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Human Powered Helicopter

Old 10-26-2014, 06:44 AM
  #1  
kyleservicetech
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Default Human Powered Helicopter

This is a video of the worlds first human powered helicopter able to fly to 10 feet high for 60 seconds. It was first flown last year. The November 2014 issue of Scientific American magazine has a full article on this heli, and what was involved in building and flying it.

It took awhile to figure out how the bicycle was hooked up to the four rotors. It looks like they simply wound up the four spools under the four rotors with thread, and wound up that thread on the bicycle, thereby rotating the four rotors. Simple.

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syJq10EQkog[/media]
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Old 10-26-2014, 10:38 PM
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It looks like the spools to wind up the thread are on the pedal shaft.
I wonder what the extremely high gearing to the rear wheel was for?
For that matter why carry the rear wheel?

Very interesting video.
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Old 10-27-2014, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildflyer View Post
It looks like the spools to wind up the thread are on the pedal shaft.
I wonder what the extremely high gearing to the rear wheel was for?
For that matter why carry the rear wheel?

Very interesting video.
I think that rear wheel was used as a flywheel, evening out the pulses from the bikes crankshaft. With all the cables and strings all over the place, if anything ever got tangled up due to slack in the cables, it could turn into a disaster really quick.
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Old 10-27-2014, 07:27 AM
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Now that you mention it I think you are right.
Direct drive with no coaster, would do that great.
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Old 10-27-2014, 07:29 AM
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Interesting idea. Wonder if it would be easier to make an actually heli, with just one rotor and some sort of tail rotor with a rod to connect to control pitch of the tail for yaw. The main rotor staying fixed pitch though. The crankset could be connected to some pully setup, and connect with gears to the main rotor, and a second crank set could be a lengthened chain or belt to a hub turning a tail rotor. The one way would clearly have to be moved to both cranksets to allow rotation of the tail and main without pedaling. Now pitching, that would be a difficult. Perhaps the "pilot" moving forward, back or to the sides could allow the heli to pitch ever so slightly. Without stepping up to electronic control, it would take a complex flybar and moving weight to gain more authority in directional flight.
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Old 10-27-2014, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildflyer View Post
I wonder what the extremely high gearing to the rear wheel was for?
For that matter why carry the rear wheel?
I can't watch the video where I am (lack of bandwidth). But my guess based on what you wrote would be the wheel is used for it's gyroscopic effect. Helping keep the aircraft stable in flight.
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Old 10-27-2014, 08:22 PM
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Very slick.....
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Old 10-27-2014, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by BroncoSquid View Post
I can't watch the video where I am (lack of bandwidth). But my guess based on what you wrote would be the wheel is used for it's gyroscopic effect. Helping keep the aircraft stable in flight.
The wheel would allow for inertia. Judging by the vid, it doesn't seem easy to get the rotors turning, and the fact that they do turn at a slow speed, they can't have much inertia by themselves. With the wheel I imagine it gives the "pilot" some ease of use, where when pedaling is stopped the blades will have a bit of push from the free fast spinning wheel and soften landing.
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Old 10-27-2014, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by thepiper92 View Post
The wheel would allow for inertia. Judging by the vid, it doesn't seem easy to get the rotors turning, and the fact that they do turn at a slow speed, they can't have much inertia by themselves. With the wheel I imagine it gives the "pilot" some ease of use, where when pedaling is stopped the blades will have a bit of push from the free fast spinning wheel and soften landing.
Yeah, I wondered about how much gyroscopic effect of that wheel would be, compared to the huge size of this flying machine.

The Scientific American article indicated that the pilot put out some 1.3 Horse Power to get the heli to altitude, and 0.8 HP to keep it there. Most younger men can briefly put out 1.3 HP going up steps two at a time. But, imagine doing that for 60 seconds and some 10 flights of stairs.

In another light, 1.3 Hp is 1000 Watts, a little less than the power output of a mid sized motor like the Hacker A50 series. That whole giant sized heli had to be incredibly efficient.
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Old 10-27-2014, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by kyleservicetech View Post
Yeah, I wondered about how much gyroscopic effect of that wheel would be, compared to the huge size of this flying machine.

The Scientific American article indicated that the pilot put out some 1.3 Horse Power to get the heli to altitude, and 0.8 HP to keep it there. Most younger men can briefly put out 1.3 HP going up steps two at a time. But, imagine doing that for 60 seconds and some 10 flights of stairs.

In another light, 1.3 Hp is 1000 Watts, a little less than the power output of a mid sized motor like the Hacker A50 series. That whole giant sized heli had to be incredibly efficient.
Very efficient when you think of fact that a human was flying with the machine. If a plane weighed in at 150-200lbs, 1000W wouldn't get it rolling. I guess the huge blades and slow speed are the answer, something that rc planes never have. Even though efficient, the response would be very slow, and pitching would take forever. I would think that changing the gearing would be helpful, along with some autorotation, so that the blades wouldn't not have to be moved from a standstill. A larger flywheel would help as well, so that perhaps one can take a break from pedaling and have a fair amount of time before the rotors would slow significantly.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:31 AM
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I haven't any idea how to do the math to calculate the output power.

