How The Autogyro Works (It’s In The Name)

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Mr (Chuck) Chumley-Warner Talks Science

OK, sometimes you realise that you know even less than you thought you did and the weekend I extended my personal list by one.

We went to the Branscombe Air – Car show, ostensibly to see the cars and there were some goodies. But the planes stole the show, the Mustang and the Hunter in particular. Afterwards whilst mooching along the airfield en-masse it was time to examine the light aircraft accompanied by a friend (Martine) who had made many of the exhaust systems and at least one of the airframes (well a fair chunk of it).

As I said, the clue’s in the name

Anyway quite a few of these exhaust systems were hooked to Rotax powered Autogyros. Still affected by my Heli flight earlier this year I was a tad surprised to find that the main rotor on an autogyro isn’t actually powered when in flight. It gets better, contrary to popular imaginings this serves to make them rather safe particularly if you lose power.

The video explains it as indeed does this essay.

For now, I feel an burgeoning interest. However I am troubled by the name (Calidus) of the one below. I assume it is named after the Calidus Perregrine

its hunting dive, the stoop,[5] which involves soaring to a great height and then diving steeply at speeds commonly said to be over 320 km/h (200 mph), and hitting one wing of its prey so as not to harm itself on impact (wiki)

Looks great, I want a go.



Steel is Cool though many will not understand this obsession with bicycles

Sat in my hallway is a nice (old) Gazelle Reynolds framed road-bike. Elsewhere there is an even older Dawes Super-Galaxy, again Renyolds framed, this one with a Brooks saddle. There is also an old-school Diamondback BMX.

I like bikes, I like them a lot, preferably steel, or titanium, and they don’t need to be too new either. For me a simple bike is a thing of beauty that combines engineering, design and minimalism.

Cinelli Track Bike

Cinelli Track Bike

As a teacher I used to do a design lesson where I showed pupils pictures of things I liked the design of; Guzzis, Porsches, Minis, Trangia cookers… The common link was design. I knew I was getting through when a Year 9 girl saw the Cinelli track bike (shown) and said “that’s dead sexy that is”. She meant it, she was correct too.

I love going to London in part because of the cycling scene there. Twenty (plus) years ago, as a student, I was a cycle courier, I guess it was a relatively new thing then. At the time I rode a mix of bikes: Rory O’Brien, Holdsworth, Ellis-Briggs and latterly an early Ridgeback. Sadly in the first week I crashed the Ellis Briggs, I rode into the back of a Ford Granada stopped outside Kings Cross station. I ended up lying on the guy’s boot and can still remember the look of surprise as he looked in his rear view mirror, fortunately he had checked before diving away with me there. The frame needed re-building and I had the pleasure of using Tom Board who was at the time making Paris cycles, this honour made the accident almost worthwhile.


The London scene is vibrant and organic. Recently we have sat outside pubs in Islington and watched as cycle polo teams have returned en-masse riding a selection of unique machines. On one occasion I was almost tempted to pull the classic Bob Jackson from the pile to protect it from damage. There is a range of styles and approaches but, once again, steel is king, whether it is an original or a fixie, and, if it is adorned by leather and a bit of canvas then so much the better.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell the recreations from the re-builds not that this is an issue. There are a number of boutique dealers such as Tokyo Fixed in Soho where you are likely to find all manner of classic machinery.
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Energy seems to have totally left me to be replaced by “full body ache”.

I came close to getting a little Mac Mini earlier today but backed out. it was a neat little old thing and probably would have done the job. All I need is something to work as an FTP server which to be honest I don’t really need. The old Digital Audio is doing the job but is annoyingly noisy. The Mini came with some potentially useful little bits, Bluetooth keyboard & mouse etc. Anyway it didn’t happen.

A friend phoned up out of the blue with a PC failure. I don’t really ‘do’ PC’s but fortunately her’s seemed to  be on the way to rewinding itself to the point when  it went naughty on her. If only all life were as easy.

I seem to be suffering a bit of a more you know – less you know moment.

(Yesterday has turned into today, soon to be tomorrow).
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