/2016 09:37:15
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581 forum posts
423 photos

Hi Rich, away on hols til Friday when I will take pics and post to you

Steve

Steve Jones 202/06/2016 09:37:18
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581 forum posts
423 photos

Hi Rich, away on hols til Friday when I will take pics and post to you

Steve

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