Little Wing Autogyros LW-2


The LW-1 aircraft was taxi tested and then test flown. It flew remarkably easy. It also had no stick shake. It was, however, not a very good performer due to its weight and the small diameter rotor used for testing. It was primarily a "proof-of-concept" aircraft anyway. The concept seemed to be on target. Herron immediately began building the LW-2. This was to be an ultralight version of the LW-1.
Within two months three people had it built and assembled. Basically, it was a scaled-down Piper Cub type frame built from start to finish with new 4130 chromoly steel tubing. Initial flight testing was done without paint or fabric installed. It was powered by a McCulloch drone engine (removed from an old Bensen). Its initial flights were without incident and without any difficulty. After a few flights it was stripped down and painted, and reassembled, still without fuselage fabric. It an additional 15 hours before tearing down for a complete fabric job to get it ready to show. This took it out of the "ultralight" category which limited it to 254 Ib. Most people had a negative attitude toward the McCulloch, so it was replaced with a water-cooled AMW engine of 70 horsepower. This engine featured dual ignition, alternator and electric start. This aircraft was shown at the PRA International Convention and EAA's Oshkosh in 1995, '96 and '97. It proved to be a remarkably stable craft. It was somewhat difficult to handle on the ground in a strong wind due to the inability to move the rotor in the fore-aft direction. Herron learned to deal with this by turning the aircraft sideways to the wind and tipping the disc laterally, into or away, from the wind as was required. This craft was so stable that it was compared it to a similar machine with a fully tilting head. Thus, LW-3 was born.

Main Rotor: 23 to 27 feet
Blade Chord: 7 inches
Length Overall: (rotor turning) 23-27 feet
Length of Aircraft without Rotor installed: 18 feet (16 feet, short-versions)
Wheel Track: 7 feet
Wheel Base: 13 feet - (11.5 feet, short-versions)
Landing Gear: Conventional (tailgear)
Overall Height: 8.5 feet
Cabin Width: 26 inches
Cabin Height: 42 inches
Cabin Length:
Approx. 49 inches (single)
75 inches (2-place)
Baggage: Small shelf aft seat(s) 10 lbs. max.
Rotor Disc Area: 415 Sq. feet (23 ft.) / 573 Sq. feet (27 ft.)
Disc Loading (@ gross wt.): 1.8 lb./sq. ft. single-place (23 ft.) / 1.9 lb./sq.ft., 2-place (27 ft.)
Tailplane Area:
Vertical Fin: 4.52 Sq. feet
Tip Shields: (2) 1.59 Sq. feet each
Rudder: 3.3 Sq. feet
Horizontal Stabilizer: 8.8 Sq. feet LW-3 series (8 Sq. feet for elevator models)
Elevator: (LW-2 and LW-2+2) 9 Sq. feet
Control Method: laterally-tilting head with elevator (LW-2, long frames only).
Rotor/horizontal tail volume ratio: 22% for long frame / 14.9% for short frame.
Empty Weight:
(Single-Place): 351 lbs. w/Rotax 582-618, 2Si 540-L(two-stroke powered) / 452 lbs. w/ 2180 VW (four-stroke powered)
(Two-Place): 451 lbs. w/ Hirth F-30 (two-stroke powered) / 520 lbs. w/ Rotax 914 (four-stroke powered)
Gross Weight: 750 lbs. Single-Place
Fuel Capacity: 8.5 US gal. (single-place)
Cruise Speed: 65 - 75 mph
Minimum Speed: 15 - 20 mph
Landing Speed: 10 - 15 mph
Takeoff distance: 100-750 ft
Landing Roll: 0-25 ft.
Construction: Welded SAE 4130 steel tubing, Dacron fabric covering.