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Optimizing the performance of the Gyro stabilized airplane control surface

The optimization of the performance has a number of factors. All contribute to how well the control surface is stabilized using a gyro.

  1. Minimize slop in your control surface linkage. This is by far the most important thing you can do.  Imagine how hard it would be to drive in a NASCAR race if your steering system had alot of play in it? Same thing for a gyro stabilized control surface.  Move your control surface and see how much it moves w/o moving the servo. This is your play.  You want to minimize this the best you can.  
  2. Use Digital Servos.  Digital Servos can develop full torque with even the slightest servo position error. Analog servos, do not do this and develop more torque the further the position error is.  What this can do is allow the control surface to actually move faster under load when the position only needs to move a small amount. Do not be fooled by servo speed specifications. Those specifications are for an unloaded servo.  An loaded Digital servo that is .12 Sec/60degrees will move faster to the desired position than an Analog servo of the same specification. 
  3. Use a servo with good centering. Easy to say, but hard to determine. Servo Centering is the ability of the servo to move then come back to the same point. CLICK HERE FOR a review of the Solar Servos where I show Servo Centering. MOST of the time, you get what you pay for in Servo centering. Most of the name brand servos center well and many of the cheaper budget servos don't.  Generally within the same brand, Digital servos will center (especially under load) better than an analog servo. you will not see specifications for servo centering very often but personal opinions will count.
  4. Use a servo with more torque than Normal. A servo with more torque specification will move faster under load than a servo with lower torque specification of the same speed. 
  5. Stiff Control surfaces.  The more flex in a control surface, the more flapping around it will be doing and there will be a slight LAG in the response at higher air speeds.  If you can reinforce the control surface with CF or Fiberglass strips on foam planes, that is benificial. 
  6. Stiff Wing/Elevator/Tail surfaces. A flexable and floppy wing does not aide in controlability of the control surface. Like a floppy control surface, all the wing warping will affect the gyro's ability to control and stabilize.  Reinforce wing with CF to make it as reasonably stiff as possible.  Keep in mind, that EPP type wings are designed for crash worthyness so stiffening it up, may affect it's ability to bounde back from a rough landing and put more force on the point where it hits the ground.
With all these factors comming into play, I will say that you should NOT get too caught up in every little detail.  Start with the slop and choose digital servos if you do not have them already.  I say there is no need to go and rip apart your airplane and use the above list like a checklist and make every single mod.  Go ahead and try a gyro in rate mode first and if it does not meet your satisfaction,then one by one (if you like) go ahead and address the different factors.  You may find that with a given plane and it's charactoristics that changing servos for example, may make no noticable difference.  These are all "factors" that come into play and each may have significant or insignificant affect on the control changes that the gyro will have on the performance.  Good LUCK!

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