Kaman Helicopter (oz3476)
About this Plan
Kaman Helicopter A 24 inch rotor FF helicopter. For .049 motors. From January 1970 Aeromodeller.
Quote: "Kaman Helicopter, designed by J Bishop.
DESPITE THEIR SIMPLICITY, the free-flight, power-driven helicopter has always been something of a mystery to aeromodellers - the designer included! However, nothing ventured nothing gained, it was decided to press on with this design three years ago. After it was built, the question arose, how does one trim it for flight? You cannot test glide the thing! The engine was adjusted to peak revs, and the model allowed to fly out of the designer's hand. No one could have been more surprised to see it climb in a large, left hand spiral until it disappeared OOS into cloud! The engine cut and after a short time it reappeared out of the clouds on an auto-rotation descent. From that day to this it has always performed to the satisfaction of the many modellers who have seen it fly, especially those at the last two Scale meetings at Old Warden. What more could one ask of a simple helicopter design?
Construction of the fuselage is straightforward, but the rotor-head may give some trouble if one is not careful with the wire bending. The fuselage sides are cut from 1/16 in sheet balsa, 6 in wide - if your local shop does not stock this width, change your model shop or glue smaller sheets edge-to-edge. It is framed with 1/16 in x 1/8 in where shown. The cross-grain laminations at the front are essential to give it rigidity prior to fixing the celluloid cabin windows.
It is important to note the anti-rotation chute opening is on the port side only. Cut formers F.1 and F.2 from 1/8 in sheet balsa. The rotor-mast support beams may be made out of engine bearer material or even obechi. Holes are drilled and 14 swg brass tubes are epoxied in where shown. The formers are glued to the two support beams and then the sides are glued to the formers. The 1/8 in square cross pieces are now added, so forming a basic box to which the rest of the components are added. The front landing gear support wire is bound and glued to the 1/8 in sheet which is then glued into the basic fuselage before the bottom sheeting is added. The top and bottom of the fuselage is largely left open except for the strips as shown, so that the prop-wash can pass through the fuselage rather than round it, thereby causing less drag..."
Supplementary file notes
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User commentsHi Steve, I made one of these Kaman Helicopters, probably about 1971/72. However, I recall that I must have made it too heavy. I see that the article says 11 ounces, 312 grams, maximum. I remember flying mine very clearly, as it would just hover - not climbing, and not descending. It was very stable, but just didn't want to go "Up"!! I can't remember that I tried doing things to improve its performance - such as a different propeller, or "lightening" things, or even more nitro in the fuel? (now I wonder that perhaps the engine was worn-out, or the fuel was not very good?) but I was probably more anxious to use the engine in another airframe. In those days our few engines had many aircraft to power, and I had just bought a Single Channel RC set!! I can fully understand the article where it describes the flight characteristics, and I am sure that it would fly like that - if it was light enough/powerful enough. I think that the Kaman "flight philosophy" was that the lifting thrust comes mainly from the propeller, and the rotor blades just "assist" and provide the gyroscope effect to maintain stability. Best wishes,
VinceDay - 12/12/2014
Hi Steve/Mary, Thank you for a great site - I still spend far too many hours on it!! Further to my notes about my building and flying the Kaman Helicopter - my brother found a photo of it - from nearly 1/2 a century ago!! [more pics 003]
VinceDay - 13/03/2017
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