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Durafly Auto-G2 Gyrocopter Plug & Fly Review

The Durafly Auto-G2 flies on the lift supplied by its lifting blades that spin from the craft's forward movement. Come in and learn a little about this Auto Gyro and see if this reviewer can fly one on his first try.

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Introduction

HobbyKing Product Video - Durafly Auto-G2 (4 min 10 sec)


Rotorspan: 32.33"
Weight: 600g
Length: 31.3"
15.43"
Servos: 9g x 4
Transmitter: Spectrum DX7s
Receiver: Orange 6 CH (5 channels are required)
Battery: 3S 1300mAh 20C
Motor: Brushless Kv800
ESC: 20Amp with BEC
Manufacturer: Durafly
Available From: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...dProduct=43343

I have had the opportunity to review several Durafly planes and have found them to be good performers as well as good looking aircraft. I was in discussions about reviewing the Dynamic S Performance Sailplane when I was asked if I would like to review the improved Durafly Auto Gyro the G2. I let them know I had never flown an Auto Gyro and they said that would be even better. Mine was shipped from the US warehouse and they were nice enough to include the recommended 3-cell Turnigy 1300mAh battery for use in the Auto-G2 Gyrocopter. The main power plug connects to the ESC and powers the receiver, motor and servos. The balance charging plug powers the lifting rotors motor used to get them spinning for takeoff and can reportedly be used for landings as well. As I write this introduction, I have opened the box and taken the initial pictures and will start the assembly section as soon as I have finished this introduction. In preparation for this assignment I have done some minimal research on how to fly an RC gyrocopter. I watched the HobbyKing video posted above a few times and I went to the Auto Gyrocopter thread and read some instructions about how I should fly this aircraft. I have also learned that the main difference between this second version of the Gyrocopter and the original is that this has a motor to start the lifting blades spinning at the start of the flight and that is supposed to make the start of the flight process (Takeoff) easier. Then the pilot shuts off the lifting rotor's motor and the forward movement of the gyrocopter keeps the lifting blades spinning. This promises to be a different experience for me so come along for the ride.

Kit Contents

The Kit Contains

  • Fuselage with motor, ESC, rotor on/off controller, rudder, elevator and two aileron servos
  • Horizontal stabilizer and elevator
  • Vertical stabilizer and rudder
  • Hub and three blades for the lifting rotor
  • Three blade propeller for the powering motor
  • Foam nose cone
  • Glue
  • Main landing gear
  • Steerable tail wheel
  • Extra clevises and assorted hardware and top cover for lifting rotor
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Spare lifting rotor main hub replacement part (Not mentioned in video)
  • Instruction manual

Also Included by HobbyKing

  • 6 channel Orange receiver (Spectrum and JR compatible)
  • 3-cell 1300mAh battery pack

http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store..._Receiver.html Link to the International Warehouse for more information on the receiver.

http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store...Lipo_Pack.html Link to the International Warehouse for more information on the battery.

Provided by Author

  • Spectrum DX7s Transmitter
  • Balanced Lipo battery charger
  • Needle nose pliers and/or small crescent wrench

Assembly

Durafly Auto Gyrocopter G2 Assembly (9 min 42 sec)

Lifting Rotor

Three blades are mounted to a black center hub to create the lifting rotor for the G2 Gyro Copter. One blade came already secured to the center hub and I attached the other two in the same way using a Phillips 00 size screwdriver. As shown in the pictures there are a sandwich of plates that get bolted together during this assembly. It is quick and easy to do. When it is fully assembled it fits on to the top lifting prop shaft mount but that will be done later. For now I doublr checked my assembly of the lifting rotor mechanism and set the lifting assembly aside.

Installing Main Landing Gear

The main landing gear fit into a slot in the bottom of the fuselage. To install I simply had to squeeze the gear together and slip them into the slot and push them up. However, the ESC's wires to the motor were in the way, so per the instructions, I pulled the ESC out through the front opening and then installed the landing gear and put the ESC back into the fuselage through the front opening. The main landing gear was now installed.

