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Flying Balsa PT-Gyro Profile Kit Review

Something different to take to the field that's as fun to fly as it is unique to look at!

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Introduction


Rotor Diameter:38"
Weight:~33 oz.
Length:28"
Servos:1 - Hitec HS81, 2 - Spektrum DS821s.
Transmitter:FlyingBalsa.com
Receiver:FlyingBalsa.com
Battery:Common Sense RC 15C 3S 3000
Motor:Common Sense RC E25
ESC:Common Sense RC Z45
Manufacturer:FlyingBalsa.com
Available From:FlyingBalsa.com
Street Price:$89.95

I always gravitate towards aircraft that are different or unique; something that more than likely there will not be three or four of at the field on Saturday.

One type of aircraft that fits this description is the autogyro. I always thought they would be fun to fly, but I assumed it would be hard to set one up. When I came across the CAD designed and CNC manufactured PT Profile Autogyro, I jumped at the chance. It proved me both wrong and right all at once!

Kit Contents

The kit arrived in great shape and with no missing parts. Itís a built up kit and requires some building, but with the profile fuselage and the prebuilt rotor blades it requires minimal effort and can be up and flying in short order.

The PT Profile kit includes:

  • Aerobalsa high performance SG6042 blades
  • An extensive hardware package
  • Extremely detailed 22 page instruction manual
  • Several 11" x 17" reference drawings.

Items needed to complete the PT Profile Auto Gyro:

  • Motor/ESC: A 300 Watt Motor and suitable ESC are recommended. I chose to use a Common Sense RC E25 motor and a Common Sense RC Z45 ESC.
  • Battery: Anything in the 3S 3000 to 3850mAh works well. I have been using a Common Sense RC 15C 3S 3000mAh pack.
  • Servos: 3 servos are needed - 2 high torque and a standard micro servo. HS225's work great in the PT. I am using a Hitec Hs-81MG on the rudder and Spektrum DS821s on the rotor as "aileron and elevator."
  • Paint and covering: The entire airframe can be sanded, primed and painted. I chose to cover the tail section and rotor blades with Doculam and painted the fuselage with typical Krylon paints.
  • Assorted tools: Some number sized drill bits are needed, I picked these up from Harbor Freight with one of my seemingly monthly orders.
  • Daring: The will to fly something that most others won't.

Assembly

Since it is CNC manufactured, the tolerances are very tight making for a great build. The PT goes together fairly quickly for a traditional balsa kit. The low parts count, extremely detailed manual and reference drawings along with all hardware and wood make this a delight to build. This is obviously a very well thought out kit.

Horizontal and Vertical Stabs

The kit is begins with the subassemblies - the horizontal and vertical stabs - which are already CNC cut for you. All that must be done is to glue the fixed elevators to the horizontal stab, and then cover with your choice of covering. I went with Doculam because it accepts paint easily.

The vertical stab and rudder must also be covered, and then the rudder must be hinged to the vertical stab.

Fuselage

The fuselage build is very straightforward and consists of only 12 parts of both balsa and light ply. There is a ply firewall, landing gear mount, fuselage, tail doublers and the fuselage "T" beam. The balsa parts are the fuselage, pylon cores, fuselage, 3/8" and 3/4" triangle stock.

The fuse can easily be built up in an hour or two. The central "crutch" is built upon with the doublers over top of the included full size templates.

Rotorblades

The rotor hub must be built up from the included kit. This is where the numbered drill bits are needed. I picked up this set from Harbor Freight. There are several holes in the flex plate and rotor hub that need to be drilled at different sizes. To make this step as foolproof as possible, I color coded the reference sheetís different sizes to be drilled. I laid the flex plate over the plans and color coded it as well. I wound up with all the correct sizes drilled in the correct locations! The reference sheets that come with the kit make this step very simple. I had not built anything like this in the past, and found it a very welcome change of pace.

Balancing the Blades

The rotor blades are already prebuilt, and all I needed to do was to cover, install and balance them. To balance them, I laid the gyro on the kitchen table and watched the rotor spin to find out which of blades were heavy (the heavy blade will tend to "fall" to the bottom) and then added weight to the light blades. The blades are balanced when it is possible to put the rotor in any position you want and the head remains stationary.

