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Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

Old 06-02-2012, 08:28 PM
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smithcreek
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Default Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

I don't remember how I ran across this video:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4vLyc2MZdM[/youtube]

but after seeing it I searched around for more information on the Pitcairn Autogiros. One of the other videos I found was this and I was hooked:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV_Su6Fvkz8[/youtube]

Once I found out this model was available as a short kit from Whirlybird Aviation I knew what my summer project would be. I ordered the short kit, ordered the rest of the wood and supplies and got to work last week. The kit has been great. The parts fit together perfectly and the quality of the wood and laser cutting is excellent. Anyway, here's a few pictures to catch up to where I'm am in the build process.

I built the fuse frame and tail feathers, mounter the engine, servos and control horns. Next up is the center section of the wing, once I mount that to the fuse I can add all the formers and stringers on the fuse.

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Old 06-03-2012, 06:12 AM
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N1EDM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

I loved the videos - they brought back some memories. As you can tell from my avatar, I was once a Naval Aircrewman. When we would taxi out to take off from NAS Willow Grove, PA (outside Philadelphia) we would pass a machine shop that was on the other side of the fence from the runway. You could still read in faded letters on the rear of the building "Pitcairn Auto Gyro". It was on the edge of a then-civilian airstrip. Apparently this was the same field that Amelia Earhart used when she took an autogyro to 18,000+ feet to set a womans world altitude record - at least, that's my assumption. The airstrip was purchased by the US Navy in WWII and converted to NAS Willow Grove.

It was always a bit of a treat to taxi past this little bit of history. I thought I'd also include this photo of a May 1988 cover from RC Modeler as well. I'll be lurking in the background watching the build.

Enjoy the build. Do you have a covering scheme picked out for it yet?

Bob
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Old 06-03-2012, 07:16 PM
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smithcreek
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

I never knew Amelia Earhart flew an autogiro until I got interested in this model. She flew one with a Beech Gum logo. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. Over on RC Groups there are a number of threads on this kit and most of the historically correct and cool looking schemes including both Beech Gum schemes and the Champion, have been done. I'm leaning towards just making up a scheme that would fit the era. The colors will be main color black, secondary color red, trim gold. I like the idea of a company logo, been tossing around Victor records with the "His Master's Voice" dog listening to the record player. I've got a while to figure that out.

I wonder if that Miss Champion on the cover ever flew. Did the article mention it?

Made the center wing section and mounted it on the fuse, started putting formers on and called it a day when I realized I need to sand and shape the tail feathers and glue them in place before putting the top stringers on.

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Old 06-03-2012, 10:54 PM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

Subscribing
Old 06-04-2012, 05:51 AM
  #5  
Steveibrc
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

I am definitely going to be watching this build!  Always been fascinated by the Pitcairn in general and in particular whether a model of it is a practical flyer..........So good luck.  You have an audience on this one for sure
Old 06-04-2012, 03:25 PM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

interesting build, sent a email to find out more on the kit
Old 06-04-2012, 05:35 PM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

The description in the Index said that this was the only flyable PCA-2 left in existence. There was a 4-page article on a chap who was building a 1/4 Scale model of it. There is some history of the PCA-2 and autogyros in the article, but perhaps nothing that you didn't already know. Still, I included it here (if it will upload) in case anyone else would like to read a little more about it.

It says that the file uploaded successfully, so see if you can download and read it....

Bob
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:50 PM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

Thanks for that article. I've seen the picture on the cover a few times but never the full article. A couple months ago the only autogyros I knew were the ones they fly nowadays. I had seen a few pictures of the old ones in Juptners, but until I saw that video of the PA-18 flying I hadn't really thought much about them or modeling one. There's a few videos of the real Miss Champion flying on youtube. It's on display now at the AirVenture Museum.

Eagledancer, I did not get any email, try a pm.
Old 06-05-2012, 05:04 PM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

Do you recall an old homebuilt called a Bensen Gyrocopter? I'll have to see if there's anything on the web about it.

I'll skulk into the background and lurk as I watch the build.

Glad that you enjoyed the article.

Bob
Old 06-05-2012, 05:46 PM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

That's crazy cool. Sub'd!
Old 06-06-2012, 08:42 AM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation


ORIGINAL: Rv7garage

That's crazy cool. Sub'd!
That's what I thought when I saw the video of the real one! I showed my wife and she said it "looks like something from Dr. Suess" which is the perfect way to describe it. Here's a couple pics to update.
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Old 06-07-2012, 04:02 AM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

smithcreek, I am curious as to your gyrocopter background

Have you flown one before ? Is this model suitable for a builder that has never flown one, but has extensive fixed wing flying experience ?

You are doing a great job on your build !
Old 06-07-2012, 04:15 AM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

There's a chap, not far from me, who used to own a Bensen. .. with a big McCullough engine.

I've a feeling that the breed was prohibited from flight in the UK, following a series of fatalities.


I had a single-rotor autogyro model, myself, a few years ago. PT-25.

It was easy to fly, esp from a hand-launch. Not so easy to master landings and take-off, though. Many's the time it rolled over on the ground, owing to my duff piloting.
Old 06-07-2012, 05:28 AM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation


ORIGINAL: TomCrump

smithcreek, I am curious as to your gyrocopter background

Have you flown one before ? Is this model suitable for a builder that has never flown one, but has extensive fixed wing flying experience ?

