Titanium Auto Gyro - the future of gyrocopters

Titanium Auto Gyro

About Titanium Explorer

Manufactured in Australia, The Titanium Explorer is the worlds first new generation gyro using titanium as a key component. In 2009, The idea was born. Seeing a demand for a design more suitable for Australian conditions, Neil Sheather and Andrew Pepper began their journey. With Neil's extensive knowledge and experience with various rotor systems, balancing and design of rotor heads, the Titanium Explorer is an example of practical, efficient design and innovation.

 

The Titanium Explorer utilises the ever reliable Rotax series of engines from the 100hp to the new 912 ULS Turbo 137hp engine. The main frame is titanium while The body is manufactured using carbon fiber and fiberglass making it extremely strong and lightweight. 

Designed with comfort, safety and practicality in mind, the Titanium Explorer is packed with features making it a standout in the field. 

 
Titanium Extreme

Why Titanium?

With the reports of cracking hub bars and cracking aluminium rotor blades on some European gyros we decided to look at better materials to use in our new gyro

  • Titanium has been used in the aviation industry for years because of its superior strength and its ability to withstand both heat and stress.
  • Titanium is very resistant to cracking and doesn’t rust or corrode and is up to 5 times the yield strength of stainless steel and 2.5 times the yield strength of Chrome moly, but almost half the weight.
  • Titanium has twice the elastic properties of both Stainless steel and Chrome moly so this helps to absorb vibration
 
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Testimonials

Hi all

I went to Australia and had the good fortune to be able to visit Sam’s place with Neil to view and then fly Sam’s Titanium Explorer. As I don’t suppose too many of you will have had the chance to fly it, let alone see it, I thought I should probably make some notes and write it up on this forum - plus post some pictures. Very many thanks indeed are due to Neil and Sam for their kind hospitality.

I was warned to expect Australian engineering like the Bushmaster (highly land mine resistant wheeled armoured vehicle made in Australia) and I was not disappointed. The Explorer is clearly designed with long distance trips into remote outback in mind.

On first sight, the Titanium Explorer appears to be quite a big gyro with short blades. It is also quite a CLT (or close to CLT) gyro so sits quite high. Getting in would be tricky were it not for the very functional door for the cockpit. Everything feels rigid and strong including the body, floor, rotors, frame....This one had a 914 but works fine with a 912S as well.

The airframe is Titanium apart from the aluminium main wheel spar and testing suggests that it is very strong indeed - I am not familiar with the material but the quality of the welding and finish is high. The frame is in three parts and bolted together for easy shipping. Disc brakes on main wheels and suspension on front wheel combined with flexible main uncarriage spar makes it possible to take-off and taxi comfortably on really rough strips. Nosewheel looks particularly robust. Rotors are 27.25 feet with longer ones an option and are made of carbon with an aerofoil the same as Magni’s. Body is made of honeycomb carbon and is notably stiff and strong - no issue putting weight on it. Shape is aerodynamic for a gyro and, as I was to discover, cockpit airflow in flight is non-existent. Good range of well thought out controls that fall to hand easily - I particularly liked the pneumatic trip and pre-rotator (pneumatics DON’T wander as in others) and the fact that the there is also a manual pre-rotator to avoid problems in the deep outback if the pneumatics fail. IAS in knots rather than mph. Rudder pedals are adjustable as per Magni but mounted high enough to “push and pull” at the same time if in gravel. Masses of storage for a gyro with luggage strakes like an M22. Full set of controls and instruments in the back plus good raised seat for instruction. Seats very comfortable and slightly reclining - I discovered in flight that this remains the case giving a slightly reclining and very comfortable position for long flights even for big people. Full harness seat belts. Big fuel tanks - about 90 litres I recall.


Once in, the cockpit is very wide and comfortable compared to the Magni M16 or MTs with all the controls comfortably inside the cockpit and with a weight limit of 125kg front and 120kg back, hefty people are not a problem. All helped by the light weight - the very high spec standard fit came in at about 270kg before fuel and pilot. Lots of room on the instrument panel means all analogue instruments are a viable option. Very good finish everywhere makes it look a thoroughly well prepared machine.

We flew in the middle of an Australian summer day from 1800 feet on the ground to around 3500 ft. Wind was gusty and all over the place. Significant turbulence. Weight around 500kg.

Take-off smooth and climb out steady but not spectacular (hardly surprising really - about 600fpm indicated). Coped easily with turbulence - bumpy but not unduly so. Rotors quite stiff and provided plenty of lift. Main things I noticed were:

- Shaft pre-rotator very powerful - was told it would go to 330 rpm though did not test it. I guess take-offs at that rate might take some practice!
- Comfortable to fly with lots of room
- No cockpit wind
- Rotors ran at 400 rpm - probably a little higher than the equivalent Magni
- Stable
- Mid-weight stick. Heavier than the MT but much lighter than the Magni
- No attitude change with power change
- Quite fast - with 80 - 85 knots IAS the comfortable cruise. would imagine it will easily make 100+ knots quite comfortably though did not test that.

Summary - I really like this machine. At the AUD 92k price point, it is good value and is really designed to be multi-purpose and good at everything, especially long distance touring. Perhaps a post-Brexit trade deal UK/Australia will help it get to the UK!