View Full Version : New Freedom!
03-03-2008, 07:18 PM
It is 7 hours since I flew and I still have a noticeable shake in my right hand. I have yet to truly catch my breath. I cannot imagine how to express the joy and freedom I feel. I suspect that only those that have experienced what I did today will comprehend my words. If I can remind them of that feeling for just a moment I will have exceeded my perceived ability to communicate feelings without using my hands. I have seen pilots describe swoops and dives with their hands and I always felt that it was a demonstration of madness or at the very least an example of someone who had not had enough adventure in their lives.
The ATIS said that winds were 290 at 6kts when I checked it at 6:00 am. I had some tax stuff to take care of and I needed to talk to my CPA to explain the spread sheet I had done on Saturday. I was a little worried about that much wind before any thermal activity had a chance so I hustled to get to the airport so I would not have a repeat of yesterday. When I arrived at 8:00 am there was no one at my hangar. Yippee! My uninterrupted preflight took only 20 minutes. The new ATIS had winds as calm. Off I rolled even before Diana showed up. She lives about 5 minutes from the airport. Everything seemed too perfect. It was warm, relatively clear and there were not many aircraft in the pattern. I am trying not to be overconfident so just for a moment I remembered the times I started the race day with a shiny motorcycle and the anticipation of great joy and ended the day with a pile of scrap and an expectation of more pain the next day. This memory helps to keep me alert and cautious.
I had made 5 landings when the tower reported a flock of large birds moving toward the runway. “Experimental 2 Mike Golf, negative contact on the birds,” I said. As I began the elevator ride to pattern altitude ATC reported the new location of the birds and they were about 50 feet below my pattern altitude. I marveled at their freedom as each hawk swooped, soared and circled; only moving their tail. They were directly on my crosswind where I turn downwind. “Experimental 2 Mike Golf, I have the birds in sight, request straight out departure.”
We were chased from the airport by a flock of birds!
Along the Valley floor and toward the ocean we flew at 50 miles per hour indicated but my GPS reading just under forty miles per hour. I discovered lift as I moved toward the hills. The Predator would rise and fall uncomanded, following the contour of the land. This was the beginning, but only the beginning.
My camera was storing dead batteries so we climbed to 2,000 feet to change to fresh ones. When we arrived at the end of the Santa Maria River we descended to 500 feet and took some pictures. There is no way for a picture to describe the beauty that enveloped me.
I will post the pictures in a separate thread after dinner.
The warm morning sun, the gentle winds spilling around the windshield and the ever changing view of the world held forth a wonder I did not know and had not imagined. Her engine was loafing along at 2,200 rpm and the loudest noise was the swish of the rotor blades. We flew over the breaking waves for a while and I felt the sea air against my face.
I had been up flying free for forty minutes and it was time to head back to the airport with the wind at my back. “Santa Maria Tower, Experimental Gyroplane November 142 Mike Golf, inbound over Guadalupe to land with information Romeo.” I was to enter left traffic and report mid field. I came in a little high to miss the birds and again marveled at their freedom as they swooped and soared. The tower gave me clearance to land on 30 just as I was taking my deep breath before commencing radio communication.
The base to final and the decent to land were picture perfect. 1,800 rpm, 2 descending 90 degree turns, 300 feet over the end of the runway when a 6 mile per hour quartering tail wind pushed me. It was a non event as I closed the throttle, worked the stick and rudder to align myself on the center line and gently touched down. Off to fuel up and more flying.
I found the aimless freedom of the birds an inspiration and I requested a departure to the south. My downwind departure was approved with an early turn. My read back was accurate and came without much effort. Off to the south I went following Highway 1. Before this flight I have always had a mission, for the first time, today, inspired by a flock of birds I wandered aimlessly down the highway with the hills to my right. I flew near enough to the hills to again feel the Predator rise and fall with the contour of the land. I continued along highway 135 toward Los Alamos. We started following the dirt roads that lace the hills. I would practice ground reference maneuvers each time I found a square field. I practiced my steep turns both left and right holding my altitude perfectly. The winds were coming up now and at my back. I climbed to 2,500 feet and dove at 80 miles per hour to 300 feet AGL. We swooped and soared aimlessly, free as the birds that had chased me form the airport. We followed a dirt road and flew as though I was on a motorcycle, following the undulating brown ribbon through the green hills, rising and falling swooping and turning with a freedom that was unfamiliar to me.
After 40 minutes of this ecstasy I felt it was time to head back toward reality.
We turned into the wind toward KSMX. Ten miles out I reported, “Santa Maria Tower, Experimental Gyroplane November 142 Mike Golf, ten miles to the east inbound to land with information Kilo.” The tower came back with instructions to land when approaching from the east and to report when two miles out. I then figured out what the arrow was for on my GPS that shows the direction to the destination. I was more to the south than the east. Highway 135 and Highway 1 sort of curve around. I let the tower know that I was mistaken and I was more to the south. ATC had been tracking my transponder, and knew exactly where I was. They replied that they were glad that I had found myself and to report over the Orcutt Y. When I did I received instructions to proceed to 30 directly and land as near taxiway Charley as possible and to expedite my exit from the runway to allow for a Brizillia. My read back was perfect and I advanced the throttle and proceeded to 30 at 85 miles per hour. I hit my touch down exactly on target with a touchdown that I could hardly feel. I scooted off the runway just as the Brazillia was asking if they needed to slow for the Experimental Gyroplane to clear the runway.
My heart was pounding and I couldn’t stop babbling as Diana filled the Predator’s fuel tanks and I filed out my log book. I couldn’t figure out how to describe freedom for the log book.
The ground felt like it was moving as I stepped down from the aircraft. I was not able to focus on my post flight inspection. I had just experienced more freedom that I had ever imagined. My bonds lay loose at my feet, never to enslave me again.
The adventure continues!
03-03-2008, 07:35 PM
Great story Vance.
