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Fri, Jul 30, 2004

Carter Copter's Little Brother

Monarch Butterfly Stands In For CCTD

By ANN Correspondent Kevin O'Brien

What do you do when you're a technology inventor and your one technology demonstrator is tied up in a series of projects for various government contracts? Oh, and no hope of just throwing together a duplicate of your technology demonstrator, because it's so loaded with advanced technology it took a lot of time and resources to get together in the first place.

Well, if you're Carter Aviation Technologies of Wichita Falls, TX, then you supplement your advanced Carter Copter Technology Demonstrator (CCTD) gyroplane with a simpler gyroplane, the Monarch Butterfly from the Butterfly, LLC of Carter (no relation?), OK. "The flight characteristics of the Monarch closely mimic those of Carter's full-size CCTD at speeds less than 75 MPH, but in a very simple design," Carter said in a release.

While many of Carter's innovations are based on the company's quest for ultra-high-speed gyro flight, and require the CCTD's power, size, and sophisticated aerodynamics to be tested, many more can be wrung out on a simple open-frame gyroplane. As the Monarch was the first aircraft to use licensed, patented Carter technology, and the principals of the two firms have had many and varied dealings already, the choice of the Monarch was a natural. The bolted-frame construction of The Butterfly, LLC's aircraft also makes modification suitably simple for a technology testbed.

The test program will primarily involve Carter's novel rotor, propeller, and landing gear technologies.

The Monarch is the experimental counterpart to the part-103 compliant Butterfly ultralight. The Monarch differs from the ultralight in having a larger Rotax 582 twin-carb engine, and G-Force energy absorbing landing gear, based on a Carter-licensed "Smart Strut". (The landing gear in the CCTD is based on the same Smart Strut technology)

Carter and The Butterfly celebrated their partnership with a dramatic demonstration of the Monarch Butterfly's G-Force landing gear during the Manufacturer Showcase at Oshkosh on Tuesday, July 27th. This landing gear permits landing with previously unimaginable vertical descent rates. A patented strut decelerates the aircraft at a steady rate across the strut's entire range of travel, which clever landing gear design can turn into quite a vertical measurement. In flight, the Monarch's gear hangs down like the legs of a predatory insect; on landing, the Smart Struts compress at a steady rate and, due to the strut design, no energy is left in the system to cause a bounce at the end of the stroke.

"The aircraft simply sets down," said Neal (right). "It doesn't bounce and the deceleration isn't even a hard hit." If your flight instructor can't cure you of bounced landings, the Smart Strut will.

Carter Aviation Technologies and Larry Neal have a long-standing and multi-level relationship. Larry is Carter's chief test pilot for the Carter Copter Technology Demonstrator; Larry's company, The Butterfly, LLC, licenses the patented Carter Smart Strut for the Monarch; and now, the circle is closed with Carter's purchase of one of Larry's machines.

Larry's name may be familiar to you even if you're not tuned in to the gyro wavelength; he's a long time fixture in the world of ultralights as a dealer and one-time manufacturer of the Phantom ultralight. But Larry's passion is gyros, and he promises that he is far from finished developing his aircraft.

We'll have more news from The Butterfly for you (tomorrow, we hope). The avalanche of news is challenging even our capacity for writing about it. But we will not fail, we will not flag, we will not falter.



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