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Kerbin Helicopter Circumnavigation


Hotel26
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Kerbin Helicopter Circumnavigation

O5Be4uM.jpg

 

The Kerbin Helicopter Circumnavigation committee is pleased to announce the first Helicopter Circumnavigation fly-fest of Kerbin.

All participants are welcome but must provide their own equipment, JET-A and support team.

Objectives of your mission, should you accept it:
• choose any location on Kerbin as starting point
• fly by any route to the exact opposite side of the planet[1]
• (check that opposite point is land, not water, before you depart)
• publish photos/coordinates at the end of each leg, as you refuel
• by all means, post photos along the way of peachy-keen scenery for your fans following your progress
• having reached your opposite point, return to your starting point by any route you like, continuing to document progress on each leg
• land at your starting point
• congratulations, you will have covered at least 3,770 km in a chopper and entered a Hall of Fame of now-permanently one-handed aviators (as your right hand will remain clenched and useless forever)
• you will receive a badge and the adulation of your aforesaid fans
• You Must Use A Helicopter!

For the purposes of this exercise, a Helicopter will employ main rotors, unlocked and spinning in a co-relatively fixed plane, at all times during flight, as its primary means of lift.  Other forms of propulsion are permissible as long as the aircraft remains intact throughout the flight.

Kudos will be awarded tacitly to participants who demonstrate endurance, good photography with a keen sense of natural beauty, as well as possibly innovative design features.  (You are not required, however, to use equipment of your own design.)  Participants are strongly encouraged to provide a map update of their progress.  The one posted above can be downloaded and marked up as desired...

Missions officially kick off on December 1st but participants may start any time they are ready.  You are welcome to post progress in this topic or in your own dedicated thread, as you wish, and I will happily cross-link this topic to yours upon request.

[1] as a working example, if you chose the KSC coordinates, 0° 6′ 9″ S / 74° 34′ 31″ W as your departure point, your trip opposite point would be: 0° 6′ 9″ N / 105° 25′ 29″ E.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

 

                                                                      Kerbin Helicopter Circumnavigation Expedition

                                                                                                          Glorious Expeditioneers
                                                                                                                        Honor Roll

 

                                   2020-12-08 @ralanboyle Speed distinction: 4h 55m  
  2021-03-16 @xendelaar    
  2021-05-10 @Hotel26 20 Legs!  (Duh.)  
         
         
         
  (Those listed above
are entitled to
display this badge,
e.g. in signature)
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Edited by Hotel26
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12 minutes ago, Pds314 said:

I will be very impressed if anyone can do this with a swashplate helicopter.

You mean like with an actual swash plate built using robotics parts and same-vessel interactions, as opposed to just enabling built-in cyclic control on the rotor blades? That sounds like a potentially interesting engineering challenge. Also probably liable to summon the kraken if the RPM gets too high. I guess the real challenge would be making it work with SAS...

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Huh this'll be interesting to follow.  Although done with ye olde turbo prop tech, I have managed to do 40 minutes of sustained ~70 m/s flight (which itself was a challenge). Doing the math thats about 200 km That was also using afterburning panthers for speed, (at some points) though and also using (mostly aesthetic?) stubby wings so how useful of a comparison it is is questionable..

If you do use more efficient tech, it might not be totally insane.....

I think water hugging or not depends on the inter-fuel drop range of your craft. Let's first see though if it is possible.

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5 hours ago, vyznev said:

You mean like with an actual swash plate built using robotics parts and same-vessel interactions, as opposed to just enabling built-in cyclic control on the rotor blades? That sounds like a potentially interesting engineering challenge. Also probably liable to summon the kraken if the RPM gets too high. I guess the real challenge would be making it work with SAS...

I've done that. Basically the first interesting thing I made in BG. But it's twitchy to control and has so many ways to break. Also it's broken since 1.7.3 I think.

As for using SAS to control it, the only way you're gonna do that is if you have control surfaces instead of pistons manipulating the cyclic pitch on the swashplate.

Also made a swashplate before BG but it was too fragile and heavy to take off, as the system involved 13 different crafts in lose formation.

This is without SAS or reaction wheel control.

 

Edited by Pds314
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This is the kind of route I had in mind (when I say water-hugging):

qyQCwjY.jpg

It might not fit my own definition (in OP) of "circumnavigation" since most of it is south of the equator, but it would satisfy my thirst for scenery along the way.  A better rule definition might be that the straight-line distance between landing points add up to 3,770 km.  (Participants would just log lat/lon of all refueling points.)

Alternatively, any trip that lands at the exact opposite point of the globe from the starting point, and then returns (by any route) is certainly as long as any circumnavigation, and this one is a very simple rule to apply.

