Rotorcraft 10 2011

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Rotorcraft 10 2011
Rotors!
Now
PRA President
Scott Lewis
Rotorcraft Editor
Rick Gilley
That’s
Flying
by Rick Gilley
Contributing Editors
and Photographers
Greg Goebel
Tim O'Connor
Michael McKiernan
Rotorcraft Editor
Chapter Coordinator
Dave Bacon
This month's issue of Rotorcraft is my first in about two
years and it is good to be back.
As always the transition from one editor to another has
been slower and more difficult than we expected. By the time
the next issue of Rotorcraft hits your inbox it should be all
worked out.
I would like to thank former editor Paul Plack for working
so hard for us to make this transition as painless as possible.
Paul's dedication to the PRA and our sport over the last few
years has indeed been a benefit to us all.
In case you missed it this years PRA convention was the
biggest and best we have seen in many years. As a result of
that we have a backlog of great photos we will share with you
over the next few issues.
Next years celebration of our 50th anniversary promises
to be even better so start making plans now to make it our
biggest ever!
PRA Office Manager
Jane Feldman
Have Fun and Fly Safe
Rick
Technical Editor
Doug Riley
Historical Editor
Dr. Bruce Charnov
Regulatory Committee
Chris Burgess, CFI
Gary Goldsberry, CFI
Tim O'Connor, CFI
Paul Plack
PRA Headquarters
PO Box 68
Mentone, IN 46539
Phone: (574) 353-7227
Fax: (574) 353-7021
www.pra.org
E-Mail: [email protected]
On the cover:
The late Paul Kovac
flying his Volkswagon
powered Bensen Gyrocopter
PAGE 2
SEPT.- OCT. 2011 ROTORCRAFT
In This Issue
Rotors Now Thats Flying ...2
Members Showcase ...........3
Into the Sunset .................4
The Flying Pogos .............. 6
Mentone 2011Showcase..14
Officers & Directors ........ 4
CFI Directory ................. 6
Chapter Directory ......... 8
Members Showcase
In this months Members Showcase we have PRA’s official
Chaplain Dewey Young. We first met Dewey several years ago when
he was a Gyro “Wanna-Be” serving in Iraq. As you can see Dewey
has come a long way since those days. The second photo is Dewey’s
ever present sidekick and mentor Mr. Wayne Hubbs who appears to
be “Flying to the Moon”
Event Calendar ............ 3
Advertiser Index ........... 11
Rotorcraft Marketplace .. 12
Event Calendar
2012
Bensen Days (PRA) (R)
Apr 4-8, Wauchula, FL (Info)
Wauchula Municipal (KCHN)
CRA (PRA 38) Fly-In (R)
Meadow Lake Airport (KFLY)
May 19 (Info)
Rotors Over The Rockies (R)
UT Rotorcraft Assoc. (URA)
Jun 7-9, Brigham, UT (Info)
EAA AirVenture (G) (Info)
Wittman Regional (KOSH)
Oshkosh WI, Jul 23-29
PRA Annual Conv. (PRA) (R)
PRA Mentone Airport (C92)
Mentone, IN, Jul 31 - Aug 4
SEPT.- OCT. 2011 ROTORCRAFT
PAGE 3
Officers & Directors
Scott Lewis, President
10175 SW Green Ridge La.
Palm City, FL 34990
(561) 718-3922
Tim O'Connor, Vice Pres.