You should send these (or write more of them) to Kitplanes, or Sport Aviation.
03-03-2008, 07:41 PM
Wow! Vance, that was one hell of a ride. The feeling is a good a you can get just about anywhere. I was wondering whar ever happened to the Predator. Glad you have it, that is one nice machine.
Way to go!!:hail:
03-03-2008, 08:32 PM
What a great story...makes me wanna go fly.:plane::plane::plane::plane:
You're a lucky man, Vance. And you are one of the few. Those who haven't experienced what you have will likely never understand. But that's what it's all about. Well done, Sir! And you have helped to 'show the way'.
03-03-2008, 09:23 PM
I have been with Vance for nine months, including: 8 road trips and a 24/7 in the car for 25 days trip, two weeks ago. I know this man. I have experienced the highs and the lows. I understand and feel his passion. I was there as he conceptualized his gyro design, bought and trained his first gyro, soloed for the first time, and made changes to his designs and more changes. They came fast and furious. His genius was awe inspiring. Morning, noon and night-the nights, up at every hour examining the performance curve, the aerodynamic lines, fitting in my aesthic suggestions, struggling over the marketing liabilities, the prospects and on and on…he and I were consumed by the dream.
For hours he would talk to me about the dream and the fantasy of flying. Word after word about what it was like, or what he thought it was like to fly.. If you could only see the light in his eyes (OK Mr. Mayfield- one eye) as he vocalized his fantasies. Today, he has exceeded any elation he had expressed earlier.
Today, Vance flew for the first time. He soared like an eagle, paused like a Kite, loomed like a Gull. He was one with the wind, the valley and the terrain.
I can not put into words the joy, the excitement, and the shear exhilaration Vance expressed as he dismounted the lady Predator. He could hardly speak, or walk. He was trembling from the rare primal experience of flight.
I was very fortunate to be there to share this experience with him. I understood his words, but there is no way I could possibly fathom his experience, because I was not there. I know this. Now, I want to be there more than anything. I want to be in the backseat of the cockpit, pounding my fists on his helmet saying, “Look, did you see that... did you see that?” I want to experience it all!
Vance, get your pilot’s certificate soon! I want to soar like an eagle, pause like a Kite, loom like a Gull in the backseat of Lady Predator with you and only you!
With All My Love,
03-04-2008, 03:39 AM
Wow! This is a great sport isn't it?
Many..many more happy flights to the both of you!
03-04-2008, 07:02 AM
Thank you both for sharing the wonderful experience.
03-04-2008, 07:06 AM
I think you now understood what it is to be an Aviator.
03-04-2008, 07:53 AM
What little you lack in humor, you more that make up in the emotion of your writing.
I must second Mike's recommendation to put together articles for the various magazines. :typing:
And by the way, Diana sounds like a keeper. Take care of her. :)
03-04-2008, 11:55 AM
Wow!!! What a read! Vance, you make me want to repair my gyro all the faster. Not only do you have a great prespective, but you have a wonderful way with words. Thanks for the great story.
03-04-2008, 02:16 PM
GREAT Pix vance..... I am Jealous...:first:
did I do anything,, in creating the Flying HaBBit you have ..??
I HOPE SO.... Ya DOIN GREAT :)
03-04-2008, 04:32 PM
You have much more ability to express yourself than you give yourself credit for. I understand that your audience here on the forum is a bit prejudiced towards the joys of flight and might be an easy sell compared to the general (non-flying) public. But I think you touched our hearts in a very positive way. I know how your words made me feel. I wish everyone in the world could understand and feel the way you felt when you were flying. You really must submit some of your writings, not only to our PRA magazine but to EAA and any other magazine willing to print your stories. You will touch lives and can be a major influence to the rest of the Aviation world in helping them to come to appreciate Gyroplanes. Keep up the great work!!!!
03-04-2008, 07:35 PM
Thanks for sharing your flights with us, Vance. I think you've really experienced what flying really is. You can go out and fly "missions" and concentrate on them the whole time or go out and fly whichever way you decide to go. I like the freedom of just flying around and checking things out.
03-04-2008, 08:43 PM
I didn’t get much sleep last night; I kept reliving the flight and the feeling of freedom.
Thank you Mike, I think that would be fun. If someone knows how to make that happen I would be pleased to know.
Thank you Chris, I love the Predator and I never feel alone. She always seems to use her capabilities to bail me out when I make errors.
Thank you Heath, It is fun to share the adventure and our mutual passion.
Thank you Trez, wow 26,000 hours. In my racing, my heart would still pound as the one went sideways even after 26 years of profesional racing. I hope it is still that way for you as a pilot. Thank you for the kind words.
Thank you Diana, You have been a great help and I love sharing the adventure with you. I don’t think you should discount your desire to be a pilot.
Thank you BaryK, I have followed your exploits with interest.
Your welcome Joe, I am glad you liked it.
Thank you Jeff, I like the sound of that. AVIATOR.
Thank you Rocky, Jim has been working on my humor. I sometimes have great difficulty understanding just what I am feeling and writing about it helps me to identify those feelings. I am still puzzled by the impact of the flights.
Thank you for the kind words Bob, I look forward to the day you are back in the air.
Thank you Steve, you are one of the people I look up to and try emulate. I love the way you can light up people with your charm. I learn a lot from you and hope that our relationship continues for a long time. I am pleased that you feel I am doing well. I know that I really frustrated you when you were my CFI.
Thank you Doug, It gives me pleasure to hear that I have touched hearts. If I knew the path to get some gyroplane stories out there I would take the first steps. Any suggestions?
Thank you Tim, my reason for being so focused is because that is how I overcome my challenges. Because I have some serious limitations I need to have my skill set in place before I go pushing the envelope. I was confident yesterday that I could land if the engine went quiet. As I get better at piloting my options increase and yesterday I experienced the reward of that focus. There are many paths to yesterday’s flights. Mine works for me. I was back to focus today, I will write about it shortly.
