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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here is a link to my Dad flying his Bensen B8M gyrocopter. The autogyro (proper name actually) pre-dates helicopters. It has a rotorblade like a chopper, no wings but there is no power going to the rotorblade. The engine powers the pusher style propeller at that gives you forward movement, the rotorblade basically windmills from the forward movement, thus providing lift. If the engine dies, no biggie it is always in auto-rotation and will glide somewhat if you know what ur doing. While my bike will go about 60mph faster, he doesn't have to dodge cagers or even follow the road. And I can't get my bike 15,000 ft in the air without a 15,000 foot hill haha. This is a long video guys, about 30 min. But check it out and see what you guys think. It has a 2-stroke 4 cyl. opposed McCulloch 4318A that makes 72HP and around 300ft lbs. of thrust. They used these engines in the 1940's to 1960's USAF drones. Yep the first ones, that they used for target practice. Might try my hand at learning to fly it this summer. My Dad loves teaching people how to fly, guess I'll give it a try. What the hell... Worst that could happen is I kill myself, if I screw up. Nothing I worry about, dangerous just like riding motorcycles or crossing the street. Anyways I'll quit flapping my lips and here is that video from last fall. If you like the vids, sub and I'll have a ton more up this summer.

In-flight video of my Dad's Bensen B8M gyrocopter over Schoolcraft, MI - YouTube
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
That would be fun. Do you have to have a license or anything?
Well technically yes. But if you do not put an enclosure on it the FAA will usually let you slide and consider it an ultralight. An ultralight is supposed to weigh 254lbs. or less. But since these are almost impossible to build one that weighs 254 and still be safe, they let it slide for safety reasons. My Dad has no license, nor will I. We call it an ultralight even though it weighs 290 lbs...
 

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Thats awesome man. Ive been up in my uncle's float plane but these autogyros have always facinated me.

I have an older McCulloch 2-stroke outboard boat engine no idea if its the same company or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thats awesome man. Ive been up in my uncle's float plane but these autogyros have always facinated me.

I have an older McCulloch 2-stroke outboard boat engine no idea if its the same company or not.
Cool! Yeah it sure is the same company. They used to make all sorts of small engines. Boats, Planes, chainsaws, just about everything they made an engine for. I believe they were in California, near LA. Not sure when they sold out to and moved all the factories to China though = (... Chances are that your outboard engine was made here since its a 2-stroke, they made damn good stuff when they were in the USA...
 

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Get some pics up!
 

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My father in law wants one of those so bad! Although he nearly cut his fingers off with a table saw, so I can imagine what he would chop up with one of those.
 

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That looks like so much fun. I want one...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Doubt that thing makes it to 15,000 feet without some sort of forced induction and perhaps clever work of taking advantage of updrafts.

Sweet vid.
Maximum altitude depends on the amount of oxygen at any given altitude for combustion, you are correct. And of course that varies with the altitude ASL (above sea level), around here we are 800-900 ASL. I do know a guy who got to 17K feet with the same engine when he lived out in Arizona. It's possible, but when your sitting out in the open most people don't venture too much above 2,000 ft. And by the time you get that high, you are almost going to be out of fuel. Too many aircraft up that high, and who would want to get hit by a jet going 300-500 mph, or even a Cessna going slower, not me... They aren't very visible to other aircraft. Kind of like motorcycles aren't noticed by cars, gyros aren't noticed by planes either. Gyros are known for low and slow. Generally my Dad cruises around 55-65 mph. It will go 100+, but the faster you go, the less lift you get. And at high speeds they are known to get you killed pretty damn fast. They do what is called a PPO (powered push-over). Which is basically you went too fast or added too much power too fast. You lose lift and the nose points down, once that happens the rotorblades generally hit the prop and/or tail, and it comes apart (the rotorblade). Once that happens you might as well be a rock, because you lost your wing, and at this point you will most likely die whether at thousands of feet, or hundreds of feet. I knew a guy from Erie, MI. that didn't have a lock pin in his spindle bolt, and he is now dead. This happened a few years ago. The spindle bolt holds the rotorblade on, through the bearing that the rotor spins on. He lost his whole rotorblade when the nut came off the bolt, and fell 200 ft. to his death. It broke every bone in his body. He was a very nice guy, and unfortunately his girlfriend witnessed the whole thing. He built the gyro and he was selling it, doing a demo for the guy that was going to buy it. He forgot to put a $1.00 cotter pin in that spindle bolt. You absolutely have to inspect those two bolts (spindle and teeter bolt) that hold the rotorblade on every time you fly, if not, this is what can happen. Its sad, but it happens. People that fly them know all this, and its dangerous just like anything else with an engine. But your chances of dying are much greater if you get in a hurry and skip your pre-flight inspection as he did...
 