Tail

The horizontal stabilizer has two sets of black plastic 1/2 circles under it that are molded to a plate attached to the bottom side of the horizontal stabilizer and each set is joined together to make the complete circle with a bolt and a nut. With the bolt and nut as loose as I could get them and still leaving them attached. I separated the two circle halves in each set and slid them onto the back of the carbon fiber fuselage rod. I eyeballed the stabilizer so that it was level and tightened the bolts into the nuts to secure the horizontal stabilizer into place. I had the elevator control rod and the tail wheel steering control rod going under the stabilizer and the rudder control rod going above the stabilizer.

Next I trial fit the vertical stabilizer into the plastic holder designed for it on the top of the horizontal stabilizer. I then added glue and secured it into place in the plastic holder for it. I gave it a few minutes to partially set up and then I installed the plug on the tail wheel into the back of the carbon fiber rod. I had to loosen the horizontal back mounting bolt (The back circle set.) to do this. The instructions called for glue but it was such a tight fit I decided I didn't need any glue. I simple tightened the bolt at the back of the elevator mount. I connected the elevator clevis to the elevator control horn, the rudder clevis to the rudder control horn and the steering tail wheel clevis to the arm of the steerable tail wheel.

Fuselage

I slipped the black plastic three bladed propeller onto the front propeller shaft and secured it in place with nuts. I used needle nose pliers but a cresent wrench would have worked just as well. Next I trial fitted on the foam nose cone and then glued the nose cone to the back spinner plate with just a very little glue. Then I fit the lifting propeller hub onto the top lifting propeller shaft. There were already two nuts on the propeller shaft below the hub. I installed two additional nuts above the hub. After I tightened those two nuts using my needle nose pliers at the end, I screwed on the black top plate that finishes this assembly and protects me and others from the top end of the lifting propeller's shaft.

Radio Installation

HobbyKing supplied me with an orange receiver to use in this review. There was a Y-connector included in the kit and that was used to connect the two aileron servos. They are mounted at the base of the wooden supports for the lifting rotors and tilt the lifting rotors to the left or right to steer the aircraft as ailerons would steer a plane. I plugged in the throttle control and the aileron Y-harness and bound the receiver to my Spectrum DX7s transmitter. I used the three cell 1300mAh battery pack supplied by Hobby King to supply the power to the receiver using the BEC in the ESC. I disconnected the battery and plugged in the elevator and rudder servos and the connector from the lifting rotor's motor into (channel five) the receiver. I again connected the battery to the ESC and checked to make sure that the controls were working in the proper directions. Using my transmitter I reversed those that were not operating in the direction I desired. I adjusted the rudder clevis to get it straight and the tail wheel control clevis to line up the tail wheel. I did some taxiing on the ground and made an adjustment to the tail wheel clevis until it was tracking nice and straight.

With those controls all working properly and everything still on I connected the lifting rotor motor's power connector. It connects to the battery pack's balanced charger connector. As soon as I plugged it in the lifting rotors started to turn! I Immediately threw the 5th (gear) switch the other way and the rotors powered down. I disconnected the battery and reversed the 5th channel switch so that motor off was with the switch in the back position and the lifting rotor motor went on in the forward position.

Completion

I checked the C/G which was a little ahead of the rotor tower. I did this by have the gyro copter upside down and pinching the sides of the gyro copter were the C/G was recommended. It balanced there without me having to do anything. before my first flight I review the instruction manual and some short notes I made from reading on RC Groups. The manual says to engage the lifting motor for the start of the flight and for landing. Once airborne and flying at a good speed I would turn off the lifting rotor motor until it was time to land. My notes from reading on RC Groups told me to make wide turns initially and to keep the speed up. The instruction manual told me not to fly at full throttle for extended periods of time. Time to fly.

Flying

Basics

With the Auto Gyro Copter I have five controls to help me fly. The first is the throttle. It will keep the lifting rotor spinning by keeping the speed up. It is important not to try and fly too slowly as it is necessary to keep the lifting rotors spinning and that is done with forward flight. Climbing steeply will slow down the rotors and diving will speed them up. I need to keep that in mind, especially for this first flight. I have ailerons and rudder to steer with and elevator to help keep the gyro Copter level in turns as well as to climb and dive. I have a steerable rudder tail wheel and I need to be ready with rudder if needed on the take-off run.