Thank you, Vance
03-04-2008, 08:56 PM
I rushed down to the airport knowing that I could not possibly repeat the elation of yesterday. I wanted to get back to steady progress on my piloting skills. Wind were 290 at 4kts. I did a very though pre-flight because I had flown three hours the day before and had not done a good job on my post flight inspection due to an overabundance of excitement and a desire to share my exhilaration with my friends on the forum.
I rolled out 45 minutes later and the ATIS was still winds 290 at four. As I was taxing on Alpha toward 30 the tower gave me a gratuitous wind check, 280 at ten. I felt it was time to get back to learning to deal with the wind.
The mag check and carb heat check went well and I remembered to turn my transponder to mode C and change to the tower frequency. I remembered to release my rotor brake. I requested a left closed traffic and it was approved. I was cleared for takeoff and takeoff I did.
The first landing got my attention. It seemed to be going well and then, quite suddenly she reared up. I didn’t know if I should count that as two landings in my log book. I was able to make the second landing gentle. What an improvement over challenging landings of the recent past. The second landing was perfect and my read backs were good. I was following a Taylor craft in the pattern. On about the fourth pattern I had negative contact on the Taylor Craft as I entered my cross wind. I reported it to the tower and they pointed out it was because the Taylor Craft was on the runway. They had landed while I was crawling down the runway after takeoff.
The tower also asked a fixed wing guy if he had the “Whirlybird thing” in sight.
The wind came up and my lasting was in 14kts wind. It went very well.
After my brain injury group I studied with Diana for the knowledge test. I still have a lot of trouble with weather and some of the VFR standards. I think I made progress.
We hope to stop by Buckeye for several days of training on the way to Bensen days.
I hope to fly first thing tomorrow.
I am still aquiver with excitement from yesterday’s flights. I expect it will be a while before I have an experience like that again. I am still working on my cross country.
Thank you, Vance
03-05-2008, 06:46 PM
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
No flying today, winds were from 16 to 21kts all day.
I did get my new, longer knee board with a clamp at the bottom and top with two leg straps finished.
When I laminated my radio calls the clasp on my old knee board didn’t hold and I was in danger of papering the valley.
I look forward to trying it.
I also got my fire suit and I have figured out how to modify it for aviation with a pocket on the sleeve for a pen and a pencil. A pocket for my camera, wallet and a pocket to store dead batteries in.
Thank you, Vance
03-06-2008, 09:16 PM
I arrived at the airport early and the preflight went well because nobody was there to interrupt. Winds were 290 at 3kts. I was up and flying 45 minutes after I left the house. I flew the pattern for 1.8 hours and made over 30 landings. Toward the end I began to have a smoother, longer flair. It seemed somehow more graceful. It was small progress, but gratifying never the less. Every landing and takeoff was very smooth.
My radio communications went well. I love my new knee board. Somehow having it written down helps me to not get stuck and even though I may have left downwind written, when I am changed to right it still goes well because the rest of it is there and all I have to do is manage the small change.
The gas pumps weren’t working so I had the truck come by and fill me up. She only took 13 galleons.
I took quite a while with the post-flight inspection because I had flown for so long. Off to lunch and winds were 240 at 7kts. A quick preflight and back up for me.
I flew to Los Alamos again but of course it didn’t hold the same emotional impact as the other day. I followed the back roads and then started flying toward the snow on the higher hills. I would head up a valley and then climb over the hills. I found a strange little private airstrip. I got to 5,000 feet and she would still climb at 300 feet per minute. I leaned her out and she climbed at 400 feet per minute. I noticed as I climbed that my view expanded. I could see all the way to the Channel Islands. Instead of storing dead batteries in my camera, the memory was full so no pictures today. I spiraled down to 2,500 feet turning first left and then right.
I wandered back and forth across the highway at 800 feet agl on my way back, practicing my ground maneuvers. I love making a steep 360 to the left followed by a steep 360 to the right. 180s are fun too. There is something about rolling through 100 degrees that I find alluring.
The wind never did come up and I only used 9 galleons for 1.6 hours of flight time. The Predator holds 22 gallons.
It looked like low clouds but we had a ceiling reported to be 20 thousand feet.
Hopefully it will be as nice tomorrow and I can push some new part of my envelope and get better at the familiar bits. I need to work on my cross country.
I have been studying hard for the knowledge test. I do well with aerodynamics and engines. Rules and weather are my challenge at this time. I am a little ruff on how to use the navigation stuff that is not on the predator. I have scheduled my night cross country with Terry for the week of the 24th on my way to Bensen days. Diana is going to get some dual as well.
My love of flying is getting more profound and I am less able to describe the feelings. I still thrill each time I hear 142 Mike Golf, 30 is clear for takeoff.
Thank you, Vance
03-07-2008, 09:40 PM
Vance, You are having way too much fun! I only wish I had the weather you have out there on the west coast. Your flying adventures have become a must read by all here on the forum. Your posts bring back the thrills of my early gyro flying years back with a new way of protraying the feelings that comes over a person with the new found freedom of living your life long dream of defying gravity. I thank you for being able to share those newly found flight experiences with us here as it warms my heart knowing that I too have those same feelings when I fly my gyro. You have over come great challenges to get where you are today & I can only say I am proud of you & your determination should be a inspiration to all that want to fly a gyro!:whoo:
03-07-2008, 09:56 PM
Thank you Rick, it pleases me to touch your heart. It is nice if I am able to trigger sweet memories. I bet you have had lessons like today’s. It is not my first time to be taught these things. I just forget as I bask in my overconfidence.
Friday was lovely and clear and winds were calm as we climbed into the sky.
I was wrong the other day when I said that clearance to take off is that special moment that doesn’t lose its thrill. For me it is the moment that the wheels leave the ground. I love that feeling and that is the special moment that I know I am engaged in the passion of aviation. The clearance is just foreplay and a prelude to the real event as the tires find their way off the runway.
