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        Discussion Using Gyros on an RC airplane

#1 Melnic Apr 17, 2009 03:54 PM

Using Gyros on an RC airplane
 
EDIT:
(I was not the first to do this, I saw someone do this before me in a 1/4 scale SR22 back in 1992)

NOTE: This first post is several years old and contained some out dated information. Before asking questions, PLEASE check out this
HOW TO page:
INSTALLING GYROS IN AN AIRPLANE
OK, on to some of the original post ....

I want to start a thread on how to use an Electronic Gyro for stabilizing an RC airplane. I've used Gyros now on and off since 1994. My first attempt was when I wanted to fly my Midwest Aerostar Trainer in high winds. I had been flying Helicopters for 2-3 years at that point and airplanes for about 5 years and had a spare mechanical rate gyro. Being a somewhat knowledgable Helicopter pilot at the time, I felt I knew how to get it working w/ no help so I put it on the ailerons of my trainer that had one servo for the ailerons. Aligned the gyro w/ the roll axis and was off and running. I set a somewhat low gain of 30% and the airplane was SOO much more stable in the wind. I would plug the gyro inline w/ the aileron servo ONLY when the winds were 15mph or higher. Up to that point, the wind never bothered me. It also helped training my wife so the airplane would not have unwanted roll movements in the wind. After a 8 year pause in the hobby, In 2008 I got a foamie Electric (Sapac Extra 330L foamie). It did not do well in the wind being so light. I placed a spare GWS rate gyro that I had on it and voila, very stable in the winds. Here is a link:
Gyro on a Foamy Electric Sapac 330L (4 min 24 sec)


I flew this gyro on this plane all that summer and some during the winter. I was constantly quizzed at how stable the plane was in the wind when others w/ .40 and .60 sized nitros decided not to fly due to the wind. 15-20mph was not that bad for a .40-.60 plane in my opinion but I can see how some of the less experianced pilots get intimidated by it fearing the wing tiping over on landing.

I have spent some time messing w/ all the gyros I had from my helicopters recently and came up w/ some information I want to pass along:

Video of the gyro movement on the bench:
GWS Gyro Install (0 min 15 sec)


If you have questions, please post.
If you have run a gyro before PLEASE PLEASE post any info you have for others to learn from your experiance!

Gyro on a HawkSKy
Hawksky gyro install with Esky 704 gyro (14 min 21 sec)


3 Axis Gyro on a small Airfoilz profile foamie in high winds (watch the flag at the end of the video)
3 gyros on a Small foamie in 15mph wind with gusts (2 min 6 sec)


DX6i gyro setup
DX6i Airplane Gyro setup with $15 GY48V (13 min 33 sec)

#2 biskit Apr 18, 2009 01:39 AM

I used a cheap esky gyro on the yaw axis of a 3DHS extra 300 shp to help myself figure out how to hover. The yaw axis for some reason always got away from me. Put the gyro on and it was easy. I turned the gain down bit by bit and after maybe a dozen or two flights I could easily hover it without the gyro. Not sure if it actually helped me learn any faster, but it sure did work well.

#3 rich smith Apr 18, 2009 02:43 AM

Thank you for that excellent introduction to the topic. I have experimented with raw accelerometers and also have a couple Esky gyros but never tried working with them. Your post has motivated me to pull them off the shelf and give 'em a go on my foamies.

#4 Wilit run? 353 Apr 18, 2009 05:13 AM

I think Im gonna put a gyro in my MPX fox, the trouble is it needs it on the rudder and ailerons

#5 Melnic Apr 18, 2009 06:28 AM

I forgot the exact link but I recall Futaba had some info on gyros talking about torque rolling. I've seen ducted fan jets that had them on the nose wheel for take off.

#6 Wilit run? 353 Apr 18, 2009 06:54 AM

the Extras covering in the second video looks very wrinkeled. Are you sure thats ok? best to run over it with an iron

#7 Melnic Apr 18, 2009 04:16 PM

That is a Junker foamie I got 2nd hand on ebay. The covering is either painted on or adhesive stickers. The wrinkles probably came from sitting in the original owner's basement too long or on the boat comming from overseas. Darn thing flies though!

#8 omj624p Apr 19, 2009 08:06 AM

Thanks for the information, it's not something I had considered until now. I'm mostly a heli pilot but also fly planes, but it's always too windy! 5 to 10mph is too much for me usually.

I've just ordered a gyro - lets hope it helps me enough to be able to fly :-)

Once again, thanks!

Steve

#9 Xpress.. Apr 19, 2009 11:14 AM

I don't get why people want machines to fly their planes rather than learn to fly their planes on their own. Yeah gyros can stabilize planes in winds, but you shouldn't be flying in those winds if your plane gets blown around. Good idea for larger planes if you're new to them, but not practical for small foamies, where lightweight is key to performance ;)

#10 rich smith Apr 19, 2009 12:40 PM

Some high performance planes and helis are literally impossible for human to control and need assistance. As far as wind it might be nice fly when nobody else can.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Xpress..
I don't get why people want machines to fly their planes rather than learn to fly their planes on their own. Yeah gyros can stabilize planes in winds, but you shouldn't be flying in those winds if your plane gets blown around. Good idea for larger planes if you're new to them, but not practical for small foamies, where lightweight is key to performance ;)


#11 Shpook Apr 19, 2009 01:10 PM

And gyros are good for AP also.

#12 Xpress.. Apr 19, 2009 01:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rich smith
Some high performance planes and helis are literally impossible for human to control and need assistance. As far as wind it might be nice fly when nobody else can.

Helis I know you need one, but for planes? Even pylon racers I haven't seen one used on and be practical.

#13 rich smith Apr 19, 2009 01:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Xpress..
Helis I know you need one, but for planes? Even pylon racers I haven't seen one used on and be practical.

I agree it's rare but did see a scale SR-71 Blackbird that absolutely required gyro. He destroyed 2 before learning the hard way that nobody could fly it without. Kind like the full size one in that respect.

#14 JIMBOJONES Apr 19, 2009 04:55 PM

A buddy of mine has a gyro on the Elevator of his GWS cub that he uses to train his and my 6 year old daughters.

It makes it a super stable easy flyer, not that it needed it, but it made it a better performer for the kids.

#15 Melnic Apr 19, 2009 07:01 PM

My work in adding a gyro is to stabilize them in high winds that would normally ground either the plane or the pilot. The plane I show in the video is totally NASTY to fly in winds above 10mph. If you have a small plane that is a park flyer or a larger plane that you want to fly in the wind and not FIGHT it, then I totally believe based on my experiance that a simple rate gyro can help. I have seen MANY people at my field pack up and go home from just 15MPH winds. Not everyone can afford to buy larger and larger planes. $50 investment is what I'm proposing. Bypass it when it's not windy if needed. I fly during lunch hours usally and I don't have much time. That's why I fly mostly electric helicopters and small foamies. My 100+" Carden Laughes at the wind but just taking it out, setting it up and packing it up takes most of my lunch time. I totally believe there is a niche use for gyros and all that is needed is education for those folks.


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