Motor Installation

FlyingBalsa.com recommends a 300 watt power system, so I went with the Common Sense RC E25-12 motor . With the E25 I also installed a Z-45 ESC and have been flying on 3S 3000 15C packs. On an APC 12x6E I am making around 480watts at 47 amps. I have since propped down to an APC 11x6E.

The motor mounts to the firewall using the stock motor mount centered on the firewall using the provided pilot hole.

Covering and finishing

The tail section that was built up earlier must be installed onto the gyro, and then itís on to the gimbal. The gimbal is held to the pylon via a 3/32" pivot wire, two washers and two 3/32" ID wheel collars. I ground a small flat spot with my Dremel on the wire to allow the wheel collars to seat. I also, just for my own "I feel much better now" reasons, added a third 3/32" collar to the wire just in case!!

The rotor blades and tail surfaces of the PT must be covered and/or painted. FlyingBalsa recommends painting the fuselage, gimbal and head. I covered my blades in White MonoKote and used Krylon rattle cans to paint the rest of the aircraft. Once I had the fuselage built up and ready to go, I prepared to paint it. I pulled the rotor blades off the gimbal and prepped the fuselage.

Once painted, I installed the landing gear legs and rotor blades. I have found that for general maintenance, it is much easier to work on the gyro with the rotor/gimbal assembly removed.

Radio Installation

The servos are held on to the side of the fuselage. In order to get the strongest setup, I bought some aluminum 90* angle stock and cut servo mounts out of it; very simple, very cheap, extremely effective. There are some servo brands that manufacture these, but since I used a servo that did not offer these, and I did not want to wait for another set to be mailed to me, I made some.

Once the servos are installed, the pushrod tube for the rudder servo must be routed. The pushrod is held to the fuse through three control arms that have been reamed with a 1/8" drill bit.

Once the entire flight pack is installed, the "CG" must be attained. CG on the PT Profile is found via hang angle. When held from the "rotor mast", the fuselage should sit at a 5 to 10 degree angle.

Flying

The ďPTĒ in PT Profile stands for Primary Trainer, and that is exactly what it is for autogyro hopefuls. I have always had an interest in autogyros, but prior to this review I have never flown one. Once I got it into the air, I was excited about what this aircraft held for me.

The PT flies like a dream, and I have fallen in love with it. I knew as soon as the PT broke ground I was going to enjoy the gyro immensely. I found myself repeating "I cannot believe this thing is flying!" It will fly extremely slowly or fairly quickly. Loops and rolls are even possible! It is a wonderful "Sunday flyer." I am completely hooked on autogyros.

Orientation

As I was researching flying autogyros, I kept reading about orientation. Seems everyone who has flown a gyro has battled this issue. While flying an autogyro is not difficult, keeping proper orientation of the aircraft can at times be challenging. I read about the orientation challenges autogyro pilots have, and I wondered what makes it so difficult. If a single picture is worth a thousand words, then 4 pictures must be worth well, four thousand!

The issues with orientation are not PT Profile specific. It is due to the "change in aircraft structure" I believe, that makes it hard for our eye to determine, exactly what our aircraft is doing, where it's heading, etc. This is also an issue with helicopters. After a handful of flights the issue lessened as I began to get accustomed with the profile the PT showed me.

Take off and landing.

The PT can be hand launched or will rise off the ground. I preferred to perform traditional take off run for the maiden, and I have since found that I much prefer this method to the hand launch. The proper method for a nice take off is to allow the rotor to spin up fully while holding up elevator until the gyro is ready to fly, and then release the elevator slightly, and allow it to rise off the ground. Nice, smooth take off runs are so much fun with this bird.

To land, with the rotor spinning, point the gyro into the wind and bring it in at an absolute crawl to set the gyro at your feet.

Downloads

Conclusion

Prior to this build I was a complete novice to aircraft that slung their wings over their head and especially to auto gyros. I am totally thrilled that I gave the PT Profile gyro a shot!

If you are in the market for something different that is as unique at the local flying field as it is fun, I suggest you give the guys at FlyingBalsa.com a visit and get a PT Profile on the way to you!

Plusses

  • Very quick build.
  • Flies very well.
  • Great for the novice auto gyro flyer!

Minuses

  • It's not often a kit will come across the table without something to nit-pick. However, with the PT Profile gyro, I could not come up with anything to minus. However, I suppose there is just not enough time in the day to fly it!
Last edited by Angela H; Sep 11, 2008 at 08:39 PM..