I have found that calm is a very good time to build skills because things are repeatable. My crumb trail on my gps looked like a solid line. I worked at power on and power off landings for two hours this morning. The wind started to come up a little and I got to apply what I learned in calm air to improve my response to unstable air.
I was able to see just how much altitude I lose if I turn base to final too fast. It is about 15 feet more at 45 degrees than it is at 30 degrees. I feel that this is useful in the event of an engine out that needs to be accurate. I have a way to dump a little altitude if I am too high and a way to extend my glide if I am low.
I lost count of my landings. I was close to two hours of pattern work and I was about to stop when I learned an important lesson. I knew that my overconfidence would catch up to me, and it did.
One of the many things that Terry teaches is to regularly scan the instruments. One of the times he likes to do it is before turning cross wind. He taught me to say “temperatures and pressures in the green” before I make my cross wind turn.
ATC had just told me that they would call my cross wind. This usually means that they are sending me out into the Santa Maria Valley for spacing. I was just reading that back when I saw that temperatures and pressures were not in the green. My Oil temperature was in the green but my oil pressure had dropped to just under forty pounds and the green ends at 45. I was afraid of a big oil leak and fire so I immediately pulled the throttle full back and lean cut off. I grounded both magnetos. I checked for smoke behind me and it looked ok. Shortly after my read back I requested a landing on the crosswind runway 20 because I was having engine difficulties. There was an aircraft that had just landed and another one on the way. There were two more aircraft in the pattern so ATC asked me to repeat my request. I was at 530 feet AGL and just past 20. There was an aircraft on right down wind so I wanted to keep close in.
I repeated my request and the reason. I was getting ready to declare an emergency when ATC said, “2 Mike Golf, clear to land on 20”. If I had declared an emergency it would have shut the whole place down and it seemed out of proportion to the situation.
I made a descending sharp 270 degree turn to the 75 foot wide 5130 foot long 20. I left my master on so I had radio communications but shut down everything else. I knew how much distance it took to descend 530 feet at 750 feet per minute. I ran her up to 75 miles per hour trying to lose altitude and was still half way down the runway when I touched down. Diana was watching all this and the runway goes over a hill, so I disappeared behind the hill while still in a fairly steep dive. I feel that this made her uncomfortable. I restarted the engine on the ground and the oil pressure came back up. On the way back to the hanger I had to hold short of 12 so I ran her up to 1700 rpm and the oil pressure came right up to 55 pounds.
My Thinking about it now is; I feel I should have shut off the master once I had finished my radio communication. Fire is always a danger in an emergency and having the master off seems like it would reduce the risk of igniting a gasoline fire. No one else was using 20 so there is nothing that the radio was good for. I could always turn it back on if there was a need for emergency personnel. The tower could see me so if I caught fire ATC would have sent someone to put it out. I felt at the time that having radio communications was more important. I should have had it in my pilot operating hand books so I didn’t have to think about it during an emergency. I need to work on my POH.
The second part of my carelessness was me not doing anything about the connection on the oil sender unit. It is brass and looked a little tired to me. I checked to make sure that the connection was tight as part of my preflight, but I ignored the corrosion. I live and fly near the ocean and the salt air has a tendency to challenge electrical connections. It is now clean and has dielectric grease on it. It is back to reading 55 pounds of oil pressure at 2,700 rpm.
I ask myself if I should have flown an extra ten minutes and landed normally. I now know that it wouldn’t have hurt anything and it is probably just the sender connection. I think that the risk of fire and/or the risk of doing very expensive damage to my Lycoming justified the immediate shut down.
I now know that the proper words to use were, “Experimental 2 Mike Golf, request cautionary landing on 20.”
The old rule of thumb is ten pounds of oil pressure per 1,000 rpm on plain bearing engines, so I should be ok with 27 pounds of oil pressure. The real concern was the sudden drop in oil pressure.
On Monday I am going to put a mechanical gage on her to see if the Michel sender and Michel gage are accurate. The oil looks clean and doesn’t smell burnt. There is no oil filter on this engine so there could also be gunk making the oil pressure relief valve stick open.
I probably won’t fly before Monday so I can be comfortable with the engine.
Once again I was very fortunate that this didn’t happen before I was ready for it. I was defiantly ready for it this afternoon and it was a non event. I am glad the Terry taught me to monitor my instruments. I hope there is no permanent damage to my engine.
Thank you, Vance
03-07-2008, 11:50 PM
"Diana was watching all this and the runway goes over a hill, so I disappeared behind the hill while still in a fairly steep dive. I feel that this made her uncomfortable."-Vance
Uncomfortable isn't the word I would have used.
I was sitting in the car monitoring Vance's touch 'n goes, reading Jepperson's Pilot Handbook, when I heard his voice over the ICOM; "2 Mike Golf I have engine problems, permission to land on 2 0 !". I looked up and searched the sky. I immediately turned on the car, backed it up and gunned it parallel to the runway towards 2 0, my eyes fixed on Vance. He banked to the left at the end of 3 0 spiraling down towards 2 0. The dive was deep and the decent was steep and fast. The engine was silent. So silent. I screamed, "NO" and pulled the car up to the runway. The Lady Predator, nose down, plummeted to the ground. Suddenly, the nose lifted and she sunk into the horizon. The runway slopped downward, away from me, and I couldn't see her anymore. My heart stopped. I leaped from the car straining to see anything. Anything! Then I heard ATC, " 2 Mike Golf I see you made a nice landing, nice to see you are OK (or something to that effect-I can't remember the exact words)".
A few minutes later (it seemed like hours) I saw the Lady Predator taxi her way up over the hill and towards the T hangars.
Uncomfortable? Probably not the word I would have used.
I will say this, Vance reacted and handled the situation very well. I would say all that pattern practice, the fixed wing pilots gave him a bad time about, paid off big time! Job well done Vance! A job well done!
