HobbyKing Super-G Autogyro
|Rotor Diameter:||42.5" (1080mm) with electronically controlled automatic start|
|Weight:||58.2 oz (1650g)|
|Construction:||Expanded polyolefin airframe and wheel pants; carbon fiber tail reinforcement boom and horizontal stabilizer spar; lite ply battery tray and auto-start frame; aluminum main landing gear; steel pushrods, auto-start shaft and tail wheel assembly; nylon propeller with plastic spinner; plastic coated foam main rotor blades; plastic main rotor head and fulcrum; plastic wheels with foam tires|
|Center of Gravity:||16.3" (415mm) from tip of nose|
|Servos:||Two HK 17g metal gear; two HK 9g with gear train material not specified|
|Transmitter:||Hitec Optic 6 Sport six-channel 2.4GHz computerized aircraft|
|Receiver:||Hitec Optima 6 six-channel 2.4GHz AFHSS spread spectrum|
|Battery:||ZIPPY Flightmax 3000mAh 4S 30C lithium polymer with XT60 connector and JST-XH balancing plug|
|Motor:||HobbyKing 3648 brushless outrunner; 850Kv|
|Propeller:||10x7E standard rotation|
|ESC:||HobbyKing 50A brushless|
|Operator Skill Level/Age:||Advanced; 14+|
|Price (USD):||$146.01 - $193.04 depending on warehouse location plus shipping and applicable tax|
Every so often, something with an almost unbelievable "wow factor" makes its way onto these pages.
It's my pleasure to present just such a something.
The HobbyKing Super-G PNF Autogyro is a large-scale, all-EPO model with semi-scale looks and an innovative automatic start system for the main rotor. Advertised on HobbyKing as the "bigger, badder brother of the Durafly Auto-G2," the Super-G gets its power from a HobbyKing 3648 850Kv outrunner spinning a 10x7 standard rotation prop in a rear-mounted tractor configuration. All of that marvelous thrust gets the Super-G's 42.5" (1080mm) three-bladed main rotor freewheeling in the wind; the automatic start system is designed to aid in faster takeoffs and straighter ground tracking. The result is equally marvelous lift as well as an almost incomparable visual punch.
Since the propeller is out back, the rotor is on top and there's a whole bunch of room under the canopy, there's the potential for using the Super-G as an FPV platform. HobbyKing has that covered with an optional lite ply FPV camera mounting platform for under ten bucks. It can be ordered here through the international warehouse.
I should jump ahead and point out that I wound up crashing on the maiden shakedown cruise and without video. This is the first time this has happened in my nearly ten years with RCGroups.com and yes, it was due to a common autogyro pilot error. It's also the reason I'm splitting this review into two parts. HobbyKing's John Bartram gave his blessing for me to proceed without a customary RCGroups.com video and John has promised both a replacement Super-G for video and a detailed flight report along with a new Durafly Auto-G2 which I can use for practice.
Though the maiden flight was all too brief, I'll jump ahead once more to say that I was incredibly impressed by this model.
The Super-G is truly different and it's my pleasure to review it.
An autogyro (from Greek α’υτός + γύρος, self-turning), also known as a gyroplane, gyrocopter or rotaplane, is a type of rotorcraft which uses an unpowered rotor in autorotation to develop lift and an engine-powered propeller, similar to that of a fixed-wing aircraft, to provide thrust. While similar to a helicopter rotor in appearance, the autogyro's rotor must have air flowing through the rotor disc to generate rotation. Invented by Spanish engineer Juan de la Cierva as an aircraft that could fly safely at slow speeds, the autogyro was first flown on January 9, 1923 at Cuatro Vientos Airfield in Madrid. De la Cierva's aircraft resembled the fixed-wing aircraft of the day, with a front-mounted engine and propeller in a tractor configuration to pull the aircraft through the air.
Perhaps the best known autogyro of all time is Little Nellie. This is a Ken Wallis WA-116 single-seat autogyro flown by Wallis in the 1967 James Bond motion picture, You Only Live Twice. Wallis, an RAF wing commander in WWII and perhaps the world's preeminent authority on autogyros, owned and frequently flew Little Nellie until his death in 2013.
In April 2015, a mailman from Ruskin, Florida landed an single-seat autogyro on the grounds of the United States Capitol to protest political corruption due to money and special interests. Doug Hughes brought with him 535 letters, one for each member of Congress, asking for campaign finance reform.