4230 Barton Drive
Batavia, OH 45103
(513) 477-4488
Robert Rymer, Treasurer
3583 Leadmine Valley Rd SW
Cleveland, TN 37311
(423) 479-8460
Stan Foster, Secretary
1680 E State Route 9
Paxton, IL 60957
(217) 379-2376
Doug Barker
738 East 425 South
Layton, UT 84041
(801) 444-3736
Duane Hunn
12296 West 600 South
Mentone, IN 46539
(219) 682-6228
Tom Milton
3441 Washington
Lansing, IL 60438
(708) 895-0398
Matt Novotney
12615 Gibson St.
Crown Point, IN 46307
(708) 670-7451
Rick Whittridge
1290 North Broad St.
Fairborn, OH 45324
(937) 878-2598
PAGE 4
Into The
Sunset
Rotorcraft
Pioneer
Paul Kovac
PAUL KOVAC - A Pilot's Pilot,
Expert Metal Worker and
Engineer of Custom Parts
When I first met Paul, I was amazed. He would accomplish tasks that to most were impossible. Paul's skill level in
his trade and experience in fabrication gave him the vision to
make from scratch, any aircraft part he desired. A few of the
many of his accomplishments include custom, flush rivet
rotor blades with the coning angle built into the attachment
blocks, rotor head, flexible cable pre-rotor, carb heat box,
engine mount, instrument panel, frame attachment blocks,
the list is endless.
Paul fabricated a B-7 gyrocopter from plans. (The B-7 is
all round tube for your new folks.)
Not only could he build, Paul taught himself to fly using
the completed gyro in towed flight and progressed to power
flight with his custom-built VW engine. There were no flight
instructors in the 1960's. He just did it!
I flew with Paul for years or should I say I flew far behind
him. He would arrive at the next grass strip 10 minutes
before me, come back to find me and show me new airports.
Paul's average cruise speed was 85-90 MPH - WOW! My
72 HP, B-80 wasn't even close in speed. It didn't matter, we
just had fun and I learned al lot from being with him. Thank
you, Paul!
A very good friend, mentor and just an all around great
guy. I will miss his pleasant voice. I would say, "That can't
be done". Paul would say, "Sure it can, watch".
by Michael McKiernan
PRA# 15232
SEPT.- OCT. 2011 ROTORCRAFT
SEPT.- OCT. 2011 ROTORCRAFT
PAGE 5
Gyroplane CFIs
The following instructors are PRA
members.This list is provided as a
convenience for readers, and does
not constitute an endorsement of
any instructor, aircraft, syllabus or
training enterprise by PRA. (Aircraft
listed in parentheses are
available for instruction.)
Arkansas
Ron Menzie (501) 766-6456
2715 S Main St
Searcy, AR 72143
(SparrowHawk, Parsons, RAF)
The Flying Pogos
There was considerable interest in vertical takeoff &
landing (VTOL) aircraft following World War II, resulting in a
staggering range of different designs, not all them inspiring
much confidence. One of the more dubious approaches to
VTOL in that era was the "pogo" or "tailsitter", an aircraft that
would take off and land standing on its tail. Following up on
unbuilt concepts proposed by the Germans during the war,
both the Americans and French built pogo demonstrators,
with both deciding it wasn't a good idea. This document provides a short history of the flying pogos.
Arizona
Terry Brandt (602) 739-0554
11423 W Citrus Grove
Avondale, AZ 85392
Florida
Dofin Fritts (850) 587-2504
Brewton Muni Airport AL 12J
Pensacola, FL
(251) 867-9446
Robert Martian (772) 546-7335
8011 SE Helen Terrace
Hobe Sound, FL 33455
(Marchetti)
Glen Garrick (386) 479-4838
635 Forest Lane
Deland, FL 32724 (RAF)
Georgia
Steve McGowan (478) 461-1451
2725 Herbert Small Airport Rd
Macon, GA 31217
(SparrowHawk, Parsons)
Illinois
Don Randle (217) 414-0108
513 South 6th St.
Petersburg, IL 62675
Chuck Roberg (630) 983-7625
614 Bunker Hill Ct
Naperville, IL 60540
Indiana
Gary Goldsberry (317) 996-2487
1181 W SR 42
Mooresville, IN 46158
(Twinstarr)
Silas Smith (219) 374-4604
11709 W 117th St
Cedar Lake, IN 46303
(Marchetti)
John Snider (812) 890-8257
10000 S Horrall Rd
Vincennes, IN 47591 (RAF)