You are doing a great job on your build !
Answer to the first question, never. Answer to the second question, I'm going to find out. I'll give a detailed answer once I actually try to fly it. This is going to be a quick build, so it shouldn't be too long before I can give an answer.
Old 06-07-2012, 06:08 AM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

If someone wants to build and fly a model autogiro for the first time, you might want to check out the Twirl twin rotor model. The kit has good instructions and the build is pretty straight forward. The best news is the Twirl flew very well on the maiden flight. Here is the link, you have to scroll down to the "Twirl" autogiro.
http://www.lightflite.com/
Old 06-07-2012, 11:21 AM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

I think the Twirl is a great flying autogyro and if you want to go bigger with the twin rotors go with a gyrace which Bob Holman sells a great short kit.

But with the PCA-2 with Whirlybird Aviation, I own two. The twirl and gyrace you can pretty well give it full power and she'll take off. The single rotors take more patience.

The nice thing with PCA-2 is there is a wing to watch so loosing orientation is not an issue really. The bad things with this model are the following:

1. You have to make sure you do lots of hops before you commit yourself into the air. The head is fixed like the original so if it's out of trim.....left or right, or too much lift or not enough, you have to correct it in the head.
2. The bigger they are the better they fly....however the harder they crash!
3. Torque! If you but a mondo brushless motor on this beast you are going to have issues. Best to have a low pitch prop or a four stroke engine with a big prop.
4. Rudder is your friend. At slow speeds, ailerons are pointless....just like the real deal!


The best thing I can tell someone flying these bigger models (anything with a blade diameter over 4 feet) is fly it low and hop it to the end of the field. Dont' take off...just bring it back down slowly and retrim and then take off again.

Well keep up the good work building!

Here's some hops to think about!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM3Z3miUmm4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DFmBrlun3g
Old 06-07-2012, 01:02 PM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

The fuselage is looking rel good. I love the shape of the vertical stab/rudder. Keep it up!
Old 06-12-2012, 08:53 PM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

I finished the wing this evening. Went together nice. The ailerons are done, just not in the picture. Lots of shaping, planing and sanding, but in the end it's one of the things that gives this aircraft it's unique look.

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Old 06-13-2012, 02:44 PM
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smithcreek
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

Landing gear mostly done. The guys designing this came up with a great idea on the faux struts. The weight is supported on the front and back wire, the brass tubes running up to the wing that simulate the struts are just for show and I think they look great. As much as I would have like to have done functional ones, keeping it simple never looked so good. The only thing I did was use 3/16" wire for the front legs instead of the 5/32 on the plan. I still need to add some cross support wires that go between all four legs where they bend in the middle.

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Old 06-13-2012, 04:17 PM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

These pics are making me drool. I hope we will see a flight video when this is all over!
Old 06-13-2012, 07:04 PM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

ORIGINAL: Rv7garage

These pics are making me drool. I hope we will see a flight video when this is all over!
There will be a video of me trying to fly it, that's all I can promise. Finished the center on the landing gear.

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Old 06-16-2012, 03:34 PM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

Made the mast today. Cut the lawn and too windy to fly, so I spent an otherwise beautiful Saturday bending and soldering wire with a little swearing tossed in for fun. The plans call for the mast to have four degrees back tilt but no left/right tilt. Joe Cole (jodini from the post above) did the prototype build and a second electric version found that after flying, adjusting and trimming the rotor head they both have 2-4 degrees of left tilt. I put three degrees left in mine while building along with the standard four degrees back tilt.

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Old 06-17-2012, 06:02 PM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

Hi, Smithcreek. Your build looks great I have a built up whirlybirds PCA-2. I didn't build it - acquired it at an estate sale.I have everything but the rotor head.When you get to that portion of the build, can you post some pictures? Regards, John R.
Old 06-18-2012, 06:51 AM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

ORIGINAL: geoardsog5

Hi, Smithcreek. Your build looks great I have a built up whirlybirds PCA-2. I didn't build it - acquired it at an estate sale.I have everything but the rotor head.When you get to that portion of the build, can you post some pictures? Regards, John R.
Jodini that posted above is Joe Cole of Whirleybird, so a pm or email to him would be your best bet. The head is a gearbox from an electric motor. You can buy or make your own if you know what you are doing, or go with Whirleybird's suggestion on their website. It's made by Astroflite, I forget the model number, 710 I think?

Finished the bottom of the fuse, made a belly pan and put the balsa block in between the wing and cowl. I'm not sure how I'll hold the belly pan on. May glue it on and cut out slots for the landing gear or screw it on.



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Old 06-19-2012, 01:15 PM
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Default RE: Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogiro by Whirlybird Aviation

Looking good David!
Yes...the astroflite 710 is what I used mostly. The 703 will also work, but I like to have four holes just in case I have to shim things to the left or right. The 703 only has 2 holes to hold it in place.

Yes, contact me at [email protected] if you guys are interested in the kit, plans or if you acquired one and you need help setting it up. I know there are a lot of PCA-2s out there and hope guys are having fun flying them. I know we have one in the UK flying around, on in Canada buzzing the field, my two and Dave in Jersey! Would like to know who else has been flying them around!

Keep up the good work David! Where those good looking blades you made!?
Joe

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