Discussion

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Old Sep 11, 2008, 10:20 PM
Just Happy To Be Here!!!
harrymc's Avatar
United States, AL, Tuscaloosa
Joined Nov 2004
1,687 Posts
Great job Tram!!!
I've been tinkering with autogyros for a couple of years now and love them!
You'll have to come on down to Tuscaloosa soon and give us a demo!

Harry
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 10:28 PM
Fly it like you stole it..
Tram's Avatar
Florence, Al
Joined Oct 2000
29,305 Posts
Dude, if you want one, this is the one to check out.. I absolutely love it..

I recently crashed it, but am working on getting it back going.. Just waiting on some parts to arrive..
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 10:40 PM
quick, stretch into a monster!
Mr.Me's Avatar
Everett, WA
Joined Apr 2007
978 Posts
i wanna get an autogyro now... i've seen 'em before at the flying field but this review really makes my want one...
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 10:44 PM
Fly it like you stole it..
Tram's Avatar
Florence, Al
Joined Oct 2000
29,305 Posts
I always thought they'd be hard to setup, tough to fly, etc..

I got this thing.. I love mine..
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Old Sep 12, 2008, 12:45 AM
Ham Call Sign: KK4KGJ
Buzz Bomb's Avatar
United States, GA, Stone Mountain
Joined May 2006
2,255 Posts
I have one of these and they are an absolute joy to fly.
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Old Sep 12, 2008, 01:15 AM
CSI
I promise, just ONE more order
CSI's Avatar
Del Rio Intl, Texas, United States
Joined Feb 2004
3,995 Posts
Nice review Tram. I'm just trying to find out the best way to inform my wife how much I 'need' one of these things. I have played the 'need' card a whole lot this year, but darn it....I 'NEED' one of these!
I actually had some limited fun with the little Air Hogs Autogyro this past year. It sure made me interested in getting hold of a real one. This one sounds good!!!
Ken
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Old Sep 12, 2008, 02:55 AM
UAS Pilot/Tech Instructor
CryHavoc's Avatar
United States, CA, San Diego
Joined Apr 2000
1,491 Posts
What kind of power readings are you getting now that you've propped down to the 11x6E ???

Mike
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Old Sep 12, 2008, 03:36 AM
Gaftopher
Gary Mortimer's Avatar
Nottingham Road South Africa/Bedford UK
Joined Feb 2007
3,877 Posts
I have always sooo wanted a gyro but have been a little afraid of the flight reports I read.

Have you tried hoisting a camera with it?? Do you think it would be upto it??

I'm quite into aerial photos, the into wind slow speed appeals. (I know those winds can be pretty strong as well and it should cope)

Cheers

G
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Old Sep 12, 2008, 06:36 AM
Fly it like you stole it..
Tram's Avatar
Florence, Al
Joined Oct 2000
29,305 Posts
Buzz- Nice looking bird!

Ken - just buy her some shoes!

Mike- I can run it up when I get home, I don't remember off the top of my head.. The gyro is down right now.

Gary- depends on the camera.. It will fly the FlyCamOne without any issues..

Jeff
www.CommonSenseRC.com
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Old Sep 12, 2008, 09:43 AM
Fokker Ace's Avatar
Joined Aug 2006
1,551 Posts
Nice!
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Old Sep 12, 2008, 10:21 AM
Canucklehead
orenda635's Avatar
GTA, Ontario, Canada
Joined Apr 2004
827 Posts
I think even a retard like me could put this kit together. Looks good.
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Old Sep 12, 2008, 10:38 AM
Registered User
Joined Nov 2004
272 Posts
Hi Jeff,

I sent you an email a few days ago to verify your shipping address.
As soon as you verify, Parts will be on the way!

John Selph
www.flyingbalsa.com
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Old Sep 12, 2008, 11:15 AM
Fly it like you stole it..
Tram's Avatar
Florence, Al
Joined Oct 2000
29,305 Posts
John-

Thought I replied.. The address was correct..

Jeff
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Old Sep 12, 2008, 12:35 PM
AND FOR MY NEXT TRICK....!
jodini's Avatar
Omaha Millard, Nebraska, United States
Joined Sep 2004
4,062 Posts
Great review!

The guys at www.flyingbalsa.com do an excelent job with their kits and make sure you will succeed...great customer service.

Here's my PT-profile, slightly altered.
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