The idea of the "flying pogo" -- an aircraft that took
off and landed standing vertically on its tail -- goes back to
World War II at least. As the war tilted ever more painfully
against the Nazis, the Germans found the skies over the
Reich increasingly dominated by Allied air power,
Continued
PAGE 6
SEPT.- OCT. 2011 ROTORCRAFT
Maryland
Chris Burgess (301) 668-4124
527 Sylvan Ct.
Frederick, MD 21703 (SnoBird)
Robert L. Snyder
60 W Earleigh Heights Rd.
Severna Park, MD 21146
(Calidus, MTOSport)
Michigan
Duane Hunn (219) 682-6228
6835 Janes Road
Saginaw. MI 48601
New York
Jim Logan (516) 746-3427
163 Primrose Rd.
Williston Park, NY 11596 (RAF)
Ohio
Ed Newbold (614) 207-3909
5657 Balkin Pl.
Columbus, OH 43231
(Modified RAF)
Tim O'Connor
4230 Barton Drive
Batavia, OH 45103
(513) 477-4488
Oklahoma
Paul Patterson (405) 826-8443
1405 Cedar Ridge Rd
Edmond, OK 73013 (RAF)
Pennsylvania
James Nadig (724) 458-4665
PO Box 724
Grove City, PA 16127 (RAF)
South Carolina
Gary Neal (864) 583-4319
320 Bryant Rd
Spartanburg, SC 29303 (RAF)
Tennessee
Larry Banks (931) 260-3032
Crossville, TN
Texas
Henry Foster (214) 692-0727
7777 Royal Lane
Dallas, TX 75230
Trains at Olney, TX Airport
(Mod. RAF, SparrowHawk, Air
Cmd)
Utah
Michael Burton (801) 794-3434
Spanish Fork, UT
SEPT.- OCT. 2011 ROTORCRAFT
with airfields bombed and shot up on a regular basis.
Obviously, it might be nice to have combat aircraft that could
take off and land anywhere.
In late 1944, Heinkel engineers working in Vienna drew
up a design for the "Wespe (Wasp)", a pogo interceptor with
a length of 6.2 meters (20 feet 4 inches), a tripod tail
arrangement with wheels on the tips of the fins, and a "annular" (ring) wing with small auxiliary flat wing stubs and the
prop rotating inside the wing. The Wespe was to be powered
by the Heinkel S021 turboprop, a derivative of the Heinkel
S011 turbojet, and was to be armed with twin MK 108 30 millimeter cannon. Top speed was estimated at almost 800 KPH
(500 MPH).
The Wespe was a lost cause from the outset: the He
S011 turbojet never reached production, and as it would be
learned later, getting turboprops to work was not as easy as
jet engine pioneers assumed early on. In early 1945, work
moved on to a new design, the "Lerche (Skylark)", which had
the same armament and general configuration as the Wespe
but was instead powered by twin Daimler-Benz DB605D
water-cooled inline vee engines mounted in tandem in the
fuselage and driving contra-rotating props inside the annular
wing.
Another difference from the Wespe
was that the pilot lay
prone in the Lerche
instead of sitting in a
seat -- which meant
the pilot stood straight
up when taking off or
landing, allowing him
to look down and
around more easily.
The Lerche was also
somewhat bigger, with
a length of 9.4 meters
(30 feet 10 inches) but
could still attain 800
KPH (500 MPH), at
least on paper. The
design of the Lerche reached the point where a prototype
could have been built, but given the desperation of the
German Reich's circumstances in the spring of 1945, there
was no way it could have happened.
The Wespe and Lerche were imaginative, but they were
still not quite in the same league as another pogo concept
developed by the Focke-Wulf company, the "Triebfluegel
(Powered Wing)". The Triebfluegel featured three straight
wings mounted on a rotating ring in the aircraft's midsection,
Continued
PAGE 7
PRA Chapters
Arizona
#15 Arizona Rotorcraft Club
Britta Penca
(520) 840-0951
Arkansas
#6 Mid-South Rotorcraft Club
Thom Francis
(870) 403-2888
with each wing tipped by a Pabst ramjet; various booster
schemes were considered to get the rotating wing up to
speed so the ramjets would start. The pilot could rotate the
wings so that the ramjets were pointed almost level to the
plane of rotation of the wings, in principle allowing the aircraft
to hover, or pivot the ramjets forward to provide thrust for
forward flight.
