Private Flying LAA/BMAA/BGA/BPA The sheer pleasure of flight.


Old 23rd Nov 2010, 17:06
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having read an article recently on gyrocopters, I quite fancy a go in one. has anyone any experience of them and are they easy to fly/land. i particularly like what appears to be a very slow landing speed with no stall
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Old 23rd Nov 2010, 18:21
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Yes, Magificent! I flew with Frank at: Tragschrauber Flugunternehmung last summer, and had a blast. If I were not so happy with the plane I own, I'd have one of these!

I highly recommend you go and have a flight with Frank in Germany, you'll be sold...
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Old 23rd Nov 2010, 18:46
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Gyrocopters are a lot of fun, and for the most part, very easy to fly. They're flown more like a conventional gear airplane than anything. The land slowly, they're easy to maneuver, and running out of rotor energy is not really a problem as they're always in a constant state of autorotation.

Some gyros are safer than others, and some are easier than others. The only real danger to flying a gyro, perhaps a little more of a problem on some of the cheaper or earlier designs, is "bunting." From the pilot perspective, this is a tendency to go nose down and dive into the ground; clearly an undesirable thing. It's a pilot-induced situation involving reversal of airflow through the rotor disc. It can be brought on by a hard pushover, and it can be unrecoverable.

Gyros that use a vertical stabilizer are less likely to bunt, and gyros that have the centerline of thrust (axis of the crankshaft, essentially) in line with the center of gravity of the gyro tend to be more resistant to bunting, as well. This is the reason that you'll see a lot of gyro designs out there with the pilot sitting in what looks like an unusually high position, with longer spindly legs; the design has been made to put the center of gravity higher, and in line with, or above the center of thrust.

The center of thrust is naturally high because of the need to elevate the engine to give propeller clearance.

Some designs use a horizontal stabilizer, some don't. The gyro design dictates, but designs not using a horizontal stabilizer tend to be ones that are more "expert" in nature, and ones that are far less forgiving.

You'll also see two basic power configurations; pusher, and tractor. More gyros are found as pushers these days, but the original configuration, and generally the most stable, is the tractor arrangement. This also more fully replicates a fixed wing airplane.

A few gyros have an elementary collective control, and with adequate rotor inertia before takeoff, are capable of a "jump start," or "jump takeoff" that requires no forward roll. The Air and Space 18A was one such gyro, but very few gyros can do this. Most use a "pre-rotator" to get an initial spin on the rotor, then use the forward takeoff roll to get the rotor going the rest of the way. Rolls tend to be fairly short, and landing rolls are extremely short. In fact, one can generally land, and come to a stop, and with a little back pressure on the stick, move backward.

Various degrees of enclosure can be had with different gyro designs. Some leave the user out in the breeze, while others entirely encapsulate the user.

Find a reputable trainer and get an introductory ride. Be forewarned; gyro flying is very addictive, and a LOT of fun.
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Old 23rd Nov 2010, 19:31
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Gyro flying in the UK appears to centered at Little Rissington
A few years ago the UK CAA reduced the credits for fixed wing pilots because of the large number of incidents involving bunting as described by SNS3Guppy
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Old 23rd Nov 2010, 19:52
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This sounds like the classic hazard for fixed-wing pilots making the transition to helicopters.

If I could risk a gross generalisation: when a heli pilot loses the plot, he pulls back on the cyclic (among other things). The FW pilot might 'let go' or push forward the yoke.
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Old 23rd Nov 2010, 20:01
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This weekend

Fantastic seat-of-the-pants flying with touring capability

Suggest you get yourself to the NEC Birmingham this weekend:
Welcome to The Flying Show - the UK's Largest Indoor Aviation Event

British Rotorcraft Association for UK flying schools:
British Rotorcraft Association
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Old 23rd Nov 2010, 20:09
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Sir George Cayley
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Gyrocopters = Good

Autogyros = Bad

I say this because all the people I know who have owned autogyros have crashed them, one fatally.

Sir George Cayley
Old 23rd Nov 2010, 20:50
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... and the difference is....?
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Old 23rd Nov 2010, 23:26
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What's in a name?

I believe gyroplane is the word used in the ANO and by the CAA, which appears to be a generic term to describe all flying machines of that category. Gyrocopter and Autogyro are particular company's tradenames for their own versions or models of gyroplane, which have come into common usage. Gyrocopter is used by Benson and Autogyro (or Autogiro) by Cierva.

Similar to other commercial examples such as Hoover/vacuum cleaner (for those of us old enough to remember the pre-Dyson years), JCB/excavator and Perspex/acrylic sheet.
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Old 24th Nov 2010, 00:01
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As to the term used to describe a gyro.