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5 hours ago, Pds314 said:

As for using SAS to control it, the only way you're gonna do that is if you have control surfaces instead of pistons manipulating the cyclic pitch on the swashplate.

Either that, or maybe a reaction wheel attached to the swashplate could work. I haven't tested it yet, though.

5 hours ago, Pds314 said:

Also made a swashplate before BG but it was too fragile and heavy to take off, as the system involved 13 different crafts in lose formation.

So basically like a real helicopter, then, only with fewer parts. :D

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15 hours ago, chadgaskerman said:

My current prototype capable of stable flight at just a smidge over 100m/s

And very nice it is, too!

15 hours ago, chadgaskerman said:

i see no reason as to why it can't just go around kerbin on autopilot.

And a badge for you, if you do!

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Update:

Craft can now travel upwards of 200m/s (no time warp is a big issue for long haul flights)

also route consists of 5 stops to segment the journey and make it more bearable for me, other wise it would take about 5 hours through and through from my calculations.

The stops take place on other craft of mine able to facilitate the landing of a helicopter.

fekkUHS.jpg

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"A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by horizontally-spinning rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forward, backward and laterally. These attributes allow helicopters to be used in congested or isolated areas where fixed-wing aircraft and many forms of VTOL (Vertical TakeOff and Landing) aircraft cannot perform.

The English word helicopter is adapted from the French word hélicoptère, coined by Gustave Ponton d'Amécourt in 1861, which originates from the Greek helix (ἕλιξ) "helix, spiral, whirl, convolution"[1] and pteron (πτερόν) "wing".[2][3][4][5] English language nicknames for “helicopter” include "chopper", "copter", "heli", and "whirlybird". In the United States military, the common slang is “helo” pronounced with a long "e".

Helicopters were developed and built during the first half-century of flight, with the Focke-Wulf Fw 61 being the first operational helicopter in 1936. Some helicopters reached limited production, but it was not until 1942 that a helicopter designed by Igor Sikorsky reached full-scale production,[6] with 131 aircraft built.[7] Although most earlier designs used more than one main rotors, the configuration of a single main rotor (monocopter) accompanied by a vertical anti-torque tail rotor has become the most common helicopter configuration. Twin-main rotor helicopters (bicopters), in either tandem or transverse rotors configurations, are also in use due to their greater payload capacity than the monorotor design. Coaxial-rotor helicopters, tiltrotor aircraft, and compound helicopters are all flying today. Quadrotor helicopters (quadcopters) were pioneered as early as 1907 in France, and other types of multicopters have been developed for specialized applications such as drones."

thank you wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicopter

Edited by chadgaskerman
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11 hours ago, chadgaskerman said:

"A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by horizontally-spinning rotors."

Yes so the way I read this, there are multiple types of rotorcraft of which a helicopter is just one, and one of the distinguishing features or perhaps the defining feature of this type of rotorcraft is that both the lift and the thrust are provided primarilly or even entirely via the main rotor(s).

Not via an external source of lift like a wing or lift jet, and not via an external source of thrust like a forward-facing jet or propeller. So a vehicle in which forward thrust is achieved via forward-facing propellers would appear to be a rotorcraft of some kind other than a helicopter.

EDIT: but I guess OP has clarified the definition themselves and therefore their definition takes precedence over Wikipedia's.

Edited by Pds314
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1.10 Swashplate development status: not going well.

Or at least, not if I want a swashplate that the SAS can control. I think the biggest problem is that the little universal joins are just too capable of moving in translation, not just rotation, and there are 10 of them holding this thing together. Seriously this thing has 32 of the smallest hinges.

nJjvxmk.png

Edited by Pds314
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21 hours ago, Pds314 said:

Opinion: it's a hybrid aircraft if it's propelled by forward jets/props. Real helos are full rotor-propelled.

while in principle I dont disagree, with the KSP aero model being the way it is I dont mind being somewhat more lenient with defining helicopter as "thing that uses rotors for lift" since you know,  proper swashplates and cyclic control are hard.

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Oh BTW, you can probably avoid spinning your blades at all and remove any angle of attack past about 100 m/s lol. Breaking Ground helicopter blades are so efficient they work like fixed wings at low RPM.

Here is my current vehicle at 250 m/s with supersonic bladetips on its coaxial prop and rotor blades at 0.0 RPM. It should have a range long enough to circumnavigate Kerbin several times at this speed, and it will not matter if I turn the rotor back on and give it AOA.



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Proof it is indeed a helicopter:

CDYuXrE.png

 

Curious what will happen when I convert it to hybrid propulsion. Do Helicopter blades work well at supersonic speeds?