California
#1 Ken Brock Rotorcraft Assoc.
Terry Smith, President
#31 San Diego Rotorcraft Club
Dave Bacon, (760) 941-3266
#58 Sierra Rotorcraft Club
Jim Burrow (925) 449-4855
Colorado
#38 Colorado Rotorcraft Assoc.
Mark Shook
(719) 683-3062
Florida
#26 Sunstate Wing & Rotor
Club
Scott Lewis
(561) 718-3922
Georgia
#56 Peach State Rotorcraft
Lewis Gulley
(706) 232-6299
Illinois
#18 Greater Midwest Rotorcraft
Club - Tom Milton
(708) 895-0398
#25 North IL-South WI
Rotorcraft
Mike McKiernan
(847) 638-4840
#35 Saint Louis Rotorcraft Club
Mark Greene
(309) 287-1470
Focke-Wulf began development of the Triebfluegel in
September 1944. Projected speed was 1,000 KPH (620 MPH),
with a rate of climb of 7,620 meters (25,000 feet) per minute,
and the aircraft was to have been armed with two MG 151 20
millimeter cannon and two MK 103 30 millimeter cannon. A
wind tunnel model and the ramjets were tested, but no
Triebfluegel prototype was ever completed. It is something of
a pity that it was never built, not because it seems to have
been a bright idea -- it more suggests the inclination of
German engineering to be too clever for its own good -- but
because it leaves the question unanswered as to whether it
could have ever actually been made to work.
The Germans never had a chance to prove the pogo
concept, but in the postwar period, work continued on the
idea. The US Navy became interested in the concept of operating aircraft off of small vessels instead of aircraft carriers,
and in 1950 the service began a competition to obtain VTOL
demonstrators to evaluate the concept. Convair, Goodyear,
Lockheed, Martin, and Northrop all submitted designs; two
finalists were selected to build prototypes, with Lockheed to
provide the "XFV-1", and Convair to provide the "XFY-1".
The Lockheed XFV-1 was the first to take to the air. It
was a cigar-shaped aircraft with straight, tapered wings, plus
an "X" arrangement tail, the four tailfins being at 45 degree
PAGE 8
SEPT.- OCT. 2011 ROTORCRAFT
PRA Chapters
Indiana
#34 Indiana Rotorcraft Assoc
Sue Goldsberry
(317) 996-2487
#36 Wendell Knight Gyro Club
Cynthia Sanders
(765) 795-3489
#81 Mentone Aero Club
Bernard Ernst
(574) 633-4675
PRA Chapters
Kansas
#75 Wichita Wing & Rotor Club
Jim Sampson
(316) 685-3430
Louisiana
#20 Pelican State Rotorcraft
Bill Wieger
(318) 640-5656
Michigan
#77 West Michigan Rotorcraft
Wes Clements
(616) 225-0200
#32 Bay Area Rotorcraft Club
Brian Anthony
(517) 777-7617
angles relative to the wings, with small wheels on each of the
four tailfins. It was powered by an Allison T40 turboprop,
which was a "twinpack" engine consisting of two T38 turboprop engines coupled together to drive a Curtiss Electric contrarotating propeller system, featuring three paddle blades on
each of the two prop stages. The pilot sat on an ejection seat
that could tilt forward to provide a better view in vertical
takeoffs and landings. Control in vertical flight was by the
control surfaces on the tailfin; the 45-degree configuration
was to prevent the tailfins from being aerodynamically
masked by the wings. The aircraft was nicknamed the
"Salmon" after Lockheed test pilot Herman Salmon.
The demonstrator was not armed; planned armament
consisted of a pod on each wingtip with twin 20 millimeter
cannon, for a total of four cannon. It appears the unusual
wingtip armament scheme was driven by the impracticality of
developing synchronizing gear to allow the cannon to fire
through the contrarotating prop assembly. Wingtip pods carrying a total of 48 unguided rockets were also considered as
alternate armament. A special trolley was developed to allow
the Salmon to be carted around on the ground. The trolley
could set the aircraft to the vertical position for a takeoff and
then, mission complete, tilt it back on the level again.