Here's Little Nellie in action in the movie:
|Little Nellie (You Only Live Twice) (4 min 41 sec)|
Here, Commander Wallis demonstrates the start-up and operation of another of his autogyros:
|Ken Wallis prepares & flies one of his autogyros (1 min 18 sec)|
In this Associated Press video, a tourist captures the moment of Hughes's touchdown on the Capitol lawn:
|AP EXCLUSIVE: Witness Captures Capitol Landing (1 min 36 sec)|
(Sources: Wikipedia, NBC News)
The following comes with the Super-G:
Needed to complete the model:
During my correspondence with HobbyKing over the last couple of years, we discussed the ongoing developments in improved quality control, products and documentation and my initial impression showed solid improvements in all three areas.
The contents came securely packaged in the beautifully printed display box and those contents were indeed impressive. The pre-decorated EPO parts were beautifully molded and smoothly finished. The Super-G is, as far as I'm concerned, one of the best models of theirs I've ever seen in terms of initial quality impressions, perhaps even the best.
RCGroups.com member Paul Susbauer blogged about his experience as an American working overseas with HobbyKing to help develop the model. Per our private message conversations, Paul even went so far as to recommend changes in the molds to improve the aerodynamics of the final product.
All of the airframe parts are bagged as well. No loose parts flopping around inside the box!
Perhaps most importantly, Paul is largely responsible for the instruction manual. The instructions are clear, concise and, of course, completely free of the dreaded machine translated English save for a couple of minor typos on the cover. It's very much in the vein of the beautiful Mini B-17G.
Although Paul is no longer with HobbyKing save for occasional product testing and is stateside once again, he's proud of the Super-G and had a great deal of fun contributing to its development.
Assembling the Super-G is a simple matter involving a screwdriver and the supplied foam glue, beginning with the screw-on tail boom. Four M4 screws, 90mm and 70mm in length, are all that are required.
The main landing gear is next with four M2x16 coarse-threaded screws. After the installation of only eight screws, the airframe is nearly complete.
Attaching the wheel pants to the mains is as simple a gluing them in place. The manual recommends using the supplied glue as contact cement, i.e., applying the glue to the pant, sticking the pant to the aluminum main, pulling it off, waiting a couple of minutes for the glue to set and then reattach the pant to the main. Not only does this method work, it does so beautifully.
The tail parts are installed in the same way as the wheel pants beginning with the horizontal stabilizer. The design is excellent with its keyed tab-and-slot assembly. The result is a perfectly squared and perfectly centered stabilizer.
Once it's in place, the vertical stabilizer is next. The fit is snug and the glue sets up quickly, but once the parts are in place, they're in to stay.
Installation of the horizontal stabilizer's tip panels and the functional winglets to the sides of the main fuselage completes the airframe.
Although the prop is in the rear, it isn't a pusher. Rather, it's a rear mounted tractor.
Installation is straightforward, starting with the spinner backplate followed by the prop with its numbers forward, its shaft adapter, a washer and two 3mm nuts. The spinner cone and its two mounting screws complete the installation.
The spinner on this example had a lot of casting flash which required trimming with a hobby knife; even the holes for the spinner cone were covered in a thin layer of excess plastic.
I found it odd that the manual would instruct the assembler to install the prop and main rotor even before the receiver and basic radio setup were performed, so I wish to point out that I'd already installed the receiver and got everything moving in the proper direction. As good as the manual is, that's a boo-boo.
One main rotor blade is already installed on the head; once the nuts and washer used to secure it are first removed from the shaft, the rotor is installed on the shaft where it mates with a 3mm nut at the base of the shaft. Back go the washer and nuts, followed by the two remaining blades.
The blades are designed so that they can be swung back for storage and transport, a really nice touch. Once the blade stopper is screwed atop the shaft, assembly is complete.
Setting the tail throws is a straightforward task since they're the same as what would be found on an airplane. Of course, the Super-G is no airplane.
Nor is it a helicopter.
As the main fuselage comes out of the box, the main rotor is set with the banking fulcrum set at neutral. The manual states rather emphatically that the rotor must be at a seven-degree angle to the left with the controls centered. This step is such an important one that HobbyKing supplies a laser cut and laser engraved wooden alignment jig.
It took a bit of head scratching to figure out just how the jig was supposed to go since the photos weren't clear. After some trial and error, I discovered that the proper installation is as simple as applying the jig to the rear of the auto-start with the engraving facing forward.
