View Full Version : New Guy...
11-26-2006, 05:26 AM
Hi all. This is my first post on your forum but I have been lurking for sometime. Y'all seem like great folks, and that is good because I need some advice.
My first effort at aviating was a complete disaster. I made all of the mistakes you could make. The only GOOD choice I made was with flight instructor.
I bought the cheapest flexwing ultra-light machine I could find, from a disreputable farmer with mechanical abilities slightly below those of Red Green. After about 15 hours on the machine my engine crapped out on climb out, and I crashed in a field of canola just outside of town. I still remember my amazement as I hung upside down by my seatstraps: my fingers, toes and legs all still worked, and I scrambled out from under the wreckage without a scratch. But my little aircraft was a crumpled heart breaking ruin and I swore by all that was holy that I would never fly again.
That was some time ago, and either time or foolishness have me wanting a rematch with the gods of fate that shot me down the first time. I started out wanting a gyro but couldn't afford it. In addition, there didn't seem to be alot of support for the aircraft type here in Alberta.
This time I want to do things right. I want a safe, reliable aircraft, two place with an enclosed cockpit and cabin heat if possible. I want to purchase a good machine from a reputable seller. I will need first rate instruction. I want to fly with friends and have fun. This time I have the money, the time and wisdom to do everything right the first time.
I am thinking of the RAF 2000 and I see some flame wars going on with this machine. Any good advice from the fine forum folk is muchly appreciated at this point. All of this debate makes sense to you seasoned pilots...to a newbie the debate is difficult to follow. I see obvious experts claiming the machine is dangerous, and other experts dismissing the claim out of hand and flying them on a regular basis without a care in the world. I have to insist on the safest machine possible at this point, if I go down again I probably won't be as lucky as I was the first time...
I would like to make a request as a new guy too...can you guys all post more pics? I cannot get enough of them...
11-26-2006, 05:40 AM
You have gotten to the right forum. There is a great little RAF in florida that is screaming your name. It is priced right and with the right modifications you can still be under the original kit price of 25,000. US. If you want to build your own then the RAF is still the right choice at the entry level price of 24,950 US and you can do the modifications for under 1500 US. You will need to cut the keel and put on a H/S that is effective and get the proper instructions. Please, Please do get training and don't try to fly before that altho it will be tempting.
Hope this helps.
11-26-2006, 05:49 AM
Gott back OK. Glad to have met ya. The Boykin made it fine. Sorry it was so late getting there. Hope to be seeing you around and good luck on your Heli.
11-26-2006, 06:03 AM
Tim: I have had the honor of riding with Pat Mcnear in that RAF2000. That guy is my buddy...and I cant wait to get to Bensen days to fly the groves..gators...and hogs with that man. He has one performing machine.
11-26-2006, 06:17 AM
I like your new by line. It just seems to discribe the life experiences we all are exposed to.
11-26-2006, 08:02 AM
Welcome to the forum.
I recommend that you test drive(fly) a RAF and a Sparrow hawk. The best place to do this is either at Bensen Days which is in March in Florida; this would be a nice vacation for the wife too. Mentone is in august.
11-27-2006, 01:36 PM
Thnx for the welcome guys. No, I will not be taking to the air without proper instruction first.
A stupid question, if I may: this business with the horizontal stab...why don't the guys at RAF offer this themselves? Clearly the customers want it as an option...why not give it to them?
11-27-2006, 02:05 PM
We don't know for sure, GP. The official line, which was simply silly, used to be that a HS is "dangerous." I don't THINK they still say that.
Another "explanation" is that the HS is unnecessary. However, we've never received a coherent explanation of what ELSE keeps the machine from pitching over as a result of its high thrust line. Since a number of them have done just that, it seems as if the burden is on RAF to explain themselves in a technically acceptable way... if that's their position.
Their most likely position, however, is that ALL gyros will pitch over and self-destruct if put into zero or negative G. The physics of THAT doesn't hold up either, but the RAF camp simply will not engage in a sober, technical discussion based on standard science.