However, for test flights the XFV-1 was fitted with fixed
landing gear for conventional horizontal takeoffs, since
nobody thought it wise to try to take off and land vertically
until the aircraft had been thoroughly evaluated. Besides, the
aircraft's XT40-A-6 engine, which provided 4,365 kW (5,850
SHP) takeoff power, didn't provide enough power to support
the weight of the XFV-1 in straight-up flight. The intent was
to later update the aircraft to the XT40-A-16 variant, with
5,090 kW (6,825 SHP), for full flight tests.
#63 Central MI Gyroplane Club
Kurt Pochert
(810) 632-7830
#36 Wendell Knight Gyro Club
Cynthia Sanders
(765) 795-3489
#70 Maumee Valley Rotorcraft
Michael L. Marckel
(260) 316-4022
Minnesota
#17 Minnesota Rotorcraft Club
Brent Bruns
(612) 802-1210
SEPT.- OCT. 2011 ROTORCRAFT
Initial flight was in March 1954, with a total of 27
flights performed in that year.
Continued
PAGE 9
PRA Chapters
Missouri
#35 Saint Louis Rotorcraft Club
John Wohaska
(636) 296-7188
#67 Mid-America Rotorcraft
Craig Tompkins
(816) 618-3840
Nebraska
#12 Nebraska Rotorcraft Club
Warren Hale
New Hampshire
#39 Yankee Rotors
John Christopher
(603) 744-6232
New Jersey
#14 North Jersey Rotorcraft
Ralf Schumann
(201) 652-6294
Ohio
#19 Buckeye Rotorheads
Brad Dutton
(330) 767-1019
#40 Cincinnati Rotorcraft
Assoc.
Scott Biser
(513) 383-5046
Oregon
#73 Great NW Sport Rotorcraft
Robert Johnson
(503) 665-4449
Pennsylvania
#4 West Penn Rotorcraft Club
James Nadig
South Carolina
#13 SC / GA Rotorcraft Club
John C. Magnan
(706) 547-3607
PAGE 10
By the fall of 1954, the Salmon was performing horizontal-tovertical transitions in flight and the reverse at altitudes above
about 300 meters (1,000 feet). The transitions could be performed, but once the XFV-1 was flying vertically it was almost
impossible to control, tending to stagger around drunkenly
while the pilot barely knew if he was rising or falling; a radar
altimeter could have helped determine altitude, but it was difficult to make one of sufficient accuracy and light weight. The
reliability of the T-40 engine system and the electrically-actuated contraprop system also left something to be desired.
Lockheed's Clarence "Kelly" Johnson had been enthusiastic about the pogo concept at first, but gradually came to
see it as a bad notion, calling it "the only airplane we ever
built which we were afraid to fly ourselves in the final tests."
More engine power would have done little to address the controllability issues, and the thought of landing such an aircraft
on a ship on the open seas was clearly absurd. Nobody ever
tried to take off or land vertically in the XFV-1.
The Convair XFY-1 was also powered by the XT40-A-16
twinpack engine and had a contrarotating prop with three
blades on each stage. It had a distinctly different configuration, with delta wings and both dorsal and ventral tailfins,
with small caster wheels sticking out from the ends. As in the
XFV-1, the Convair's pilot seat could tilt forward, and armament was to be four 20 millimeter cannon or 48 unguided
rockets in wingtip pods.
A special trolley
was built to haul
the
XFY-1
around. The ventral tailfin was
trimmed at the
tip, apparently to
ease
ground
handling;
it
could also in
principle be jettisoned to permit
a belly landing.