How much power would it take to go 41 mph, on a 10 speed bike on a level road?

When I was 16-18, before I had a car, I was paced several times by my friends motorcycle at 41 mph, I just couldn't get past that. I weighed about 165 and the bike was probably 25-30 lbs. (big steel Schwinn) I could stay above 35 for about 1 mile.

I just wonder if I could have gotten that heli off the ground.
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Old 10-28-2014, 02:11 PM
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While rolling friction of wheels is non-existent, I would think those blades to be harder to turn than pedaling a standard bike. Furthermore, he isn't onwhat the highest gear would be on a 21 speed, most likely middle sprocket, around 5th-7th gear. I've never used a ten gear bike, but it would be on the lower gear of the second sprocket possibly.

Getting 41 mph is likely on top gear. When I was more fit I was about to get to 50mph on a 10lb 1992 trek. This was in high gear. Also, this was with knobby tired, but fast compared to the Specialized tires on now which won't get past 35mph
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by thepiper92 View Post
While rolling friction of wheels is non-existent, I would think those blades to be harder to turn than pedaling a standard bike. Furthermore, he isn't onwhat the highest gear would be on a 21 speed, most likely middle sprocket, around 5th-7th gear. I've never used a ten gear bike, but it would be on the lower gear of the second sprocket possibly.

Take a look at the crank on that bike by stopping the video. The crank has four "Bobbins" that are winding up cables from the four spools located under the four rotors. The only use for that rear wheel appears to be to smooth out the peddling of the pilot while flying this contraption.

Wow, 40 MPH on a bike? I've never even got close to that figure when still active on bike riding. Best I could do was 20 MPH for a short bit. Doubling the speed takes 8 times more energy, if my fading memory is correct.

This is an interesting web page. It indicates peddling a bike at 40 MPH requires 1500 Watts, or around 2 HP.
http://bikecalculator.com/index.html
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:11 PM
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I just studied the video at the 26 second point. They have a drive sprocket that almost is the diameter of the pedals themselves, and the rear wheel sprocket ( the driven sprocket) looks to be be as small as absolutely possible.

To me this looks like a far higher gear than any multi gear bike has. This would spin the rear wheel at insane speeds. This system probably helps him from breaking the cables when starting and helps keep them pulling smoothly after speed is reached.

Two times I got my bike to higher speeds, once was going down a long steep hill, probably 50-55 pedaling my a$$ off.
The best time though was when my dad and I mounted 2 - 60 size nitro model motors with 12" props, on a piece of plywood out over the front tire. I was in full tuck position, and I am sure I was doing over 60 mph on a level road. It was crazy faster than doing 41 on the same road. In highest gear I could not even catch up to the pedal speed, I could not add any power. I thought I had flipped the chain off. Try looking down at 65 on a bike. You are REAL busy, trying not to hit anything.
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Old 10-28-2014, 09:58 PM
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40mph is very fast for a heavy bike. My Trek is essentially a road bike, modded forks for wider tires...that was a mountain bike then. My 50mph on a flat strip was only for 3 seconds, it takes a lot to get it there. This was on clipless pedals mind you, so your shoes are the pedals essentially and you get power from pushing down and pulling up. With such a light bike (new ones are lighter) and those pedals, 30mph is a normal speed. From what I know, racing bikes are constantly between 40-50mph.

The hub on the copter wheel is very small, more speed could be had with a higher gear in the front, but I doubt one would ever have enough power to start it, or enough endurance to keep it for more than 5 seconds.

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Old 10-29-2014, 06:20 AM
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Next time I try to go over 10 mph on my bike, it will have my Power 90 up front or maybe pusher, with a control system. If that don't do it then my Power 180.
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Old 10-29-2014, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by thepiper92 View Post
40mph is very fast for a heavy bike. My Trek is essentially a road bike, modded forks for wider tires...that was a mountain bike then. My 50mph on a flat strip was only for 3 seconds, it takes a lot to get it there. This was on clipless pedals mind you, so your shoes are the pedals essentially and you get power from pushing down and pulling up. With such a light bike (new ones are lighter) and those pedals, 30mph is a normal speed. From what I know, racing bikes are constantly between 40-50mph.

The hub on the copter wheel is very small, more speed could be had with a higher gear in the front, but I doubt one would ever have enough power to start it, or enough endurance to keep it for more than 5 seconds.

My son and I have owned 4 Trek's

Mine have all been 1998-2010 road bikes, my son's have been what is classified as "mountain" off road terrain equipment....he also owns a 2008-7000 hybrid,,,,what is now considered a "comfort" bike......a less expensive on and off road model.

The 7000 series actually came out in 1993, was considered then a "mountain" bike without fork suspension and was a cro-moly/aluminum 25lb beast. With dual off road knobby, even a very fit rider around 165lbs would have to bust his tail off to get over 40mph (sustained spin with clipless) on a flat asphalt surface since the front crank had a 24-34-42 set-up with rear cog 7 speed
11-28.

The cog ratios shown on the vid appear to be very small, which would mean the pilot would be rotating through several gears quickly before reaching a sustained rotor head speed for sufficient lift and travel........

Last edited by pizzano; 10-29-2014 at 06:04 PM.
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