The helicopter kite operates on the same principle as a gyrocopter. It's something different! A large rotor is kept spinning by the airflow across it, like a fan being blown in the wind. Once spinning, the rotor develops 'lift' like a wing, and can lift the rest of the kite.
A small tail fin keeps the kite pointing into wind, like the tail does for a Diamond kite. Also, a small horizontal stabilizer at the back helps keep the rotor blade at the correct nose-up angle to the wind.
The most well known, and perhaps one of very few products of this type is manufactured in and distributed world-wide from a single location in the U.S. Besides Helicopter Kite, this toy also pops up under the names...
All these products are essentially the same, with the differences being mainly in the packaging. The kite requires some assembly, but it's just a few simple plug-it-in operations as far as I can see.
I've seen videos of this toy in flight and it appears reliable and stable. However, don't expect it to reach the line angles of a good Delta kite! Having said that, I still think it would be something of a head-turner for the kids down in the local park. My little boy would love one, I'm sure...
It might take a while to get to it, but I intend one day to get one of these kites and spice up this page with a video and a photo or 2! Stay tuned.AN UPDATE: Quality equivalents of the described type of toy don't seem to be available on Amazon right now (2014). However, I'll stick my neck out and suggest this AttackCopter Nylon Kite is probably worth a try. It's reasonably big and is a kite in the traditional sense, since the rotors are only images on the circular sail!
I don't know if many large versions of these kites exist, but apparently the gyro-copter concept has been around since the 1920s. When improvements in helicopters made them practical, autogyros, as they were often called, faded in popularity. They were, however, used in the 1930s by major newspapers. Also, the US Postal Service used autogyros for a couple of mail service routes. One of these routes ended up on the roof of a large building, which says something about the slow-speed capabilities of these machines.
In World War II, Germany developed a tiny gyrocopter kite, the Focke-Achgelis Fa 330. This machine was towed by U-boats for aerial surveillance. Later, the Japanese Army developed the Kayaba Ka-1 Autogyro for reconnaissance, artillery-spotting, and anti-submarine warfare.
So it's a saga that began with war machinery and has ended up in the Children's Toys department!
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Jul 28, 14 05:06 AM
This was an experiment with mounting a camera directly onto the kite. With winds gusting to over 30kph up high, the Fresh Wind Barn Door kite was selected...
In a word, it was tricky. I mounted the camera as close as possible to the center of gravity of the kite, but it still ended up quite a few cm closer to the trailing edge than I would have liked. It was only practical to mount he camera - on its bendy tripod (!) - near the diagonal spars crossing point. Electrical tape secured 2 short tripod legs to the diagonal spars, holding the camera upright with the kite sitting on its trailing edge.
It was a struggle to get enough lift to gain much height, and the kite swung dangerously from side to side. Might try the drogues next time! I did my best to urge the kite higher in mid-swing.
Eventually, for a few seconds, the kite got to around 100 feet on almost 200 feet of 200 pound Dacron.
A video clip will of course be forthcoming on Facebook. And only seasoned kite fliers will bother watching it all the whole way through, possibly wrestling with sea-sickness all the while. Hence the title of this post. Still, it was an interesting, if slightly nerve-wracking, outing! At shoulder level, the breeze measured around 9kph gusting to 18.5kph. Some low cloud over the hills was absolutely tearing along, perhaps up around 40kph.
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