However,
the
ventral fin meant
that the XFY-1
couldn't take off
horizontally as a
normal practice,
and so the test
flights had to
feature vertical
takeoffs
and
landings
from
the beginning. That was seen as risky, so initial test flights
were performed on a tether winched from the roof of the
huge blimp hangar at Moffett Field in the San Francisco Bay
Area. These initial tethered flights, performed by test pilot
SEPT.- OCT. 2011 ROTORCRAFT
Texas
#62 Lone Star Rotorcraft Club
Steve Weir
(832) 457-1785
#78 Texas Rotorcraft Assoc.
Bob Stark
(940) 564-2938
Utah
#2 PRA Chapter 2
Doug Barker
(801) 444-3736
Virginia
#22 Nat'l Capital Rotorcraft
Club
"Buck" Buchanan
(703) 250-4868
Puerto Rico
#60 Puerto Rico Rotor Club
Charles D. Peterson
(787) 460-6820
International Chapters
France
#28 Autogyre St. Ciers
Charente
Eric Changeur
Moulin du Chatelard, Puyreaux
Charente France F-16230
Japan
#79
Akira Ishikawa
2-1-11 Tsujido-Taheidai
Fujisawa 251, Japan
Advertiser Index
Perkins Powered Parachutes...5
Rotor Flight Dynamics...........3
SEPT.- OCT. 2011 ROTORCRAFT
James F. "Skeets" Coleman, began in April 1954. The
blimp shed was far from an optimum trials environment,
since the confined downwash created turbulence and kicked
up dust and debris; noise levels were deafening as well. If
Coleman became insecure, he could cut the engine and tell
the winch operator: "Catch me!"
Happily, Coleman didn't kill himself, and he made the
first free flight -- a hop up and back down again -- on 1
August 1954. After extending the envelope, on 2 November
1954 Coleman performed what has been described as the
first VTOL flight in history, taking off vertically, flying around
horizontally, and then landing vertically. Nitpickers may argue
over whether it was really was the first, but it was enough to
win Coleman the Harmon Trophy.
Landing vertically was of course an extreme challenge,
with Coleman assisted by ground observers watching his
progress and reporting his altitude. Coleman actually thought
it would be relatively straightforward if he were given prone
accommodations -- landing while standing up and looking
down, not over his shoulder -- but the final judgement was
that it wouldn't be worth the bother to try it out. Another test
pilot, Johnny Knebel, also took a shot at flying the XFY-1,
relying on a briefing from Coleman and not bothering with
tethered flights; apparently Knebel's flight was interesting if
hair-raising to watch, demonstrating that it wasn't a good
idea to skip the tethered flights after all.
It didn't take long to realize that as it stood, the naval
pogo fighter concept was a bust. Even if the takeoff/landing
scheme had been workable, the brute-force approach
demanded a big engine in a minimally light airframe, and the
result was poor payload and low fuel capacity. The XFY-1
effort was canceled along with the XFV-1 in 1955. Apparently
the program had envisioned multiple prototypes of both aircraft, but only one was built of each; both survive as museum displays.
Incidentally, sketches survive of the unbuilt Northrop
submission to the competition, the "N-63"; it looked a bit like
the Lockheed XFV-1, but with straight wings in a shallow
"vee' configuration, set well back and featuring wingtip pods;
a small dorsal tailfin; and a large ventral tailfin with a tee
tailplane.
The Navy also initiated work on a jet pogo, the Ryan
"X-13". The Navy got this bright idea in 1946, and awarded a
contract to Ryan for two prototypes of the "Model 38", as the
company designated the design, in 1947. Ryan began by
developing a ground test rig, built around an Allison J33 turbojet engine and operated under remote control, which then
evolved into a tethered test rig that had a cockpit for a pilot,
provided by a modified Boeing B-47 external tank.
The next step was a free-flying prototype. The Navy
backed out of the effort in 1953, but the Air Force picked up
the program, which by that time had been given the company designation of "Model 69" and service designation of "X13".
Continued
PAGE 11
Gyros For Sale
AIR COMMAND - 214 hours
TT. Single-place w/ pod,
extended keel, Rotax 503, dual
carbs, CDI ignition. New Sport
Copter 23'-x-7" rotor blades,
PowerFin prop. N6149H,
registered E-LSA, logs and
paperwork in order. $9,000
firm. Britta, 520-840-0951.
