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  1. #1
    Gary Morris's Avatar
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    New XPG Autogyro Maiden Flight Report

    On Thursday, I finally got a chance to fly my new XPG Autogyro produced by Dan Schuartz of Foamfly.com and I must say it was a 100% success. Lets back up a few days to the construction stage. The weekend before last, two weeks ago I started building my XPG Autogyro thinking it would be a very easy half day project. Wrong, it took me over 12 hours to finish the kit, mostly because I wanted to paint mine and it took lots of time for the paint to dry. The kit is all laser cut parts and I'd say it's sort of the old Benson design, in that it's a pusher with rudder and no rear elevator. The head uses a very nicely made ball joint so that it can swivel all around and up and down. The head uses two servos, I used HS-55's, to act as aileron and elevator. Using the Spektrum DX-7 radio I selected what Spektrum calls Delta mixing. Delta mixing mixes the elevator and aileron much like V-Tail mixing but used the elevator and aileron channels instead of the elevator rudder channels. This allows you to still have a working rudder for nose wheel steering on the ground and rudder for in the air. One very nice feature is the pre-rotor Dan offers as and option in the kit. It uses a GWS motor and gearing and the main gear is drilled out and a very nice one-way bearing is installed by the builder. This allows the pre-rotor to spin up the blades and once it's up to speed you shut off the motor and the blades just free wheel. This allows very short take-offs, sometimes less than 5 feet! You just have to be careful that you don't pull back on the stick too soon or you'll be airborne without enough rotor speed which of course can be disastrous! Back to the kit, it uses a third servo, another HS-55 to control the rudder and nose wheel steering. Three nice large foam wheels give it good ground handling and very good protection from unwanted tip-overs. The all up weight is about 16 ounces give or take. I used a 1300 mAh 3-Cell Lipo pack rated at 13 C for the included 125 Watt class brushless outrunner motor. The pre-rotor requires a 2-5 amp brushed speed controller to operate the pre-rotor. I also used a slow-down module so that the pre-rotor wouldn't start up to fast and torque the XPG into circles. The included brushless motor has lots of power, more than enough for it's size but enough to get you out of trouble if need be. Now back to the maiden, the wind was blowing between 5-10 with and occasional gust to 20, not the best conditions for testing a new model. But, throwing caution to the wind I spun up the pre-rotor to full speed, pushed the throttle to the max and off she went. Within 10 feet she was airborne and climbing like a proverbial home sick Angel. I found the controls to be super sensitive especially on aileron so after a few circuits I landed and reduced the throws to 85%. I also setup 15% Expo on aileron and elevator. The next flight was much better however the winds were now blowing a steady 15 MPH. I tried some short landings, reducing power and letting the little XPG settle slowly. The only problem doing that is when you reduce the throttle a lot, the controls start to get mushy as the rotor speed decays. You have to keep jockeying the throttle to keep her under control and right before touchdown you need to apply power and flair. If your coordination is off you'll be rewarded with a hard landing, not a pretty sight. If you can get your coordination right you'll flair and make a nice soft 3-point landing. After a few flight I had a minor tip-over, totally my fault and I pulled back prematurely once on take-off and nearly looped the little XPG. Fortunately with all the extra power of the motor I pushed the nose down and flew out of it. All in all the little XPG is a ton of fun to fly. If you decide not to paint her she will go together really fast. If you do decide to paint her, plan on 1/2 a day to paint and let it all dry. The cost of the kit minus the pre-rotor is $150.00. This may seem high but when you consider that it's a limited production kit, and includes good hardware, good illustrated instructions and photo's, it's not really a bad deal. Now, here are a few pictures of the little XPG.

    Gary Morris
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    Gary Morris
    Your attitude is your altitude!

  2. #2
    AeroBalsa Mike's Avatar
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    RE: New XPG Autogyro Maiden Flight Report

    Gary,

    Congrats! That exciting stuff. Thanks for sharing all the great info and pics.
    Mike Smith
    AeroBalsa Solid Wood Airfoils

  3. #3
    Gary Morris's Avatar
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    RE: New XPG Autogyro Maiden Flight Report

    Thank you too, and thanks for providing such nice balsa blades for the kit, they work beautifully! I am just waiting on another opportunity to fly the XPG, it's so much fun. Seems all my other recent projects aren't getting as much attention lately as the XPG. Now that I'm a full fledged Autogryo pilot it seems I'm reading more about them and finding that they are a special breed all by their selves. I wish I had the time to try and develop one myself but that won't be anytime soon. If anyone is teetering on the fence about buying the XPG don't teeter any longer, get off the fence and buy one, they are loads of fun to build and fly!

    Gary Morris
    Gary Morris
    Your attitude is your altitude!

  4. #4
    Gary Morris's Avatar
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    RE: New XPG Autogyro Maiden Flight Report

    I had another flight on my XPG yesterday, winds were 5-15 and gusty, temperature was in the low 40's. I had a total of three flights and lost orientation twice while flying my XPG. It seems that when it's flying towards you it's really hard to tell whether it's coming or going. I added a profile pilot figure and figured that would help with orientation but it doesn't. I fly helicopters often and find that keeping orientation is much easier, I guess it's because of the thicker fuselage and tail boom. I wonder if anyone else has the same problem?

    Gary Morris
    Hobby-Lobby, Intl.
    Gary Morris
    Your attitude is your altitude!

  5. #5

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    RE: New XPG Autogyro Maiden Flight Report

    Hi Gary, Seems like I saw some pix of the XPG with a nose fairing, on the FoamFly website.....any more news on this model, modifications, or videos of prerotation in action ?? How thick is the rotor flex plate ?? Is it polypropylene ? Thanx, Charlie Anderson


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