A Flying Sculpture
Angel is not a recumbent or a poem but she is art. Art with a lots of engineering thrown in.
Back in the 1980's I learned to fly autogyros. I purchased my first one in Texas, it was and old Bensen design with a VW conversion engine on it. After flying this ship for a few years I began to study autogyro design and aerodynamics. That is how I came to design Angel. I also worked on a autogyro design for the Japanese company Sumitomo. They had hired an aircraft designer out of New Mexico to build a new prototype. A friend of mine was hired to be the test pilot. Their design was greatly flawed and was very unstable and dangerous. With just two months till the Tokyo Air Show Sumitomo's people were very unhappy. My friend the test pilot suggested to them that they have have me look at their project and see if I could solve their problems. So the whole aircraft was shipped to Arizona. There were so many issues with the design that I virtually had to start from scratch. I did happen to have an airframe from an autogyro glider that I had built earlier. So that became the basis for the ship that went to the Tokyo Air Show for Sumitomo. My friend the test pilot and I had only 14 days to build a ship that would fly, before it had to be shipped to Japan. It was a rushed project done with very little sleep, but we did manage to get it done.
The experience of building the Sumitomo autogyro was the driving inspiration for me to build my own design. Angel was the result. I hope you enjoy watching Angel fly.
I no longer build or design anything around engines that use carbon based fuels. I take the issues of climate change very seriously. Still Angel was a very stable, fast little gyroplane. I learned a lot designing and building her and the ship for Sumitomo. Flying was a big part of my life for many years. Perhaps new green engines will reach the market that will be suitable for aircraft. If that day comes I will be ready to fly again.
A sad note. My friend that was the test pilot for Sumitomo died a few years later in an autogyro of his own design. Richard Bently was a heck of a pilot and he is still missed.