How many ways are there of getting off the ground?
May 9, 2013 11:35 PM   Subscribe

I've been taking an interest in model helicopter design, but I don't want to build a quadrotor. I want to make something a bit more unique. Looking around, I've found some really bizarre options, things like Flettner aircraft ("the flying paint roller"). I'd like to know just how many options for heavier than air flight there are.

Another weird one: the cyclogyro (field test).

Wikipedia will only get me so far. It'll tell me about things I know to look for, like helicopter variants (tail-rotor, tandem, co-axial, multicopter, monocopter, what else?). I'd like to know if there are any obscure helicopter sub-categories or bizarre variations. Peculiar fixed wing designs might be interesting. I'd also like to know about any really nonstandard types of aircraft like Flettners and cyclogyros.

Here's a specific question: what is this? I have no idea what it is or why it doesn't fall down and I would like to know. It's maker calls it a rotationsflugkoerper but I can't read his German-language explanation and the English I've found is vague. Is that strange spinning geometry actually generating lift? How?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Could that be a variant of a ring wing?
posted by XMLicious at 12:17 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's the autogyro. And flying hovercraft, of course. Along with the overclocked and generic lawnmower.

Is that strange spinning geometry actually generating lift?
Combination of ring-wing lift and just airscrew thrust? Model plane engines being what they are, you can glue onto a balsawood brick and make it fly.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:29 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've always been fond of the eggbeater helicopter design, with two intermeshing rotors on axes of rotation that are at a slight angle to each other.
posted by ckape at 2:05 PM on May 10, 2013


ckape - that would be the tandem helicopter. It looks fiendishly difficult to get the transmission right. You really don't want the rotors to get out of synch.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:34 PM on May 10, 2013


Actually, I'm pretty sure that a tandem is the classic flying banana style with one lifting rotor at the front of the craft and another lifting rotor at the rear of the craft at a different height where they are not intermeshing at all. Generally tandem refers to having two items front to back.

And yes, I know they're difficult to pull off. The fact that it looks like it'll tear itself apart without actually tearing itself apart is all part of the charm.
posted by ckape at 2:50 PM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The tandem is also something like the Kaman K-Max, where the two rotor hubs are only separated by a few feet and the rotors are angled to pass by/through each other.

It's not a complex drive, though, you just mesh them with a gear. They have to counter-rotate anyway, and (to a basic approximation) you control a helicopter by varying blade pitch, not rotor speed, so you tie them to a single motor and forget about it.
posted by straw at 7:40 AM on May 11, 2013


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