The ball links are definitely on to stay, so I electronically centered the servos, unscrewed the control arms and simply adjusted the links by either screwing in the pushrod on the left and unscrewing the right.
There was simply no way to make the adjustment by purely mechanical means since I wound up totally unscrewing the right pushrod and bottoming out the right pushrod before I got to that magical seven-degree mark.
I got them as close as I could and used the servo centering adjustment on the radio.
That's when I noticed just how ingenious HobbyKing's auto-start happened to be.
The main rotor spins up with power being transmitted by a a spring shaft which flexes and allows the rotor to be banked to either side. An electronic soft start activates a brushed motor which in turn spools up the main rotor for takeoff. A one-way bearing allows the rotor to autorotate in the wind after the power is switched off at the transmitter. The motor gets its power directly from the battery's balancing tap and caution should be exercised when connecting the power. The system won't tolerate reverse polarity.
Airtronics and Sanwa users, please take note: The auto-start is incompatible with FHSS-1 radio systems or radios operating in FHSS-1 mode. Found that out first hand.
It will, however, work on FHSS-3, Spektrum/JR (and therefore HobbyKing's own OrangeRx) and, as I'm using here, Hitec. The RC Model Geeks video shows their model being flown with an FrSky radio, so Taranis users have nothing to worry about. Futaba users should be OK as well.
Given the critical rotor head adjustment, I was extra careful to make sure that the control throws out back were within the 10-14mm range for the elevator and the 12-18mm range for the rudder.
CG is also critical and the model balanced perfectly with the 3000mAh pack linked to in the specification sheet at the top of the page. HobbyKing also sent a 2800, but I never got to use it due to the crash.
There seems to be a couple of schools of thought regarding the balance of the main rotor blades. I mentioned RCGroups member Paul Susbauer and his involvement with the model's development; he and his team simply assembled the prototypes, set the controls and flew them box stock with no problems.
I flew the maiden at the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club, my usual spot for outings such as these. It was there I'd done the final check of the control surfaces and rotor angle.
Two models really drew a lot of attention. One was Dr. Alan Williamson's amazing, hyper-detailed B-25, a model which I'll share on the blogs and hopefully soon in the pages of Model Aviation. I was present for the maiden flight some months ago and it was an unforgettable sight.
The other model, naturally, was the Super-G.
With the preflight and a range check out of the way with the help of club president Dan Metz, I was ready to fly. Dan has flown at least three maiden flights on my behalf, not to mention the maiden of the B-25. Dan offered to give the model a push across the runway due to a crosswind.
This was the first time I'd fully spooled up the main rotor and it did so with remarkable smoothness and only the merest hint of shaking.
Time for takeoff.
On Dan's signal, I throttled up full and he gave the Super-G a shove into the wind from behind. At first, I wasn't sure what to expect, especially since I didn't have the full benefit of the runway's 985' (300m) length.
I needn't have worried; the Super-G lifted off gracefully well short of the shoulder of the runway. After I gained some altitude and carefully turned left into the pattern, I switched off the auto-start and began my very first experience with a radio controlled model autogyro.
Talk about different! It handled somewhere between an airplane and a CCPM helicopter, but mostly like an airplane which didn't want to bank. Very, very strange, but fun.
Adding to the fun were the incredible sounds of both the propeller and the rotor. Combined, the two made a magnificent sound like ripping cloth as it flew by.
Speed is certainly not an issue and is very much the autogyro pilot's friend. The faster, the better. Maneuvering is again, different. Thanks to some great folks on the authors' forum and on the blogs, I knew that most of the "steering" would be mostly performed with a combination of throttle and rudder. Yaw is another friend of the autogyro pilot and with that in mind, I was actually making some pretty good - albeit wide - turns out in the pattern.
Bank is not a friend.
This is where disaster struck as I set up for a landing. I instinctively tried to treat the model like an airplane. Bad move. I banked the autogyro around too far and throttled back. Good for an airplane, bad for the Super-G.
Once that rotor loses lift, it's nearly impossible to get it back. As I brought it around on its final turn, it started coming in flat but fast, culminating in a hard flop along its left side.
I won't go into the sordid details, but suffice to say that it's banged up but repairable. At some point, especially when HobbyKing starts to stock the main blades on a regular basis - they're almost always out of stock - I'll rebuild it.
