Paramotor + Trike + Rotary Wing

I want to ask if it’s possible for a suitable paramotor & trike to be mated with a rotary wing mounted on a rotor mast, in order to make a barebones Gyroplane that comes under FAR103.

A main motivator is that regular paramotor wings have extremely low wing-loading, which makes them less stable than other aircraft, and far more sensitive to turbulence and even air currents. A rotary wing however has much higher wing-loading, and is far more stable in high winds compared to other similarly sized aircraft.

Clearly, controls would have to be rigged up to enable control over the pitch of the rotary wing, as is required in a Gyroplane. Those controls would be more similar to what’s seen on the Powered Parachute Trike as compared to the Powered Paraglider:

Additionally, a pre-rotator would be useful to enable short-roll takeoff.

I was imagining that this kind of setup would be particular compatible with an electric paramotor, since electric favors distributed power, thus enabling power to be conveniently routed first to pre-rotator and then immediately switched over to the paramotor/pusher-prop for takeoff.

Likewise, perhaps the pre-rotator could enable energy recovery from the rotor, following landing. Converting the rotor’s rotational energy into electricity could both help to safe the vehicle once on the ground, as well as usefully put energy into the batteries.
Furthermore, since a Gyroplane on the ground can even have its free-wheeling rotor spinning from the wind, this could be used to charge up batteries out in the field, away from a power outlet (admittedly, this would probably take a long time).

Can it in principle be possible to build a paramotor trike gyroplane and fly it safely?
What factors would have to be taken into consideration?

How you are using the term wing loading isnt exactly right. You can increase wing loading on a paramotor by using a smaller wing. You divide the aircraft and payload weight by lifting area to determine it. A paragliders cross sectional area is high for it weight. But is a design tradeoff for being able to stuff it into a backpack.

For the gyrocopter question is yes, its possible and there are several manufacturer that offer ultralight gyrocopters for sale.


This is almost done I have made foot launched gyro which I intend to do testing on my trike as I will need to learn my rotor ground handling
What you are seeing is my trike with gyro and paramotor attached and above my head is rotor hub blades have been removed due to tight space there

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Danny,

That’s an amazing effort by you. Do you have a pre-rotator on it? Are you planning to have one?

What’s your rotor span?

I really think you should take a look at this video of the Retracta trike (especially the part @ 3:54)

The useful feature of that trike is that you can retract it in flight. You can choose to do a rolling takeoff with the trike, retract it in flight, and then land on your feet.
This could be a more useful way for you to transition between using the trike and eventually doing things on foot.

Did you watch the video? It would be really cool if you could retract the landing gear in flight, but that is not what that trike does.

Zeke,

But how do these ultralight gyrocopters compare on weight to that of a paramotor? It seems like the paramotor is the most lightweight, cost-effective, and convenient way to achieve flight. But even a paramotor with a small wing still has much lower wing-loading than a rotary-wing craft. Therefore the stability of a paraglider will be much inferior to a rotary-wing craft. Paramotor fliers always talk about thermals and mountain rotors, which you never hear other small aircraft fliers talk about so much, since they don’t have to worry about it as much, because they’re not as vulnerable to that.

For me, the ideal flying experience would be to fly as light and conveniently as a paramotor, while not worrying about wing collapse, or the effects of turbulence and thermals that occur with the lower wing-loading, which is where a gyroplane excels.

I then wonder why the most lightweight gyroplanes (eg. Gyrobee, KB-2, etc) don’t look anywhere near as lightweight as a paramotor+trike ?

I´m almost willing to bet that people are going to start cussing you out over that video of that Flat Top. Lol

I honestly don´t know why they aren´t built lighter, but I think it may have to do something with the designed airspeed.

Heh, why is that? Is it because that guy Dell Schanze relentlessly promotes himself? I dunno, I’m too much of a n00b to know or care.

Anyway, one of the problems with foot-launching a rotary wing, is that it could cause rotor flap. Perhaps we could solve that problem with wheels - either thru a trike or even an even lighter 2-wheel cart setup, like this golf pull cart:

The paramotor would be mounted low on the pull cart, like roughly where the bag is in the video.

The vertical mast of the pull cart would extend upwards to become a rotor mast with the rotor mounted on top. There would be a pre-rotator on that rotor, to spin it up to high RPM for short takeoff.

Alternatively, here’s a hiking trailer:

Or else, how about a 3-wheel kick scooter style:

The scooter would be ridden backwards, with the handlebar mast being a rotor mast positioned behind the rider’s posterior. That folding seat would then flip forwards and up. The bottom scooter platform could also flip forwards and up, after takeoff has been achieved.

Pre-rotator would be used for all takeoffs.

Electric paramotor would be useful for this, because electric power is good for distributed power. The electric power could be mainly diverted to the pre-rotator during rotor spin-up, and then when suitable rotor RPM has been achieved, electric power would be fully transferred to the paramotor, to maximize pusher thrust for short-roll takeoff.

I have had the opportunity to get to know Dell and in person he is a really cool guy, but he has a personality that many people can’t handle, he often tends to get “hyped up” and arrogant if that’s the right word when making videos, he has a bad habit of putting others down to promote himself, and in his younger years he did some questionable things. So take him for what you will, but until he makes an electric Flat Top, we should probably avoid talking about him here because it tends to go haywire. :thinking:

I think that could definitely be a part of it. I was thinking about this for a while and another part is that these rotors tend to be high over your head and pull backwards pretty hard during launch to build up their momentum. I think a Two wheel contraption should help with both of these or even better just a light weight paramotor style trike like what was previously mentioned.