03-08-2008, 08:21 AM
Vance, I am glad you are OK and the engine is probably OK also.
The oil pressure and oil temperature on an air cooled engine is closely related. If the oil temperature goes up the oil pressure goes down and low oil temperature will mean high oil pressure. As you noted the temperature was still in the green you are probably looking at a gauge indication problem.
As a matter of checking the engine, pull the oil screen and check for any metal and also check the suction screen. You can pull the vernatherm valve and check the seat area and valve face for abnormalities. I don't believe you will find anything, but if you do let me know.
As a side note, if you use any silicone type gasket sealer, use it sparingly. Some come break loose and pass through the oil strainer and cause a similar problem.
One last thing. The engine is expendable. If you need it to get to landing spot use it. Fortunately the gyro does not need as much room as us starch wing pilots.
03-10-2008, 10:55 PM
Thank you Jeff, that is good advice.
I spent from 9:00 am until 1:30 working on the Predator at Costal Valley Aviation. They are a fixed base operator at KSMX. We checked all the screens and flattened the oil screen housing on a surface plate. We tightened up some oil fittings and ran a mechanical oil pressure gage to compare the readings to my Michel gage. The Michel gage read ten pounds low at 50 pounds and dead on at 60 to 70 pounds. We cleaned all the connections and the Michel gage reads a lot higher than it used to when the oil is hot.
We redid some of the plumbing trying to find one of my oil leaks. The Lycoming leaks a lot worse than any Harley Davidson I have ever had. It always marks it’s spot.
We washed the engine with solvent and investigated all the oil leaks we could find. It was nice to work with someone who is familiar with Lycoming engines. I learned a lot.
A fellow in a Cessna 150 declared an emergency while I was working on the Predator and he was greeted by fire trucks, the police, TV news reporters and the airport manager. I am glad that I didn’t declare an emergency when I shut off my engine.
I went to lunch, worked on some tax stuff with my CPA and got back to the airport around 2:45 pm. Winds were 290 degrees at 12kts. This is right at my wind limit. I flew both left and right pattern for 1.8 hours and 22 landings. I was pleased with all of them.
I kept a close eye on my oil pressure and it was between 65 and 70 pounds the whole time, even when the oil temperature got a little high. It would appear that Friday’s engine shut down and cautionary landing were an instrument challenge rather than a mechanical challenge.
I filled up with gas and winds were at 240 degrees at 6kts. I flew out to the ocean. Ten Miles from the Oceano airport I switched to their frequency and announced my location, altitude and intention to fly up the beach at 500 feet. Pattern altitude is 1000 feet. A helicopter was headed down the beach at 1200 feet. I was glad that I made radio contact. I never did see them.
I tried taking a picture of the sun setting on the water, but it didn’t come out. The shadows on the hills looked great.
It was warm enough when I left KSMX to fly in shirt sleeves. It was cold by the time I got back and I was glad I had my flight jacket on.
It was another great day of Aviation.
Thank you, Vance
You're going to give Diana a heart attack one of these days, Vance... I agree with Jeff - I would not turn the engine off until I have a sure landing spot in sight. What would you have done if the controllers told you negaive...? Now if you saw fire or smoke - that's a different business. I was always told to sacrifice the engine and not my options.
03-11-2008, 08:58 AM
Vance; if you want to locate some more of the oil leaks. You can a black light. Not the one you buy at the local store but one used for dye penetrant inspections.
Re clean the engine and dry it off. Use the black light preferably in an darkened area. The oil will glow and will be easy to spot. Also note that silicone will also glow. This could be silicone gaskets or sealer.
Glad you are back to aviating.
03-11-2008, 09:51 AM
Guages are often less reliable than the things they monitor.
I had a partial engine failure (one of many) on my VW gyro years ago. I was climbing out at the time, but too far out for the dreaded 180-plus back to the runway. RPM at full throttle just kept drifting downward. I throttled back and set up for a landing in a small yard.
Fortunately (not because of any wisdom; I was eighteen and didn't have any) I left the engine idling. Good thing, too, because I was going to overshoot that yard. There was enough life left in the engine to allow me to throttle up, pop over some power lines and onto a residential street.
Based on that experience, I agree with the strategy of leaving it running even if it's sick.
03-11-2008, 02:13 PM
Thank you Udi,
I see your point. In my arrogance I thought I had it managed. I would have declared an emergency if they had not given me permission to land on 20. I am glad that I don’t have to go through the aftermath of that.
Thank you Doug and that is a great story with a lesson learned.
I think that I have learned badly because I used to work on my own racing motorcycles. At the slightest hint of any problem I would pull in the clutch, get my hand up and pull off the track. I see that this limits my options. I had already shut down the engine before I looked for smoke. I see that I over reacted. I have too clear a picture of the mangled parts and the smell of an engine that has had a low oil pressure experience.
In 1978 I lost an oil filter on the Moto Guzzi that I was racing and after an untidy excursion from the track we stayed up all night stealing the engine out of a police motorcycle. I finished 9th the next day and we returned the engine to the police bike.
I clearly have different priorities in aviation and I need to work on getting them straight.
Thank you Jeff, the system I have used is to clean it off with soap and water, run it hard and sprinkle baby powder on it. The baby powder sticks to the oil.
The engine is completely dry where it once was always wet. I think that I have a leak at a cylinder base and another one on the prop end of the crankshaft. I am also leaking a little out of the sump gasket.
I spent the morning working on it and the winds came up a little after 10:00 am to gusts to 18. I put her away and was doing some hanger flying when the new observed atis came out at 11:40 with winds at 290 degrees at 10.
John, my hanger mate, and I went to grab a quick bite at McDonalds and winds were 290 degrees at 14 when we got back.