11-27-2006, 02:07 PM
There is a lot of RAF bashing on this forum. Its root cause is from RAF’s refusal to give there costumers the option of having a HS and a CLT gyro.
I think that this refusal to give the customer what they want will eventually be the cause of there demise. They are already losing there market edge, and unless they make some changes soon they may lose it entirely.
In short I am leery of an aircraft company that may not be around long.
11-27-2006, 03:39 PM
Doug, why the controversy though? Can't they test this type of thing in a wind tunnel or something?
Also, I see what looks like a 'dorsal' HS on their new machines. Have you any comments on that?
What are you flying John?
11-27-2006, 05:17 PM
(1) Best to start out with a single seat gyro, something with centerline thrust. Get lessons, get solo'ed and then build experience flying your single seat gyro for a year. Once you get 100 hours of logged time, then look at buying a two seater. A single seat is cheaper to buy, cheaper if you did crash it, easier to fly, and of course you don't risk hurting a passenger while your still in learning mode.
(2) there is experts on this forum giving advise on gyro stability and pointing out how airframes should be designed. And these same experts have repeatedly pointed out the flaws in the RAF. There has been NO experts on the other side of that debate though.... only owners of that brand of machine that counter all the stuff the experts say with statements like " well there is hundreds of RAF's flying thousands of hours per year without problems " This is not the way a expert would represent his side of a debate. This is not to say RAF owners aren't experts in the ways of the RAF, just that so far I have not seen anyone I would consider a true " expert " defending the RAF side of this debate.
(3) if you decide to go with a RAF anyway, there are some modifications that can be done to make it a much safer gyro and if you will do these mods it isn't a bad gyro, just make sure to get alot of training in another RAF and fly very carefully and attentive.
11-27-2006, 07:52 PM
I plan to do what Ron recommends
I am building a Hornet. After I get some flight hours in (like 300 to 500 hours), I then plan to upgrade.
I am leaning towards -----------I got time yet
11-28-2006, 06:24 AM
GP, I risk exposing the emporer's nakedness here. Aw, what the heck:
In the U.S. and Canada at least, gyro kit "factories" are tiny mom-n-pop shops staffed (at best) by a good machinist or two. There are no engineers on staff. In fact, there's often not much of a staff at all.
Typically, no engineer has ever even evaluated, much less tested, any of these designs. Typically, the "designers" have been good-ole-boy eyeball mechanics with no relevant education. They do not know how to calculate the stress in a simple beam, much less set up a wind-tunnel test (assuming that they could afford one, which they can't). Many have an anti-authority attutude that says that they are real men and don't need no stinkin' egghead engineers.
That's the gyro culture overall, at least on this continent. The fact that gyros are licensed as "homebuilt experimental" allows this situation to persist. It wouldn't last a New York minute if gyros were sold as factory-built certified aircraft.
Now, to backpedal just a bit. There are some very talented and technically competent people in this little community but, oddly enough, they don't work for gyro companies. The engineers and physics PhD's are all out here among the customers!
Some of what were originally shade-tree mechanics' eyeball designs have been made over, with input from the guys who know what they're doing. The new Air Command is one example (the original has the same flaws as the current stock RAF and will kill you at least as quickly). The Sparrowhawk is another; it's a makeover of the RAF with some proper engineering. The Dominator has the benefit of the thinking of Chuck Beaty (one of the "wise men" I mentioned above), as well as a company owner who has the integrity to test and investigate. The Magni was designed from the start by real engineers.
Another strange fact: Igor Bensen was a professional engineer and test pilot. He made a serious error in the design of the B-8M gyro with respect to pitch stability. Instead of fixing it and (heaven forbid) admitting to a mistake, he shucked and jived for a quarter of a century. He mis-characterized design-related crashes as pure pilot error. Unfortunately, many eyeballers copied his mistake and now some of them won't fix it, either.
Sorry to air dirty laundry here, but it's better to know the truth.
Gyro flying is pure ambrosia, but you must learn enough to be able to spot the designers' mistakes -- because they won't necessarily admit to, much less correct them. If you're willing to invest the time and study to enable you to watch your own back, you can have more fun in this activity than in just about anything else. If, OTOH, you want a product that's been safety-tested and tweaked the way a modern car or Cessna plane has been, you won't find it here. The promotional literature will gush about the "engineering" that went into this or that design; this is almost always pure puffery.