On a slightly different note, I follow Bratwurst´s e-ppg page on facebook, and I saw a really interesting post of his were he flew with his paramotor and skis, but instead of a typical paramotor wing, he used a wing foil and was actually able to fly. (still waiting for a video :slightly_smiling_face:) For those who don´t know, a wing foil can be inflatable or use a metal structure, but its comparable to a really small hang-glider. Anyway. I have been thinking for a while on how we could mount a modified one to a paramotor such that you could easily control it without needing to hang off the wing with your hands and it won´t hit the paramotor cage. I haven´t come up with anything great, but if we could figure out a convenient way, it would break down smaller and faster than a gyro-copter, be more efficient than a gyro-copter, more simple than a paraglider or gyro-copter, allow for a greater speed range than a paraglider wing, it is a fixed wing so it could handle more turbulence, and if the modified one has control surfaces, you would have a greater variety of maneuvers available to you. (basically your not stuck on the bottom of a pendulum)

Regarding Dell Schanze, no worries - I’ve seen a number of his videos, and he’s obviously very talented - anybody with that level of skill has earned some bragging rights. I would love to acquire that level of skill.

I’ve seen various videos like that, including some on a product called WoopyFly:

Here’s a small mini-airship:

But I’ll say that just like the paraglider, all of these solutions have very low wing-loading, and require very calm air to fly in. None of them is very tolerant to turbulence like the way a Gyroplane is, due to its higher wing-loading. I feel like the Gyroplane is the most convenient way to enjoy beautiful jagged mountainous terrain without constantly fretting about mountain wind rotors, or thermals, or other relatively small nuisance molehills that become dire threats to small aircraft with low wing-loading.

A pre-rotator would also be key to making the takeoff more manageable, for a paramotor-style quasi-foot-launch.

There are several factors to aircraft stability. But lets assume thar youre right on wing loading being the only one. Especially to wind.

Take a cessna 152. To increase stability and wing loading you cut half the wings off. Due to lower lift generated of smaller wings you must increase airspeed to fly same weight. By increasing forward speed vector, the ratio of side vectors decreases. Ie cross wind has less effect. Since that had desired effect cut them in half again. Will have to increase engine output to achieve minimum takeoff speed. But thermals and rotor will have less effect. But stall speed is higher, takeoff speed is higher, fuel use is higher, roll stability is lower, payload is lower. You better also will want to concentrate on flying than sightseeing

Paragliders are very stable. They get their stability by having center of gravity centered and much lower than center of lift. It causes a pendulum effect. Want a more stable paraglider, increase the riser length. But there comes a point it will be so stable that it wont turn and take off and landings become impossible.

Gyrocopters have several limitations. First they are high drag to lift. Fuel efficiency is lower than paramotors with same pilot weight and speed. They must have torque compensation of main rotor or they will roll as speed increases. Advancing rotor blade generates more lift than retreating blade on other side.

As for general avaition not being effected by thermals and rotors?? Have you never encountered turbulence while flying in a 737? Done a cross wind landing in small airplane? Talked to helicopter pilots about rescuing hikers in canyons when its windy? They are affected, they just typically dont fly near ground in those conditions

Paragliders greatest advantage, is size and weight. My paramotor wing weighs 4.8 kg or 11 pounds and can fit in carry on baggage on airlines. Just ordered an sp140 that can fit in the back seat of my electric car. I free fly mountains in ridge lift to fly without power. Do cross country flights in thermals without power. The disadvantage youre talking about is advantages to others

Hi Zeke, thanks for your informed reply. Okay, fair enough, these things that affect paramotors can be advantages - but they do seem to affect paramotors more than they affect other aircraft. I do understand that turbulence, thermals and other weather conditions can affect any aircraft. But I worry that paramotors are extremely sensitive to them.

Yes, I understand that a Gyroplane can’t get the same fuel mileage that a paramotor can. The Lift-to-Glide ratio is only about 4:1, while on a paraglider it can be anywhere from 8:1 up to 13:1. But I would point out that Gyroplanes can store up energy in their rotor spin.

The forward velocity limit on the Gyroplane is higher than the top speed of a paraglider.

I’ll agree with you that the paramotor is more portable, which is a marvelous and valuable convenience. But while your electric paramotor can be carried onboard an airline, the batteries may be restricted.

At this point, I’m reading that the upcoming EOS Quattro 4-stroke engine may be a better choice than an electric paramotor, given that its ease of maintenance, ease of fueling and much greater range would offer more than an electric paramotor can.

Meanwhile, electric would be great for a small personal Gyroplane, because electric is better for distributed power – meaning a pre-rotator combined with a pusher propeller for short takeoff. Likewise, upon landing that same setup could be used to recover energy from the spinning rotor and propeller, and put it back into the battery, or capacitor bank.

If you add up everything you just said, it sounds like you would be lucky to get 20 minutes of flight time using a 4 kWh battery and you will likely have a 100+ pound unit weight with said battery. On the flip side a paramotor gets 60 minute flight times with a 4 kWh battery and would weigh sub 80 pounds including the wing. Maybe an electric gyroplane should wait for solid state batteries…

Or fuel cells? Or gasoline range-extender? Or some kind of hybrid power system?

I looked into the eos quatro four stoke in 2019, then again in spring of 2020 when scout teamed with them. Was disappointed when they said they were not looking into fuel injection and that electric start wouldnt be a primary release. Year later they are still trying to fix the oil and the exhaust issues.

I had two stroke and four stroke weed eaters. The 4 strokes were not much improvement in reliability for the weight increase. Year ago i switched over to electric weedeater and they are still performing like new.

Both myself and local pilots have issues with carburetors and exhaust on the gas paramotors. Being on the ground wishing it would start was the main selling point of the electric. My battery drills start every time with a fresh battery. And they dont quit except for dead battery. The other reasons were bonuses