*NOTE**

The instruction manual advises not to fly the G2 at full speed for extended periods of time. I followed this recommendation and mixed up my speeds as I normally due in flying. I find flying at slower speeds actually makes the faster passes seem faster.

Taking Off and Landing

On the first take-off I had a slight cross wind but I applied throttle and flicked the switch the gear switch to start the lifting rotor motor. Next I applied throttle and advanced to 3/4s throttle. She tracked down the runway nice and straight. Perfectly straight in fact. After the speed had built up I applied a little up elevator and she lifted off perfectly and I put her into a climb and a left turn into the wind. I raised the throttle to full and the climb increased. When I made my initial downwind turn I turned off the lifting motor. Subsequent takeoffs have proven to be just as easy. Using the lifting motor to start the rotors spinning worked great! There was nothing tricky about taking off. I just waited until she had built up and speed and gave just a little up elevator and on my command she lifted off. All takeoffs have been in either calm conditions or basically into the wind. Some takeoffs have been into a 45 degree cross breeze but nothing more than that so far. I have been amazed at how nicely and easily she takes off. I had heard they could be difficult to takeoff but with the lifting motor on she has been a real pussycat.

As shown in the HobbyKing video the lifting motor can be turned on while holding the Auto Copter and then starting the throttle and throwing her forward to launch her into flight. If there is a strong breeze she can fly from my hand almost in a hover for a hand launch with almost no throw into the a wind. I recommend you have some stick time before trying to perform the hand launch starts. I don't plan to try any hand catch landings.

For landings I fly down and turn onto final and using elevator I fly her down near the ground and reduce throttle. She settles in on her own and lands very nicely. I don't recommend slowing her down at altitude. Fly her down over the runway and when just a little above the runway reduce throttle. Without forward throttle enough to spin the lifting rotor she comes down very quickly. I tried that at altitude and had to turn the rotor motor back on and push the throttle back near full to stay in the air. My landing method is a shallow dive with power at a maintained flying speed. Dive and level off about a foot above the runway at a speed where she would continue to fly at that level easily. Then reduce throttle and land as she slows down and descends on her own. I don't need to use the lifting motor at all during my landings. I just reduced throttle and she settles down on her own. I reduce the throttle gradually and let her settle slowly. Bleed off the flying speed so her descent is gradual for that last foot and she looks terrific.

I do not taxi around on the ground much as she has a rather wide turning radius but I have any necessary steering for landing and taking off.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

I have been able to replicate all of the turns and maneuvers that I saw performed in the HobbyKing video. My favorite maneuver is to dive and climb and do a 180 rudder turn and repeat the move in the opposite direction. Those of you who have read a number of my reviews may recall that I like doing half pipes and the G2 does them very nicely. I also like to run my invisible pylon course where I alternately make strong aileron turns with some opposite rudder and get her into a high bank and reverse to the opposite direction going left right left right while basically progressing down high over the runway.

Because of stalls in steep climbs I have not tried to do a loop and I am not sure she will loop in calm conditions. I haven't felt confident enough to push any harder than I have to get the complete climb necessary for a loop.

Just flying her is a pretty special performance in itself. I have to work at balancing my lifting rotors as I have a definite vibration that can be seen and heard. Some very small pieces of white plastic 3M type tape will probably work in helping to balance the lifting rotors.

Is This For a Beginner?

NO! Although she is not hard to fly she has no real glide and without forward speed she drops fairly quickly. I think an advanced beginner can handle her as long as they keep up the forward speed but I recommend learning to fly a conventional plane first. That said if the beginner has an instructor to fly the gyro copter for them and explain how to fly and control her it might be possible but I still think the two biggest problems for a beginner will be even greater problems with this aircraft and that is maintaining orientation and not accidently over controlling. Learn on a trainer and then try this out.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Durafly Auto G2 GyroCopter Flight Video (3 min 57 sec)

Downloads

Durafly Auto G2 1st Flight (1 min 51 sec)

Conclusion

If you enjoy flying something that looks a little different but actually controls like a standard four channel Sunday Flyer for the most part then I strongly recommend you get yourself a G2. I was initially a bit hesitant about flying the G2 because I was afraid I might make a fool of myself flying the aircraft. As fate would have it I did but not for the reasons I was concerned about. I had no trouble flying the gyro copter and was having so much fun I lost power out away from the runway as I flew to long and ran out of charge. My G2 snagged a piece of Barb wire and I broke the plastic lifting rotor hub. Fortunately, they supplied a second one in the kit and my gyrocopter was soon good to go once again. I now limit my flights to five minutes with lots of time to spare to get safely back down.

