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Autogyro v Helicopter which is safer?

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Autogyro v Helicopter which is safer?

Old 8th Sep 2023, 20:41
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Autogyro v Helicopter which is safer?

I was always led to believe that Autogyros are safer than Helicopters due to their unpowered rotors.
Is this correct. In the event of engine failure which is safer?

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Old 8th Sep 2023, 21:10
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The autogyro was created as an alternative to fixed wing aircraft after a friend of the inventor stalled a plane and died. Most have small engines with lower reliability so while the automatic recovery advantage over fixed wing is a plus, the odds of doing so is higher.

They are as comparable to helicopters as fixed wing operations and fixed wing and autogyros are generally safer because they mainly operate in continuous forward motion and, essentially, never in high risk hover.

Last edited by MechEngr; 9th Sep 2023 at 17:53.
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Old 9th Sep 2023, 10:31
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Originally Posted by MechEngr
The autogyro was created as an alternative to fixed wing aircraft after a friend of the inventor stalled a plane and died. Most have small engines with lower reliability so while the automatic recovery advantage of fixed wing is a plus, the odds of doing so is higher.

They are as comparable to helicopters as fixed wing operations and fixed wing and autogyros are generally safer because they mainly operate in continuous forward motion and, essentially, never in high risk hover.
But whatever you do, do NOT apply negative 'g' to the rotor disk.
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Old 10th Sep 2023, 07:30
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Interesting question !
Their only commonality is the fact they have a rotor rather than a fixed wing .
A gyroplane has less moving parts and cannot hover . Yes it can stop mid-air and will quite safely slowly descend vertically but must be returned to forward flight prior to landing . Are they safer than a helicopter when the engine goes quiet ? I would say marginally yes in that the gyro is already autorotating and therefore you remove the risk of messing up getting the collective down and entering an auto in your helicopter . Other than that their both going down and will require a short run on landing .

I've done many practice auto's in R22's and H300's and must say I find my M24 gyro easier to handle engine off and generally do most of my landings engine off to keep in practice should the day come when the Rotax goes silent on me.

BG .


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Old 10th Sep 2023, 15:06
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OK, so as engines don't quit (as least not in single engine helicopters, they do, as anecdotal evidence has it, quit occasionally in twins, and that should be a non-event, but people do struggle) it kind of doesn't make sense to compare the safety of two different aircraft classes solely based on the simplicity of their engine off emergency procedure.

Rotorcraft accident happen, caused by a variety of reasons: energy mismanagement, CFIT, pilot induced oscillation, neg G, significant turbulence, mismanagement of rotor RPM, over-control, spatial disorientation, mid-airs, rotor strike, tail rotor strike. Some of these cases apply more to gyros than to choppers, some the other way round (TR strike in gyro is not that common).

I hold (or held) licenses for both aircraft. Still I don't consider myself expert enough to answer your question. However, I see gyros mostly being operated during the hour of calm air, mornings and before sunset. That might tell you something.

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Old 10th Sep 2023, 16:14
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It's different horses for different courses.
In these parts your life insurance broker considers the gyro higher risk, most likely because many are considered experimental, or non-certified with components (rotax etc) which are not deemed to be as reliable as their Lycoming and other certified counterparts.
Licensing may vary, so standard of training and competence varies, something we see in the accident reports.

Gyros in theory, properly operated, can be more forgiving in an emergency, slower, less momentum etc but (many) are not nearly as crashworthy as (most) helicopters.
We see too many of them falling over and hurting the occupants because they failed to maintain their speed correctly.

Then there are varying standards of maintenance, or self-maintenance.
I know which one I am happy to strap to myself.



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Old 10th Sep 2023, 16:29
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don't know where your located but I fly gyro's any time of the day as long as the time / weather is both legal and within my personal limits . Mine cruises all around the UK along with the odd trip over to France, 2 up and room for a couple of bottles of duty free on the way back.
Yes there have in the past been a lot of accidents but if you look at the more recent statistics then it's thankfully a different story .

B.G
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Old 10th Sep 2023, 16:40
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I flew an autogyro for a few years and whilst I enjoyed it I would not describe them as easy aircraft. Up in the air they fly like an ultralight but close to the ground they can be tricky. The classic accident is on takeoff when people have not held the stick back while getting the rotor up to speed and the aircraft flips on its back when the stick is moved back. This is not fun particularly with closed cockpit autogyros and has made insurance rather tricky to get. The manufacturers did a stellar job marketing that they donít stall and can land and takeoff in a very short (but not helicopter like) distance. They are of course much cheaper than helicopters. But if you want to land and takeoff like a helicopter and have plenty of money fly a helicopter. Otherwise I would recommend a fixed wing ultralight.
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Old 10th Sep 2023, 18:53
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Does this answer the question
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Old 10th Sep 2023, 22:49
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Lederhosen
insurance isn't a problem at all, I've just renewed mine for Hull & 3rd party and had quotes from 4 different brokers .
As for the rash of failed take off crashes your right there is a problem and thats usually fixed wing pilots trying to fly gyro's without understanding how the rotor system behaves .