My F.A.A. license is described as a.

Commercial Gyroplane Pilot License.

Guppy has explained it well.
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Old 24th Nov 2010, 12:49
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I wonder how many recall the famous Fairey Rotodyne A gyroplane that used compressed air to initially turn the rotor before it reverted to an autogyro. One remaining example resides in the Woodley Air Museum.
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Old 24th Nov 2010, 14:09
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I do remember the Rotodyne, at least as an Airfix 1/72nd model I assembled almost 50 years ago. It is reputed to have been terribly noisy - a complaint not often heard from aviation enthusiasts.
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Old 25th Nov 2010, 13:55
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Thanks for your responses. I had a look at bunting mentioned by guppy and whoppity. One of the clips on U tube show a chap lower the nose pick a spot on the ground and the fly straight at it which looked a bit frightening. Burylad - I will take a trip to the NEC on Sunday to have a look at whats on offer as long as it doesnt snow heavily.
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Old 25th Nov 2010, 16:00
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Must say I'm more & more impressed by the development of autogyros over the last few years and am getting sorely tempted to give it a try:

Two questions:

Does anyone know how the PPL(G) syllabus takes into account the experience of a PPL(A)?

Does the 500' rule not apply? There's a terrific video here Chris Jones Gyroplanes | Trial Flights & Gift Vouchers just scroll down & play the taster video
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Old 25th Nov 2010, 16:36
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If you are interested in learning how to fly gyros then take a look at the British Rotorcraft Association website and look at the list of Instructors and / or the Gyrocopter Experience . For the record I run the Gyrocopter Experience at Old Sarum.

Gyrocopters, Gyroplanes and Autogyros arer all the same thing. Gyroplane is the "official" title (as used by the CAA and FAA), autogyro is the term used by Ken Wallis (of Little Nellie fame) and many others, gyrocopter is the most searched name on Google.

The accident record of gyros in the UK has been transformed since the arrival of factory-built aircraft certified to BCAR Section T (the UK CAA's light gyroplane approval standard). Prior to 2006 there were about 40 to 50 gyroplanes flying in the UK at any one time and we averaged one fatal a year. Since 2006 the number of gyroplanes in the UK has trebled, the amount of flying taking place has increased massively (due to the better capability and usability of the factory-built machines) and we haven't had a single fatal accident in the factory-built Section T aircraft.

Before anyone jumps on me not all of the amateur built gyroplanes were or are bad, but it's hard for the newcomer to know which aircraft they can trust and which they can't. They also require a certain degree of dedication to build and / or maintain, so it's not for everyone.

The minimum training requirement for a PPL(G) is 40 hours. If you hold a PPl(A), and NPPL(A), an NPPL(M) or a gliding Silver C you get a 10 hour credit. If you hold a PPL(H) you get a 20 hour credit. Full details are in LASORS (on the CAA website).

If youy can get to The Flying Show at the NEC this weekend then the industry will be well represented - as well as the BRA there will be manufacturers' stands (Magni and Rotorsport UK) as well as The Gyrocopter Experience - our main aim at the show is to provide education - to introduce people to the world of gyroplanes and help them take their first steps to becoming a gyro pilot.

The current issue of Flyer magazine has a write-up on the Magni M16, the next edition of the LAA mag has a report on the Magni M24. Both are worth a look if you want to know what it is like to fly one. Alternatively just find yourself an Instructor with a factory-built aircraft and find out for yourself!

Last edited by GyroSteve; 25th Nov 2010 at 16:52.
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Old 26th Nov 2010, 07:45
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Hopefully if the weather isnt too bad I will have a look at some at the Flying exhibition on Sunday at the NEC. Having only had a few hours lessons in a Cessna I had given some thought to swapping to a gyrocopter a. because it looks like fun and b. because the landing looked easier at nice slow speeds without the risk of stalling but maybe it only looks easy in the hands of an expert. A trial lesson when the weather gets better is probably the best way forward.
Steve - I take your point about the factory built ones. Some of the early ones did look a bit heath robinson.
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Old 26th Nov 2010, 09:42
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GyroSteve - many thanks for the information, I will be down at the NEC show on Sunday so may get chance to say hello!!

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Old 26th Nov 2010, 10:20
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Have a look at rotarywingforum, all your questions about gyro's will be answered with a quick search of the archive and if not they are mostly a friendly bunch happy to answer your questions.
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Old 26th Nov 2010, 23:00
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Chasg; It is fun. Landings are a doddle. Vertical descents are a blast.
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Old 27th Nov 2010, 19:19
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Here's a taster;

YouTube - KK070810 Happiness is a vertical yaw string.MOV
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