Profiles give Gyrocopter a lift

It’s not a plane and it’s not a helicopter. The gyrocopter, or autogyro, is sort of a mix of both – only much cheaper. You can park the popular AutoGyro MT-03 on your own driveway for “just” 50,000 euro.

Like an aeroplane, an autogyro is powered by a propeller; but the autogyro has no wings. Instead, it is fitted with a rotor blade that is turned by the headwind and updraughts, giving good lift even at low speeds.

Some differences between a gyrocopter and a helicopter are that the gyro doesn’t need a tail rotor (which keeps the helicopter from spinning round) and that the gyrocopter can’t do a vertical takeoff – although in a headwind it only needs a takeoff run of ten metres. A “prerotator” is used to pick up the rotor speed to 250 RPM.

The vital rotor on the AutoGyro MT-03is manufactured by HTC/AutoGyro in Hildesheim in Germany, and this is where Sapa comes into the picture. The rotor blade is made of two aluminium sections, each four metres long.

Designing the sections was a technical challenge. Their walls are just 1.1 millimetres thick, but very strong, and able to handle high vertical stresses without twisting.

“They also have a very asymmetrical profile. But we worked with the Sapa in Belgium and succeeded in creating a geometric shape that met all the requirements,” says Michael Brodam, who is responsible for application & design engineering at Sapa in Düsseldorf.

The MT-03 is described as safe and relatively easy to learn to fly. The standard version costs just over 50,000 euro. Add to that the cost of obtaining a UL-B flight certificate, about 5,000 euro. The little flying machine is easy to load on a trailer and park in a regular garage.

Rotor blades made from aluminium profiles.

Extract from Sapa Group’s Shape magazine.
Visit www.sapagroup.com/uk/profiles to download the latest copy