I have an hour and a half of ground school scheduled at 3:00 this afternoon to work on my cross country planning, and then off to “An Evening with the National Weather Service” in San Louis Obispo to learn about weather with Ed. She is particularly fond of cloud formations. This is an area that I need a lot of work in.
Thank you, Vance
03-11-2008, 02:45 PM
When I had a Continental swallow a valve in a rented Aeronca Champ as a student pilot, I reasoned that by the time I could have done anything to limit the damage, the engine would already have been full of filings. So, I kept it running, and made it back to the airport, where the engine quit in the flare.
Later, the guy who owned the plane thanked me for the decision, even gave me the mangled piston and valve as souvenirs. The oil screen looked like someone dumped a jar of kids' glitter into it.
I figured if the guy who had to buy the new engine thought I made the right decision, I could be pretty happy with it, as well.
I keep thinking back to comments from people I see on the news, who've lost everything in home fires, tornadoes or floods. The ones with their priorities straight often observe, with their families intact and all their material possessions gone, "that's all stuff that can be replaced." If they can say that, at that moment, I'm pretty sure I'll be glad to have sacrificed an engine if the need to make that decision ever arises.
If Diana is confident you share this philosophy, she'll worry less when she loses sight of you over the horizon in a steep dive!
03-11-2008, 05:21 PM
I had an engine failure at 4,500 feet in my N35 Bonanza a few months back. My oil pressure had gone to zero, but I decided to keep the engine going as long as I possibly could, and hang on to every inch of altitude. It turned out to be the right strategy, because when the engine finally threw the rod, I had just enough altitude to make the runway at Fredricksburg TX. The good news is that my passenger and I made it down without a scratch, and so did the airframe. The bad news is that it's going to cost me about $42k to get back in the air, and the insurance says they won't pay for it. (I didn't "damage" anything.)
Nonetheless, I'd much rather land on a runway with a blown engine than take my chances in an unknown field with 75 gallons of fuel on board.
03-12-2008, 06:02 PM
Thank you John,
You are not alone in your opinion. Sorry about your engine.
I don’t know how to describe today. Diana and I talked about it at lunch and she could recognize it, but neither of us could find the words that properly portray the change in my flying that gave me such joy.
The words that came to me were that; the ground was always where it was supposed to be.
A hanger rat, who is also a high end helicopter mechanic, suggested two things yesterday, that I be smoother in my reduction of power and that I overshoot my altitude and descend to my target altitude. Both he and Diana commented after almost two hours of pattern work that it looked and sounded more elegant. He said he could hear my engine lasting longer.
They changed controllers toward the end of my flight with eight aircraft in the pattern and I was sent wandering around over the city. I was entering a right base from a 45 degree angle and the tower told me to turn left into a straight in 2 mile final for a Piper. I requested a right turn and the tower repeated with more force that he told me to turn left. He changed his mind as I had my finger on the button to say “unable”. In the past this would have rattled me. Today I watched as I managed the situation without any negative emotion and I had sympathy for the tangled mess the controller had been handed by his boss.
On my next pattern he made a gratuitous wind check of 290 degrees at 22kts and I requested a full stop. 30 was clear for a full stop. I had trepidation about the winds almost twice my limit and a cross wind component over my cross wind limit. It also would have been way over my cross wind limit if I had landed on 20 so down I went to one of the nicest landings I have made.
I feel that today I was able to identify a departure from my plan sooner and I was able to know what to do to correct the divergence and smoothly manage that situation. This looks small on the paper here, but the emotions that this new level of skill produced were substantial. It was almost as exciting as my new freedom flight, but much less dramatic.
Thank you, Vance
03-13-2008, 08:35 AM
Vance, one thing to remember when you pass the check ride and receive your certificate. It is a license to learn. Every flight is a unique adventure unto itself. Never really knowing what mother nature may through at you, let alone the aviation possibilities.
Don't dwell too much on the hiccup the Predator gave you. She will take care of you as long as you give her the chance. Flying itself is like sailing a ship. You have to learn to dance with it.
Happy flying. Always learning.
03-13-2008, 11:13 AM
I've been reading your ventures as you spread your wings and I find them motivating. I lived in Santa Maria for a couple years in the early 70's and rode my dirtbike all over that area. I follow your descriptions of your route on skyvector.com to help visualize what you are up to. I have a question. If you were to fly from Los Alamos to Solvang, you would cross the "Special Military Activity" zone shown on the sectional with a grey hatching. Do you know what that is used for? I mean like a specific example.
Thanks and keep writing!
03-13-2008, 06:24 PM
Thank you for the reminder. I am not able to imagine not learning from each flight.
I fear the darkness of the unknown. All the work we have done on the Predator sheds light on the unknown and I trust her more. I also trust my ability to put her on the ground without damage and make decisions when conditions become less than ideal. There is always that concern that I will let fear stop me from operating in a productive way. The precautionary landing was a non event that I will handle better next time because of what I learned here on the forum.
We also stopped one of her larger oil leaks.
Thank you for the kind words Carl. I am glad that you are having fun. Because you know the area you understand how rural it is. It is not what many imagine California is.
You pose a very good question and I read it when I was with Tommy, the CFI at Space Coast Flight Center. He said that Edwards shoots their cruise missiles through there and a stranger in camouflage apparel said that they also practice low level aircraft flight there. They agreed that it is rarely used but I think I will call flight brief before I head out that way. It lets me know that I am not careful enough about airspace. My GPS normally has warnings about such things, but clearly I need not assume things and check. It is my responsibility to avoid hazards that are so clearly marked. The Predator has a very small radar signature, but the transponder makes us visible.
Thank you, Vance
03-13-2008, 08:46 PM
This morning was clear with a lovely sunrise. There was a little bit of mist below my home. I got ready to go flying and suddenly the fog came in. IFR conditions.
The fog thinned out up here and I headed down to the airport. The beacon was still going around when I got there. I pulled her out of her hangar for a good preflight. I was just finishing up when the beacon stopped.