RAF 2000, 2002 model with
carbureted Subaru engine.
70% complete, latest blades
still in box. Bright yellow, horiz.
stabilizers which have not been
installed. Medical issues have
forced this offering.
Jeffersonville,
IN. $24,500. (812) 2828832 or cell (502) 299-8832.
1992 RAF 2000 - Never
flown. Professionally-built EA82 Subaru. N-numbered, 99%
complete. Canary yellow.
Wonderful opportunity, upstate
NY. $13,500. (518) 642-9288.
DOMINATOR - 2007, N514RK.
175 TTSN, new engine has 50
hrs, SPFI, Delta cam, milled
heads, stainless valves and
springs, stainless steel straight
pipes w/ mufflers, 90-100 hp
and very easy to maintain. 26'
Dragon Wings. FAA#. $19,500.
Robert, (252) 342-0535 or
[email protected]
BENSEN STYLE GYRO$6,900. Drop-keel, refurbished.
Knight Hawke 22' alum. blades
in good shape. Subaru EA-81,
Warp Drive three-blade prop.
Prerotator is electric, main
wheels are 12" with good
brakes. Will be sold as parts.
(Not registered and no Nnumber.)
Partial assembly,
liability release required.
Contact Michael V. Perdue,
Marion, VA. (276) 782-7889.
PAGE 12
Two prototypes were built, powered by a non-afterburning
Rolls-Royce Avon RA.28 turbojet providing 44.5 kN (4,535
kgp / 10,000 lbf) thrust. The X-13 was a stubby aircraft, with
a high-mounted delta wing, finlets on the wingtips, and a
very tall tailfin. It was much smaller than the Lockheed and
Convair pogos, with only half the empty weight, there being
no thought of using it as an operational system. The exhaust
was moveable to provide vertical pitch and yaw control, while
engine bleed jets in the wingtips provided roll control. The
seat tilted forward to provide a better view in vertical flight.
Initial flight of the first prototype was on 10 December
1955, with Ryan test pilot Pete Girard at the controls. The X13 took off and landed horizontally using an improvised
external frame fitted with landing gear. Test flights in this
configuration gradually extended to transitions to vertical and
back to horizontal. The prototype was then fitted with a
wheeled tail fixture called the "roller skate" for vertical takeoff and landing hops. The first vertical test hop was on 28 May
1956, again with Girard at the controls. The second prototype
also went into flight tests at that time, once again initially
with fixed landing gear. The second prototype had a slightly
modified canopy to provide a better field of view.
The "definitive" takeoff and landing scheme of
the X-13 featured the aircraft fitted with a nose
hook and carried on a special trailer. A truck took the
trailer to the launch area;
the pilot got in, and then
the
trailer
bed
was
hydraulically jacked up to
the vertical position, with a
cab where a ground crewman could monitor the
takeoff and landing. The
hook on the X-13 engaged
a trapeze that swung out
from the top of the erected
trailer bed. The first complete flight using this
scheme,
from
vertical
takeoff to horizontal flight
to vertical landing, was on
11 April 1957.
The X-13 program
was well managed and went fairly smoothly. Test pilots actually seem to have become fairly comfortable with vertical
takeoffs and landings, and several demonstration flights were
performed through the year, including flights in Washington
DC. However, on closer inspection the X-13 suffered from the
same problems as the other pogos: the vertical takeoff /
landing scheme was operationally impractical, and the payload-range capability was poor.
Continued
SEPT.- OCT. 2011 ROTORCRAFT
Gyros For Sale
Bensen gyrocopter clone project.
Includes complete frame, joystick,
control rods and hub that will
accept pre rotator. Calumet Air
seat tank and pre rotator.
Newly rebuilt Great Plains Aviation
VW type 1 1899cc 69hp, Deitz
conv. Kit. Empi hi-perf. heads,
Mikuni 2bb carb. 0 hours on top
end, turned by hand only. Many
extras. Prefer to sell complete. Will
consider any reas. offer. Will send
dig. pics on request Scott 314495-4311.