According to HobbyKing's video, the Super-G is capable of stall turns. After my experience, it's not anything I'll try soon on the replacement model.
What sets this model apart from virtually any flying model is its fast and level high speed flight. At speed, it almost doesn't want to bank. This makes it a fantastic FPV or video platform, but I would only recommend that for a very experienced autogyro pilot.
Sorry, but no. While it's possible for an experienced airplane/helicopter/quadcopter pilot to put this model in the air and fly it, it doesn't take much to go from flying to a crash. I certainly can't see this as any sort of training platform for a new pilot.
This is the sort of model which requires experience and a great deal of it.
HobbyKing's YouTube video managed nearly 30,000 hits in about a month's time:
|HobbyKing Super-G Auto Gyro - HobbyKing Product Video (2 min 44 sec)|
Finally, some beauty shots taken just before takeoff:
As with any model aircraft, there is a definite learning curve to the HobbyKing Super-G PNF autogyro. Lapsing to instinct instead of active thinking resulted in an avoidable crash. Now that I know what I did wrong, I won't repeat the error with the replacement or the Auto-G2. It's certainly possible on a computerized radio to mix lots of rudder and very little aileron and fly in a relatively normal manner and that's something I'll explore at some point. I first have to get a better idea of how the controls interact.
Crash or no crash, the Super-G gets a definite two thumbs up. It didn't take long at all to become comfortable flying the model and it is unquestionably the finest model I've seen quality-wise from HobbyKing. I'll just have to remember not to be complacent when I fly the new Super-G and the G2. A detailed flight review of the Super-G will be here on the electric flight page before long. Michael Heer's 2013 review of the Auto-G2 may be found here.
My sincerest thanks to James Friess, John Bartram and Toby Osmond of HobbyKing. James was the gentleman who sent the model and batteries, but I believe he has moved to a new position. I wish him all the best. Toby introduced me to John who in turn promised the new models and, I'm sure, more great new HobbyKing products in coming months.
Another of the greatest reps in the hobby business is Suzanne Lepine of Hitec RCD in beautiful Poway, California. Suz is always willing to lend a hand with providing equipment for RCGroups.com reviews and she has my eternal gratitude.
Special thanks to Mike Greenshields of Global Hobby Distributors a short distance up the 5 and 405 from Poway in Fountain Valley. Mike was kind enough to arrange for two Airtronics FHSS-1 receivers for this review and believe me, they'll be used in other reviews.
Without the help of RCGroups members Paul Susbauer, Rick Chernenkoff, Jon Barnes, David Hogue and Michael Heer, I might never have gotten off the ground, let alone fly for as long as I did. Big thanks as well to Dan Metz of the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club for his invaluable assistance with the preflight check and takeoff.
Once more, I thank both Angela Haglund and Jim T. Graham at the admin desk here at RCGroups.com on behalf of all of you terrific hobbyists in our worldwide audience.
Thanks again for visiting and remember to check all of the latest happenings right here at RCGroups.com!
Just a quick thanks to Jim T. for getting this posted.
The good news is, I successfully flew the smaller Auto-G2 yesterday. Once I get some more stick time under my belt, I'll assemble and fly the replacement Super-G.
Tell you what: I'm hooked on R/C autogyros!
HobbyKing did an excellent job with the overall design and it's that much better with the FPV pod option.
I'm looking forward to mastering this model very soon. It's definitely more powerful than the Auto-G2 which is actually a good thing. It's held aloft with little more than the main rotor and the tail surfaces.
Joined Feb 2000
"Although the prop is in the rear, it isn't a pusher. Rather, it's a rear mounted tractor. "
What it is, is a rear mounted tractor prop.
It is a pusher installation, and the prop is acting like a pusher prop. The only difference is you are using a tractor prop in a pusher installation. What you are trying to do is let prop rotation define whether it is a pusher or tractor. By your reasoning, if I put a pusher prop on say, a P-51, and reversed the motor so that the prop was spinning in the correct direction, you would say "it is not a tractor installation, rather, it is a front mounted pusher." Well, it would be a front mounted pusher prop, but it would still be a tractor installation...
I see where you're going, but it's a standard rotation propeller mounted on the rear and which turns counterclockwise when viewed from the front. That's where I came up with the description of "rear mounted tractor" since it's operating in exactly the same way it would as if it were mounted on the front.