I was in the air as soon as she warmed up with winds 290 degrees at 6kts. I was flying and communicating well. The ground continued to be where it should have been. I am very excited with this new level of confidence. I flew the pattern until I received a gratuitous wind check of 290 degrees at 15kts. It was a little over 50 minutes of flying. I was pleased with every part of it.
A commercial pilot asked, “What is that whirly thing”. ATC responded that “it was a gyrocopter, correction, gyroplane.” The pilot remarked that “you could land that thing on my roof.” “Not on my roof” ATC responded. I suspect that this is ATC humor.
I spent a couple of hours with Tommy working on resolving the issues between what Terry Brandt thinks is important in a flight plan for gyroplanes and what Tommy thinks is important in a flight plan. The key was fuel calculations. Tommy calculates climb consumption, cruse consumption and descending consumption. He has fewer way points because the fuel calculations are somewhat laborious. He goes from galleons to hours and minuets and back. He does not have a running total.
The solution was to start with total minuets of fuel and add or subtract estimated time of arrival verses actual time of arrival to get minuets of flight time left. It is so simple that I can write it down while I am flying even with a way point every 5 miles. I am trying to get a spread sheet to do as much of the work as possible in print I can read. I have more work to do and I don’t know if I will be able to make my flight tomorrow. Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo are very busy on the weekends and I will wait until Monday if I don’t make it tomorrow. I am trying to understand the process well enough so I can plan flights easily and quickly.
I learned how to file a flight plan today and where to go to find winds on the surface for my wind corrections to compass headings.
I am going to imagine that the weather will cooperate tomorrow so I need to get back to my flight plan.
Thank you, Vance
03-14-2008, 07:41 AM
Thanks for checking into the Special Military Activity area. We lived just north of Alvin Avenue south of the Elks Lodge immediately west of Highway 101. When Vandenberg would launch a missle, we could hear the rumble and we would run out in the front yard. If we were quick enough, we could see the stage separation when the missle dropped the first stage and ignited the second. It was always quite a show, even during the day. The rumble was distinctly different from a jet, train locomotive, or big truck. I was looking forward to seeing a Space Shuttle launch from there until that program got scrapped.
03-14-2008, 08:42 AM
Your welcome Carl.
I didn’t know we had been flying together so much. I wish there was a way that you could smell the flowers, mustard, strawberries and ocean. When I fly low over the surf you can feel the moisture against your skin and hear the breaking waves.
I am hoping to expand my travels before I leave for Bensen Days on April 23. I didn’t get my cross country finished last night so it will probably be Lompoc today if the winds don’t come up. I have been delayed with payroll today and it may already be too late.
I spoke to someone who has seen a UAV fly through there with two aircraft escorting it flying 100 feet AGL. It goes straight to Edwards Air Force base.
Winds are 320 degrees at 8kts. We have some thick fog caressing the hills north of me. I hope it doesn’t come this way like it did yesterday. I am off!
Thank you, Vance
03-14-2008, 09:10 AM
Vance have you thought about using a service such as DUAT. The service has been around a long time and not well known. However; since Lockheed has taken the FSS duties it is gaining popularity. Once you log on you create an aircraft profile and from that enter the way points and time of departure the software will do the rest. It has recently been updated and be used with a cell phone with web access.
In order to use the DUAT Service, you must have an access code and password. If you possess a Pilot Certificate and current medical or are a student pilot with a current medical and you are in the FAA provided database, you can log onto the our Web Site at www.duat.com, click on register, enter your name and certificate number, then choose a password and access code. Passwords must be 6 A/N characters (e.g. birth date, "flying", aircraft tail number, etc.) and personalized access codes must be 9 or 10 digits (e.g., phone number with area code, social security number, etc.). See below Flight Views Issue 1 for further details. If you have a problem registering, you can contact our 24 hour help desk at (800) 243-3828 and they will be happy to assist you.
03-14-2008, 01:45 PM
Thank you Jeff,
I will try it.
I am not actually having trouble with any part of the planning process except finding time.
I have found a source for the winds. It is given in terms of a mariners compass so I had to find a nautical compass rose so I could find out what that meant in degrees by boxing the nautical compass.
I have found a place that allows you to plot on a chart and gives you distances and true heading, I know how to work back to compass heading with isogonic lines.
I don’t have any trouble doing wind corrections for the compass heading and estimated ground speed. I can manage the effects of wind on estimated time of arrival.
I can read a chart and do plot a course manually with a chart and my E6B slide graphic computer. I can fill out various different flight planning forms and I know what the abbreviations mean.
I know how to use Microsoft live search maps well enough to pick out way points and transfer them to the charts.
I know how to print out airport maps and information and use that to plan my radio calls and entry into the pattern.
I have an excel spreadsheet mostly finished that is big enough to read in flight and keep track of actual time of arrival and minuets of fuel remaining. I still have to use my E6B to calculate wind corrections.
I have a wrist band that allows me to wear an egg timer on my sleeve. I have an egg timer with numbers that are big enough for me to that also has a clock.
I have two different CFIs that are ready to sign it off on the morning of my departure. I have resolved the airplane vs. gyroplane differences because both of them are airplane CFIs.
I know how to get a flight briefing and file a flight plan.
I am having a little challenge allocating the time to finish all this up. With flying, learning about the rules and making a living, I have a fairly busy schedule. I want to do it before I leave for Buckeye on the 23rd for my night cross country and my student extension.
My particular challenging to learning anything is unrelated memory. The more I can tie things together the better I will be able to remember it, so I tend to circle a thing I am trying to learn until it ties in to other things that I have learned.
I don’t want to discourage the help, I can use all the help I can get and appreciate it very much. I want to let people know that I am making progress and it just takes me a little longer.