Parts For Sale
AUTOFLIGHT PSRU 2.6:1
less than one hour operation
$2550. Mufflers 2 independent
cans w/black powder coating
$495. Crankshaft pulley
aluminum by Tech Welding
$100. Eexternal mount oil
filter/hose and fittings includes
oil pan with boss for oil lines
$80. ECM and wiring harness
by Outfront motor sports (no
O2 sensor needed) $1395.
Engine cradle, aluminum,
circular, RAF design $300.
Pics available. Greg Bradley
[email protected] com,
(816) 651-8828 cell.
WARP DRIVE 3 bladed prop
for RAF2000, $700. Power
upgrade required larger prop.
Eddie, (575) 835-4921.
FOUR GYRO AIRFRAMES Gyrobee, Bensen tow trainer,
Subaru, Brock. Bensen blades
set. 3-ft hub bar. Rotax 447.
Two seat tanks. Gyrobee,
Bensen, Brock, Hydro plans.
PRA magazines and much
more. Big price cut, need to
sell ASAP or trade for clean
2000 or newer small to midsize
Chevy PU or SUV. $4995.
(817) 573-3376 or e-mail
[email protected]
SEPT.- OCT. 2011 ROTORCRAFT
The program was killed off in 1958, with both prototypes surviving as museum displays.
The French Societe Nationale d'Etude et Construction
de Moteurs d'Aviation (SNECMA) worked on a jet pogo fighter in parallel with American efforts. The idea was to develop
an interceptor with an annular wing that could take off vertically to engage intruders on a quick-response basis; it was
conceptually along the lines of a recoverable surface-to-air
missile.
SNECMA began by building a pulsejet-powered model
about the size of a trashbin that performed indoor tethered
tests in 1955 and 1956. A pulsejet is a simple tube with a
shutter in front in which fuel is ignited on a pulsed basis, with
the shutter slamming shut in response. It's much like a ramjet, but unlike a ramjet can generate static thrust. A pulsejet
lacks rotating parts and so has no gyroscopic action as does
a turbojet, a feature that was seen as providing better controllability. A pulsejet is of course on the noisy side and pictures of the model in flight show the audience holding hands
firmly on the ears.
The next step was a full-size demonstration machine,
built around the SNECMA Atar turbojet. The "C400 P1 Atar
Volant (Flying Atar)" was nothing but an Atar in a cylinder
with four-point, caster-tipped landing gear on the base of the
cylinder. It was "flown" by remote control on a tether under a
tall girder A-frame; it had a "vectored thrust" exhaust using
deflector vanes to allow it to maintain flight control under the
care of an autostablization system. Flight tests of the C400 P1
began in 1955 and were completed in early 1957.
The C400 P1 never made any free flights. It was followed by the "C400 P2", which was much the same, but had
an ejection seat and a control panel for a pilot mounted at the
top. Test pilot Auguste Morel performed the first free flight on
the C400 P2 on 14 May 1957. It was one of the most frightening-looking flying machines ever built, and it remains
something of a surprise that anybody was willing to fly it. It
did have an autostabilization system, however, and wasn't so
hard to handle, partly because it couldn't be used for forward
flight.
The C400 P2 was to be followed by "C400 P3" that
added a real cockpit, but though one was built it never flew,
being used for ground tests. Efforts moved on to a much
more sophisticated prototype, the "C405 Coleoptere" -- the
word translating generally as "beetle". It had a jet-fightertype fuselage with an Atar engine in the rear, fed by sidemounted intakes, with windows added to the sides and bottom of the cockpit along with the canopy on top to improve
the view of the pilot.
One of the amazing things about the 1950s pogo aircraft experiments was the fact that these machines had no
automated flight systems, being controlled by sheer pilot
skill, and so it is surprising that there were so few accidents.
Greg Goebel
PAGE 13
Mentone 2011 Showcase
Come Join Us Next Year!
PAGE 14
SEPT.- OCT. 2011 ROTORCRAFT
SEPT.- OCT. 2011 ROTORCRAFT
PAGE 15

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