Thanks for the helpful comment and your feedback!
HobbyKing Live - E-Week 2015 - Fan Flight 01
Here is what you can do with it after mods. Much easier to fly. Better takeoff, flies very slowly, can do vertical landings with care. Also capable of loops and rolls
Here is the Super G thread http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...297290&page=19
In regards to bank - bank is no problem, but it Must be coordinated. Rudder must be used, however due to the oddities of rc gyros, almost no rudder is needed in left turns and lots needed in right - otherwise the tail drops, it enters a slip, looses even more lift and splat if you are low. (This is where the helicopter characteristics enter). I believe slight friction in the rotor system (along with rotating mass, precession etc...) is part of the cause of difference in rudder needed in turns.
They do fly like a combination airplane and helicopter with some of the worst characteristics of both, but are a rewarding and fun vehicle to fly once you get used to the quirks. I have been pushing the limits as to what the Super G can do and have pushed it too far on 3 occasions. Luckily it is very durable. I do not recommend doing rolls unless you are very experienced and 4 mistakes high. It can hesitate inverted and you must be ready to split S out or use hard rudder to recover. I am pushing the limits of the head (broke it in flight - why I went to the metal head), servos (stalling them with aggressive aerobatics), pushrods (flexing under stress) and general flight characteristics. I have done "impossible" or at least improbable things with this gyro and it has come out pretty well.
If you listen to the crash in my video - you can hear the blades stall right before impact. Full size autogyros have their blades at a positive angle and are in full autorotation (like a pinwheel), rc gyros are actually at 0 or a slight negative angle and air flowing over the airfoil creates lift (like a wing) and the forward lift vector causes it to rotate. Therefore you can stall these blades like a wing (airplane characteristic). Just another oddity.
The reason the Aerobalsa blades perform so much better is they are 1/2" longer and 1/2" wider creating a "fuller" blade disk (bigger wing area) - also they are a much better airfoil. The stock blades are ok, but you must fly a little bit faster and takeoff and climb performance is not as good.
Gyrocopters are weird, RC Gyros are even weirder. Coning angles, precession, flapping and drag hinges, having blades be at a negative angle etc... make them an interesting subject, and fun and sometimes challenging to fly.
I am in the process of combining the smaller Auto G2 blade system and a Slow Stick fuse and tail to make a hybrid gyro
Thanx for the mention in the review (awesome review) . Sorry to gear of the unfortunate maiden . It does sound familiar though . I went thru the same 'teething pains' with another gyro but love flying the thing now . I received a LOT of help from the rcgroups membership in the 'AUTOGYROS' forum and was greatful for every answer to my questions . (I love this website and its members ! )
The HK stocking of rotor blades seems to be a common , on-going practice . Should you be inclined to 'make' some of your own rotor blades , there are a couple of 'how to' articles in the gyro forum . Making the sanding jig is the hardest part of this exercise .
When flying my gyro , I have to tell myself before the flight , to fly it more like a 3 channel plane . It seems to work for me as I tend to fly like that with the quads anyway . Perhaps try a rudder to aileron mix in the future . The one that I like to use has about 20% aileron mixed into the rudder mix . Great review ! RickC
Thanks, Rob and thanks, Rick!
Your suggestions and those of everyone else made this flight a lot more successful than it could have been. I have the replacement model from HobbyKing as well as the Auto-G2 practice machine, the latter which I flew this past Sunday.
Once trimmed with the help of my club's president, I flew an entire pack through it with no problems. Weird, yes. Impossible, no and it really caused a positive stir from everyone who watched at the flight line. Since this was a maiden, we had the runway to ourselves and we actually flew it from one end of the runway instead of at the flight line.
I contacted Aerobalsa in the hope that I would hear back regarding some samples for an RCG review, but I haven't heard back yet.
As far as the review model is concerned, it's scraped up on the left side of the main fuselage, the landing gear popped out, the tail boom is cracked near the horizontal stab and of course, the blades and auto-start were damaged. The plastic part which holds the forward part of the fulcrum in place broke and hyper-extended the spring shaft.
If I can figure out how to remove the auto-start mechanism, I may go ahead and patch it together with some new parts and use it as a sort of "test mule" for upgrades and mods.
United States, VA, Springfield
Joined Dec 2014
Hobby King no doubt did it this way because electric motors are easy to reverse and tractor propellers are way more plentiful than reverse pitch or pusher props.
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