I get lots of questions about her and there are a number of people interested among my flying buddies in getting one so we may soon have a squadron of them. I have had no trouble flying in wings up to ten miles per hour but it does push the G2 around a bit, but I just steer to correct for the wind induced drift. Unless you live in an area with very strong winds as the norm I think you will find the G2 as something very fun to fly. Once again I have learned that there is nothing to fear about flying the G2 ... as long as you pay attention to the time of your duration and battery use. DOOH!

Pluses & Minuses

Pluses

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Quick and easy to assemble
  • Easy to store and transport (3 Nuts to remove lifting rotor)
  • Definitely something different
  • Easy to fly
  • Fun to play with and try different maneuvers

Minuses

  • Vibration in the main lifting rotor

THANKS

My thanks to Durafly and HobbyKing for supplying the G2 for review along with the battery and receiver. I want to thank my friend Chris for helping me with the media and our editor for her work on this article.

Last edited by Michael Heer; Oct 03, 2013 at 08:35 AM..

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Old Oct 03, 2013, 07:44 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
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SAVED FOR FUTURE POSTS! Mike H
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Old Oct 04, 2013, 12:50 AM
Registered User
Tucson, AZ, USA
Joined Nov 2000
1,122 Posts
My son lost his. In level flight flying fairly fast and wanting to slow down he chopped power. It nosed up abruptly, rotor stalled, and crashed. Broke all 3 blades. He had several flights on the plane and had cut power before with no nose up problems. Very experienced pilot.
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Old Oct 04, 2013, 01:12 AM
EDF all the way!
bruff's Avatar
Gilbert, Az
Joined Jun 1999
8,020 Posts
Nice! Make sure you bring it to AEF 2014 in Jan.
Bob
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Old Oct 04, 2013, 03:30 AM
Registered User
United Kingdom, Glos
Joined Feb 2009
593 Posts
Michael, as I have flown the G1 and G2 extensively I thought I would add some of my own experiences

1. The G1 being lighter is more lively and gives you longer flights, but ground take off without sufficient rotor speed will cause an uncontrollable roll. Hand launches are a really easy providing the rotor is upto speed and for the G1 thats would be my recommendation for a beginner

2. Ground take offs on the G2 are much easier, I usually spin up the rotor (But I think it's incorrect to call it a lifting motor as the blades have a negative incidence), start the main motor and disconnect the rotor drive.

3. I've not found any advantage in using the rotor spin up in flight and usually once I've spun the rotors up for take off never use it again during the flight and landing.

4. You description of the flight is typical for somebody starting with the Auto G and wise advise as it you get it too slow the rudder becomes ineffective and it starts to rotate around the rotor blade or if you bank too steep then it becomes hard to get it back level, the best way is to dive and pull out with elevator (sort of a half stall turn), but if you haven't got the height then this usually results in an order for spare parts.

5. It can be flown very slowly, but for this you have to juggle power, elevator, rudder and ailerons. Tight flat turns are easy once you get used to using the rudder for the turn and aileron to control the bank, note you will need opposite controls at times.

6. My favourite landing approach to come over the runway high, back off the power, pull in some up, and then using the power bring it down almost vertically and use power for the final flare and land with minimal forward speed, you can get the roll out to be less than 2ft.

7. Don't try flying them in poor light, i.e,. dusk, due to the shape it becomes very difficult to see the orientation which too will see a visit to the Durafly spares page.

Lastly although the rotor blades and blade holder will get broken at some point, the rest of the bird is pretty tough, I've piled both of mine in due to dumb thumbs/learning errors and they've glued back together OK.

