A gyrocopter is a type of small aircraft that resembles a helicopter. However the rotor is not powered but rotates by air uplift. Its thrust is provided by an engine-driven propeller, similar to a fixed-wing airplane. They range from sophisticated commercial products with a cockpit to simple home built aircraft. The simplest ones consist of a frame with a seat, engine, propeller, rotor and wheels attached to the frame. These are very light craft and weight concerns are paramount. One of the steps in building a gyrocopter is to install a fuel tank. Attaching a fuel tank is a simple project but must be done with care.
Step 1 - Choose a Fuel Tank
The size of the fuel tank is determined by the flight ranges expected. A larger tank means a further distance can be traveled. The disadvantage to a larger tank is that it adds to the weight of the craft and may affect weight distribution. The tank must also be light, durable and weatherproof so it is usually made of plastic.
Step 2 – Determine the Location
The tank should be mounted in middle of plane. This will help in weight distribution. It should also be close enough to the engine so that fuel won’t travel too far.
Step 3 – Prepare the Frame
Measure and mark the position of the holes in the frame. Drill the holes into the frame.
Step 4 – Prepare the Mounting Plate
The tank will be held to the frame with a mounting plate or brace. Measure the holes drilled in the frame and match them to the mounting plate. Mark the position of the holes. Drill the holes into the plate or brace.
Step 5 – Attach the Mounting Plate
Attach the mounting plate to the frame with fasteners and secure well.
Step 6 – Mount the Fuel Tank
Line the mounting plate holes up to the fuel tank and insert the bolts. Attach the nut and tighten securely.
Step – 7 Test the Fit
When landing a plane it will flex. Be sure the tank is secure but won’t rub up against or be punctured by anything if there is some movement in the plane. Also if it is near any part that will be hot you will want to add insulation between the tank and that point.
Step – 8 Connect to the Engine
Connect the fuel tank to the engine. Be sure the connections are secure and tested.
There is another version of the fuel tank that is available. It is attached to the seat. It is molded so that the seat fits with the tank. These are mounted as an assembly and are attached to the middle of the frame. This specialized tank will come with specific installation instructions.