Hughes500 good to see your still enjoying life ....what's your point with the photo ? Nice to see you offering someone a lift 🤣

BG
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 02:38
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There are two question one in the title one in the opening sentence. Which is safer? Which is safer for an engine failure. Which one are you asking? the product marketing will of course say gyrocopter are safer then focus on engine failures.
It is probably a fair statement to say a Gyro is safer than say a R22 at entry following a engine failure.
It is also fair to say Gyros can have some interesting controllability issues that helicopters do not have.
A R22 can happily fly in 25kts of wind. From what Iíve seen AutoGyros canít at least without pushing the limits.
A Jetranger or 350 are safer than both.

Autogyros have come a long way but itís a long stretch to say they are safer than helicopters, engine failure is one of the least likely things to get you.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 10:12
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Maybe it was a marketing thing? Autogyro's always seem to be advertised as a much safer way to fly (in the70's and 80's) often with Ken Wallis flipping one around with ease. Memories of Raymond Baxter, Noel Edmonds and Biggin Hill Air Fayre.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 11:09
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SLFMS
.........
It is also fair to say Gyros can have some interesting controllability issues that helicopters do not have.

Care to elaborate ? Other than you don't intentionally pull negative G which also applies to some helicopters with teetering rotors like the R22.


Obviously I need you to eduacate me as i havent found them yet after 400 hrs flying them .

BG
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 13:20
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It makes sense that the autogyro might be considered safer but when i actually saw some statistics many years ago it was opposite.

safety can be defined in many waysÖbut

my recollection is that the fatality rate was (at that time) about 1 per 100,000 flying hours for helicopters but about 5 per 100,000 flying hours for autogyros.

of course there could be many reasons for this, and it doesnít necessarily reflect fundamental safety. But thatís what those statistics showed.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 15:02
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Any thoughts on the manoeuvre in this video?
I don't know much about autogyros, but I suspect that the normal envelope of the craft is quite limited.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 17:08
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I fly both. Autogyros are safer than helicopters IMO because they are much easier to land engine-out and it's very easy to do a spot landing where you have almost no horizontal speed when you touch down. It is much much safer than a comparable two-seat light helicopter like the R22 because if the engine quits on the R22, you have so little time to drop the collective that there's a good chance the rotor will stall and you'll die.

The reason autogyros statistically aren't great is that, at least in the US, there are a lot of very cheap ones built and flown by people who don't know what they're doing. I've read tons of take-off accidents simply caused by the pilot trying to take off like an airplane instead of a gyro.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 17:16
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At my local airfield which has a large UL school there has been a noticeable reduction in new gyro pilots. I think the insurance problem is not as big for experienced (gyro) pilots. But if you are a newbie and want to buy one then getting insurance is a problem. That is what the owner of the school told me anyway. There are some other rather large elephants in the room. Ultralights have parachute rescue systems. A local company produces a lot of these and tried to develop one for gyros as well but without success. My somewhat subjective opinion is that they are also quite hard to see and after a very short time I invested in a flarm system, which made me feel a bit better.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 18:24
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CGameProgrammerr
agree your comments 100% and like all aircraft as long as you stay within both the aircrafts limitations and your own their safe . I too much prefer landing my gyro power off rather than doing auto's in an R22 , the H300c is a lot more forgiving and much more like the gyro apart from its maintenance costs of course !!!

As for the video clip of our Spanish friend doing loops at airshows I won't be trying to compete with him doing that 🤣.

Lederhosen
there will always be many times the number of ultralight pilots than gyro's but each to their own and I often get requests from the guys at our local airfield to take them flying which I'm happy to do just to see their faces when we do a vertical descent and land at the 1st exit past the runway numbers 😊.

time to move on guys .

Safe flying to all.

BG

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Old 11th Sep 2023, 18:44
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Lederhosen, parachutes are completely pointless on gyroplanes because the rotor is the parachute! Most gyros, good ones anyway, can even land vertically with no flare - the landing gear would be destroyed and possibly other things, but a properly designed one should leave the pilot unharmed in that situation. This is because they descend really slowly in a direct vertical descent, less than half the speed of a parachuted Cirrus. And it's basically impossible for the rotor to stop in mid-air.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 19:03
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Engine failure is such a small corner case accident stat in helicopters that it may as well be ignored.
Most accidents are mission related, or as a result of poor planning. None of this compares to a gyro as it cannot fulfil the same role.
If you were to compare the overlap between the two types, I would expect a greater probability of Hill completing a flight test in 2023 than a gyro being safer.
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