For the bystander they may look at bit boring, but they are different to fly and if you are not used to using rudder in flight then these will either be good practise or you will struggle. Mine comes down the field with me most days and I've got a full articulating rotorhead Auto gyro on my build list.
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Old Oct 04, 2013, 05:41 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
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Hi Bob:
I look forward to seeing you in January at the AEF. I will plan on bringing her and you can take her for a spin.
Frank S, Thanks for your contribution. I have no personal experience with the G1 so I appreciate your thoughts on the original model which is still available. Mike H
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Old Oct 04, 2013, 09:58 AM
14s 180mah should be enough...
IFLYOS's Avatar
United States, NC, Pfafftown
Joined Feb 2001
3,695 Posts
Timely review, my -G2 will be waiting for me when I get home today, and I am planning to fly it tomorrow.

I have no experience with gyrocopters either, so I am in the same boat as you, Micheal. I hope I have the same success you did.

Thanks for the well written review!

Tim
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Old Oct 05, 2013, 03:12 AM
urs
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switzerland
Joined Dec 2000
723 Posts
toothpick

hi all
an old autogyro trick to save the easy breakable blade holder....just replace the bolt and nut nearest the hub with a wooden toothpick...it will be snug fit thru the bolt hole...in a blade strike it will snap of and leave the blade to pivot on the remaining bold...this saves the blade holder and reduces damage to the blades


urs (switzerland)
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Old Oct 05, 2013, 06:24 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
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Thanks for the tip urs! Mike H
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Old Oct 06, 2013, 12:23 AM
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sirzeppu's Avatar
United States, UT, Farmington
Joined Aug 2011
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I wonder how much weight would be required to add a re-gen circuit to the rotor drive motor? It'd be cool to charge the flight pack slightly...wouldn't want to add too much drag to the rotor system I assume...but it may be possible.

Thanks for the review...I've been intrigued since HK introduced these.
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Old Oct 07, 2013, 01:03 AM
Grumpy old git.. Who me?
JetPlaneFlyer's Avatar
Aberdeen
Joined Mar 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirzeppu View Post
I wonder how much weight would be required to add a re-gen circuit to the rotor drive motor? It'd be cool to charge the flight pack slightly...wouldn't want to add too much drag to the rotor system I assume...but it may be possible.

Thanks for the review...I've been intrigued since HK introduced these.
Sounds like an idea for an eternal motion machine (which are always impossible).

The extra drag on the rotor would 'pull the plane back' meaning you had to apply more power to fly, meaning (due to efficiency losses) that the battery would deplete quicker and flight times would be reduced, not increased.
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Old Oct 07, 2013, 01:06 AM
Grumpy old git.. Who me?
JetPlaneFlyer's Avatar
Aberdeen
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The Auto-G is quite aerobatic when you get confidence built up. Loops are a breeze but need a little rudder to stop them skewing off. It will even do barrel rolls:
Auto-G doing rolls (0 min 50 sec)
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Old Oct 07, 2013, 03:57 PM
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sirzeppu's Avatar
United States, UT, Farmington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetPlaneFlyer View Post
Sounds like an idea for an eternal motion machine (which are always impossible).

The extra drag on the rotor would 'pull the plane back' meaning you had to apply more power to fly, meaning (due to efficiency losses) that the battery would deplete quicker and flight times would be reduced, not increased.
Makes sense...I figured the drag would be an issue...I just got done driving a hybrid rental around and it was fun trying to get a good braking score...so I'm all fired about about energy re-capture now (LOL).
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Old Oct 07, 2013, 04:48 PM
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Paderborn DE
Joined Oct 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirzeppu View Post
I wonder how much weight would be required to add a re-gen circuit to the rotor drive motor? It'd be cool to charge the flight pack slightly...wouldn't want to add too much drag to the rotor system I assume...but it may be possible.

Thanks for the review...I've been intrigued since HK introduced these.
Still a nice idea.....
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Old Oct 09, 2013, 12:38 PM
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United States, CA, Burney
Joined Jan 2013
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review

I got the privilege to watch a friend fly one of these of few months back. I was at a fun fly that had a small field and the wind had picked up to about 15mph. We had a small run way that was cross winded. My friend had a bit of a challenge on take off but once up it was a great flyer. He spun up the blades on the ground to aid in take off which helped on his second sortie. I would recommend the product ...if...you have room for take off and landings. Watching the gyro made me want one .. they are really cool looking and fly very well.
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