Tandem Radial Tractor Composite Gyroplane (2016)

Before I started this project, I received flight training in several different gyroplanes to better understand the differences in handling and performance. Of all the aircraft that I have ever flown, gyro flying has by far been the most enjoyable flying experience.  The intent of this project was to build a one-off, stable/docile, open, two place, gyro with good visibility for fun local flying and short cross country flights. I started my configuration study by benchmarking my basic layout against 15 other gyros for comparison.

Michael Fuchs Gyroplane
Michael Fuchs Gyroplane

During the design process, I checked 82 different weight and balance scenarios and iteratively refined the configuration to establish as little CG movement as reasonably possible.  The structure was monolithic carbon fiber/epoxy/Divinycell with localized fiberglass and Kevlar buildups. There were also localized carbon unidirectional tow reinforcements. The horizontal stabilizer was epoxy/fiberlass/polystyrene with unidirectional pultruded carbon fiber spar caps. The fuselage tooling method was a seamless composite shell molded over a removable CNC milled foam male tool.

The vertical and horizontal tail volumes compared well against other benchmarked tractor gyros. The vertical stabilizer and rudder were positioned in the cleanest air available on the underside of the fuselage. The intent was to maximize yaw stability with the nose raised at high power and minimize spiraling-slipstream turn/roll tendencies.

I compared 44 different engines for this application in the 85-150 hp range, and I decided to go with the Rotec Radial R2800 swinging a 76×57 Culver wood prop.  The overall gyro design was based around the R2800 from the beginning.  The rotor was intended to be a RFD 28 ft aluminum rotor with RFD double-bearing rotor head.

The gyro is now being finished by a gyro enthusiast in Oregon.