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Cool! Yeah it sure is the same company. They used to make all sorts of small engines. Boats, Planes, chainsaws, just about everything they made an engine for. I believe they were in California, near LA. Not sure when they sold out to and moved all the factories to China though = (... Chances are that your outboard engine was made here since its a 2-stroke, they made damn good stuff when they were in the USA...
It was a cool little motor just a 7.5 hp but it had electric start which is very uncommon for the size and year (late '70s model). I got it in a group buy with a couple other small boat engines. They were all Johnsons and Evinrudes and I remember wondering what the hell that weird looking white one was
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It was a cool little motor just a 7.5 hp but it had electric start which is very uncommon for the size and year (late '70s model). I got it in a group buy with a couple other small boat engines. They were all Johnsons and Evinrudes and I remember wondering what the hell that weird looking white one was

Yeah that is weird for an outboard engine being that small and having electric start. Used to be a boat mechanic and I can't remember seeing any of those engines. Alot of Evinrude, Johnson, Mercury, etc. but never worked on one of those.
 

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Maximum altitude depends on the amount of oxygen at any given altitude for combustion, you are correct. And of course that varies with the altitude ASL (above sea level), around here we are 800-900 ASL. I do know a guy who got to 17K feet with the same engine when he lived out in Arizona. It's possible, but when your sitting out in the open most people don't venture too much above 2,000 ft. And by the time you get that high, you are almost going to be out of fuel. Too many aircraft up that high, and who would want to get hit by a jet going 300-500 mph, or even a Cessna going slower, not me... They aren't very visible to other aircraft. Kind of like motorcycles aren't noticed by cars, gyros aren't noticed by planes either. Gyros are known for low and slow. Generally my Dad cruises around 55-65 mph. It will go 100+, but the faster you go, the less lift you get. And at high speeds they are known to get you killed pretty damn fast. They do what is called a PPO (powered push-over). Which is basically you went too fast or added too much power too fast. You lose lift and the nose points down, once that happens the rotorblades generally hit the prop and/or tail, and it comes apart (the rotorblade). Once that happens you might as well be a rock, because you lost your wing, and at this point you will most likely die whether at thousands of feet, or hundreds of feet. I knew a guy from Erie, MI. that didn't have a lock pin in his spindle bolt, and he is now dead. This happened a few years ago. The spindle bolt holds the rotorblade on, through the bearing that the rotor spins on. He lost his whole rotorblade when the nut came off the bolt, and fell 200 ft. to his death. It broke every bone in his body. He was a very nice guy, and unfortunately his girlfriend witnessed the whole thing. He built the gyro and he was selling it, doing a demo for the guy that was going to buy it. He forgot to put a $1.00 cotter pin in that spindle bolt. You absolutely have to inspect those two bolts (spindle and teeter bolt) that hold the rotorblade on every time you fly, if not, this is what can happen. Its sad, but it happens. People that fly them know all this, and its dangerous just like anything else with an engine. But your chances of dying are much greater if you get in a hurry and skip your pre-flight inspection as he did...
:bigthumb:

I would not fly anything I built. :laugh

Sad story.
 
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