An inboard profile of Skyway Engineering's version of Pitcairn's AC-35. The drive system is shown clearly but the control system does not show.
Pitcairn PA~36 showing "buried" engine installation, Harold F. Pitcairn stepping out. Note four-bladed propeller turning in the opposite direction to the U.S. norm. (Philadelphia Ledger Photo)
The PA-36 was possibly the most beautiful autogiro ever built. It was the last autogiro built and designed by the original Pitcairn group.
The fuselage was crafted from gleaming sheet aluminum, Pitcairn had no experience with this type of construction, so fuselages for two PA-36s were built by Luscombe Airplane Company who at that time was located in nearby Trenton, New Jersey.
The PA-36 began flying in 1939, most of the early flying was done by Lew Leavitt who had been chief test pilot for Kellett Autogiro Company. Later Fred "Slim" Soule took over when Lew went to Piatt LePage Helicopter Company to fly theXR-1. The forward landing gear on the PA-36 was steerable for use when the autogiro was driven over the road.
The powerplant in this craft was a 165 hp Warner Super Scarab. This engine was mount ed in the fuselage, aft of the cabin as in the PA-35. It was necessary to cool it with a fan. It might be suspected that the work done on cooling this engine with a fan can be credited with some of the success of the Sikorsky R-4 helicopter, which later used the same engine. Sikorsky had signed up about that time as a licensee of Autogiro Company of America to take advantage of some of the Pitcairn rotor systems and rotor control patents.
The blades were similar to the earlier autogiros with some exceptions. The blades were tapered in thickness and plan shape. The main members were the usual heat treated steel tube. These were different in that they were not round but elliptical in shape and were tapered from the inboard end to the tip. They also changed in wall thickness from heavy at the inboard to light at the tip. If the spar had a constant taper from root
Pitcairn PA-36 at Pitcairn Factory, '¡he beautiful fuselage was buill for Pitcairn by Luscombe Airplane Co., Trenton, New Jersey.
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