 

(Obviously the rotors would normally be spinning. I'm just saying they aren't generating extra lift at these speeds by doing so at some irrelevant 15 RPM or something).

Edited by Pds314
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/19/2020 at 4:10 PM, Pds314 said:

Opinion: it's a hybrid aircraft if it's propelled by forward jets/props. Real helos are full rotor-propelled.

(I'd not been getting updates on this topic, causing me to "tune out" a bit.  I'm glad to see preparations are moving forward!!)

I did consult one of the forum's Premier Helicopter Consultants on this subject and he stated the following (reproduced without permission):
 

Quote

 

I would split this into a few categories:

1. Classic

Any aircraft that derives both thrust and lift from a spinning rotor or rotors (hereafter "main rotors"), which may have no controls apart from cyclic and collective. A secondary rotor for yaw control is permitted, but that may only have a control for pitch.

2. Compound - Propeller

As above, except that thrust may be augmented by propellers and lift by winglets. The craft must be capable of hovering and forward flight without use of its thrust augmentation. The main rotor(s) must remain unlocked and rotating while flying.

3. Compound - Jet

As above, except that thrust may be augmented by jet power.

-- I can think of all kinds of loopholes, kerbal physics being what they are, but I don't know how productive it would be to try to stamp them out by lawyering. For example, I could make a really fast "classic" helo fitting that definition by using ducted fans and a selectable forward/up control point; take off with the forward control point, nose down to accelerate, when past 45 degrees switch to the up control point and continue nosing down to keep the vector on the horizon. I expect that would be able to get close to 300 m/s, but it wouldn't look much like a helicopter anymore. 

 

 

My reply:
 

Quote

 

Thank you very much!  Distilling yours above, it seems like requiring "spinning main rotors in a horizontal plane during flight" pretty much doses the equation for helicopter endurance?

(Re the categories: good idea.  I do have in mind a "group hike" kind of feel to this Mission.  With a mix of endurance, scenic exploration and designs on display.  Participate: get the badge.  Does that sound like it works?  If we see some great helicopters: bonus.)

 

 

And his final:

Quote

Sounds good to me. I like the idea of a non-competitive challenge too!

I'm not adverse to some competitive entries, as some great tech will come out of it.    Think of a helicopter (for our purposes here) as a "slightly faster rover with a considerably better view".  :)

                                                                                           

I have just this evening finally finished commissioning my new, 64GB memory machine to run KSP.  And I have built a service vehicle specifically for this challenge:

oUORUEr.png

I will launch my adventure tomorrow and plan to take between 1-3 months to complete it.  Look forward to seeing everyone else's progress, too!!

Edited by Hotel26
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                                                          The Dick Smith Kerbin Heli-Circumnavigation Attempt

Progress Map:

lShFw5a.jpg

[Leg 1]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

I have assembled my team and equipment.  The helo is a Chippewa and the refueler/support vehicle is an Euler.  Pilots are Dick Smith (left) and Amelia Kerman (right).  Wish them luck!

CoHtbG9.png

We'll be departing the KSC, heading westward ho.  The Euler will survey/plot the route in advance.  The Chippewa endurance is a measly 100-120 km, so we'll be taking it easy on legs until we get a good grip on what she can do.

The mission will be conducted in my Orbit (production) world, which means that advance planning to keep 30m of daylight every day, clear of other operations, will be required.  The team will be flying only during daylight hours.

[Leg 1]

Edited by Hotel26
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Leg 1 [prev] [next] [progress]

MeEO9dK.png   x3qYrQF.png   9S6XGiu.png   A2RzTxj.png   [click + arrows]

Departed: KSC @ 3y155d 4h28m    Airborne: 25m50s    Heading: 305    Distance: 87 km    Altitude: 3 km    Arrival: 4.08/-82.29

One very shaken Dick Smith, tunic drenched in sweat, disembarked to be greeted by a small throng of reporters.  Asked about the flight, the only words he could manage were, "grueling" and "harrowing".  Nevertheless, the wide grin expressed jubilation (and/or relief)!

Edited by Hotel26
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Dick has flown back to the KSC to view a demonstration of the new Chippewa 2, incorporating "quality-of-life" changes he has requested.

The new machine will be flown out over the same Leg 1, shortly.

 

Later that day (5h32m), Kendo Kerman ferried in the replacement Chippewa 2 and landed.  Dick took the controls and mounted the Euler for fuel resupply...

PFdUe7k.png   SDrwBI2.png   3rR0IH4.png   [click & arrows]

 

Edited by Hotel26
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