11-28-2006, 07:46 AM
Hmpfff. Odd. I have had several balloons rudely popped already; and all I can say is - thanks!
Are all you gents in agreement about starting out in a single place machine? Any recommendations...?
I just rec'd an e-mail from RAF on that rotor stabilator of theirs. I am starting to wonder too...just looking at the force vectors going on...I don't see how that concept could be any better than conventional CLT...but I am just a armchair hack at this point...and the moments and torques involved are a handful to keep straight...
11-28-2006, 07:57 AM
GP, again, sorry for the harsh talk. Best get the bad stuff out of the way first before getting on with the fun.
A nice, inexpensive and very fun-flying 1-place is the Ultrawhite Dominator. The full-dress Dominator with pod and big engine is great, too, but more money. The cheaper ones are easier to sell later!
The new Air Commands are similar to the Dom; they have corrected the flaws of the old ones.
The RAF control vane is discussed in detail elsewhere on this Forum; see thread "Reply to Duane Hunn." It's not evil as far as it goes, but doesn't address the basic stability problem (and I don't believe Duane, the inventor, claims that it does).
11-28-2006, 04:39 PM
No need to apologize Doug, I always appreciate candor and straight shooting. You guys seem to make every effort to stress that your opinions are your own and I appreciate that.
Here is my problem though...I will obviously train with a CFI in a two place machine (probably an RAF too)...what will the transition be like to a single place machine?
And...I see all the vids where you guys touch down with the grace of an albatross with zero roll out...how long does it take you to develop the skill to do that? From my flex wing days, I remember seeing the pros do virtually the same thing...yet I came down and always bounced at least once and left craters in the runway...
Is Air Command still around and making machines?
11-28-2006, 05:29 PM
Just some thoughts:
First, I don't really see anything wrong with going straight to a two place machine provided it's a stable machine and ample time logged before taking a passenger.
Second, I think the AAI mod for the RAF is often overlooked or considered to expensive but with a used machine it prices out competitively. (It really fixes the thrust line problem)
Both of these depend on the type of flying you plan to do, the money you wish to spend, and the amount of time you are willing to invest.
11-28-2006, 06:34 PM
If you're going to go with a single seater then maybe you should seek out an instructor who trains in a tandem trainer. If there isn't one nearby then make a vacation out of it and travel to one.
Yes, Air Command is still in the gyro business - (903) 527-3335. I just tried going to their website and it's down. www.aircommand.com
11-28-2006, 08:10 PM
Tim Chick is being very modest but he has a video of his first solo flight and landing on the net. This will give you an idea of what can be learned with a good instructor.
Here is his video.
Also Stan that said hello to you in post #6 has a nice ultra white for sale. You can see it in the for sale threads on the forum. He is also a Sparrow Hawk rep if you buy it from him I think you could talk him in to a test flight in a SH.
11-30-2006, 05:11 AM
Yes, do train in something as similar as possible to what you'll be flying. I chose the tandem Dominator as my trainer for Gyrobee students. It's a light, open, tandem machine that most closely approximates the feel of the little 1-place 'Bee.
It takes a few hours to get landings nailed. It seems to be the last basic maneuver that people get down. Gyros don't stall, so there's less chance of dropping one in really hard than there is with a trike or FW plane. It can be done, though!
Once you learn to grease a gyro landing, it's very easy to do so consistently. Like bike riding.
11-30-2006, 11:06 AM
Doug, may I ask how many hours do you usually fly in a month for recreational purposes? What about the rest of you fellows? Do you hangar your machines or trailer them around?
11-30-2006, 11:24 AM
I live in northern Vermont, GP. I have been a VERY part-time instructor. Hours per month have varied from a couple dozen in the summer to zip in January.
I used to hangar, but the farm barns on our little orchard strip are not very weatherproof anymore. The bird now has its own garage-shop off site. I trailer it to and from unless the weather's good and I'm flying the next day.
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