Winds were 320 degrees at 13kts as I finished my preflight, so no flying today unless the winds die down. I check the ATIS every hour. Information Golf is 310 degrees at 21kts gusting to 26kts. I hope to put in some flight planning time over the weekend and make my cross country on Monday, March 17.
Thank you, Vance
03-15-2008, 08:48 AM
Winds are calm and I am waiting for my contractor so I can go flying. I will practice touch and goes as the wind comes up.
No cross country this morning because of rain building to possible thunder storms in Paso Robles. Rain is hard on my avionics.
I was ready to go, did my wind correction and my spread sheet is working well. I filed a flight plan and closed it after the briefing.
I will try again tomorrow. It looks like it will have to wait until Monday based on my limited knowledge of weather.
I am going to laminate my new radio calls today and I will try the cross country again tomorrow.
All the planning is great. I realized just this morning that getting KSBP’s ATIS might be difficult on the ground in Oceano and I will be a little busy after takeoff so I have their phone number on my flight plan. I have my ETAs and fuel calculations in place ready for wind corrections. The flight plan is on one clip board with my current charts and all the airport information that fits in a space that is protected from the wind and keeps it from getting underfoot. The flight plan references the radio calls on my knee board and is handy for recording my actual time of arrival and doing my in-flight fuel calculations. My flight plan is all in large print with just the pertinent things on the front page so I can read it and mark on it without being too distracted.
This is a fun step in a magnificent journey!
My contractor is hear so I am off to the airport and more learning.
Thank you, Vance
03-15-2008, 08:55 AM
The following is what Duat will look like once you logged on.
The attachments show the output this service can provide in one stop shopping to include filing the flight plan. Note; if the forecast winds are available it will plug those in as well.
03-15-2008, 07:43 PM
Thank you Jeff, That looks very interesting. I appreciate you going the extra distance to put it in my face. I am a little overwhelmed with all the new things I am trying to learn. It is easy for me to miss something.
It was good aviation decision making to not go over the grade to Paso Robles (PRB). My live in CFI went over the grade this morning and brought back pictures that showed Mammatus clouds that came right down to the road and it was raining in Paso Robles.
I flew for an hour at and a half at KSMX and learned a lot as the wind came up. I put her down when the new ATIS came out with winds at 320 degrees at 15kts. My limit is 12kts with a 5kt cross.
The controller was a little off today, confusing left and right and missing tail numbers and altitudes. Just before I made the decision to come down he told a helicopter that he could practice on 12, the cross wind runway, as long as he stayed below 800 feet. My pattern altitude is 800 feet MSL and I fly down 20/12 on my cross wind. I was not comfortable with this.
A little before I stopped a gust caught me as I was starting to flair. I found myself about 15 feet in the air with 20 miles per hour airspeed. I had carburetor heat on so the engine didn’t want to come to life. I was still able to make a very smooth landing. I love my new skill set. I have so many options now and I can start working on a challenge so much sooner.
You were all very kind to not make more fun of me when I had such big challenges from such minute tribulations. It is now hard to recall my expansive ignorance. I am still fighting overconfidence. I am very pleased with my progress.
I continue to marvel at the feeling of rolling into a turn and rolling out on my new heading with one continuous motion. I seem to know how much I am going to crab and instinctively allow for it. I love my relationship with the aircraft and the sky.
Thank you, Vance
03-15-2008, 07:56 PM
Vance: It sounds like you are getting in tune with your gyro. You will know it when it happens. You find yourself doing maneuvers instinctively......withoug thinking.
Niow...complacency is the dirty dog laying asleep just waiting for the right moment. Just keep doing what you are doing...and you will be fine. Your verbage makes me feel I am riding along on every trip....and your enthusiasm never gets boring to read.
03-16-2008, 07:44 AM
Thank you Stan,
I feel like you are my big brother and someday I want to be like you.
Flying is starting to feel natural and I am doing things and analyzing the response rather than wondering what to do next to make a nicer flying picture. Most of the things I do seem to be working out.
I was updating my log book this morning and I have made 601 landings at KSMX. It is about time my skills are improving. I have 62 hours as pilot in command. I flew for the first time at KSMX November 26. Time flies when you are having fun.
Winds are a little bumpy in Paso Robles so no cross county to the north. Lompoc is calm so I may head south. We have high scattered cumulus clouds. Everything has that rinsed clean look and it has a wonderfully fresh bouquet. It may be a perfect day to wander around.
The forecast is for a perfect day for my cross country to Paso Robles on Monday. My paper work is finished, all I have to do is put the wind corrections into my spread sheet, file a flight plan, get a full weather briefing, get a log book endorsement from my live in CFI and I am ready to go.
Ed came down to the airport yesterday and I felt she used a much more elegant phrase than “greased a landing”. She said that I “caressed the runway.” There were two families watching and the kids kept pointing excitedly and saying “here he comes again!” Future gyro nuts.
The sun is up and the sky is calling. I am off.
Thank you, Vance
03-16-2008, 10:36 AM
Air traffic controllers are human too, but always remember you are responsible for the aircraft you fly. If they give you a clearance that would endanger the aircraft, refuse it. They may get made, they may even have you call the tower,but you will at least be able to do it.
Now as to Monday's flight, remember to take notes. We all waiting for the report.
03-16-2008, 04:44 PM
Thank you for the reminder Jeff. That particular controller lost his 22 year old son in a car accident a few months back. It is my job to keep me safe and he is there to help.
I donít know if I will be able to find the words to describe my first real cross country, even today was bigger than my ability to articulate my feelings.
I flew to Lompoc (KLPC) and transitioned through KSMX airspace to Oceano (L52) and then back to Santa Maria.
I had a 20 + mph tail wind going over the grade. I spent a lot of time with close to an 80 mile per hour ground speed at 50 miles per hour airspeed. I remembered to not be in a hurry and spent some time coming back with a 24 mile per hour ground speed. My lips were numb from the cold and I had a little trouble with my radio calls coming into Lompoc. I caressed the runway and headed north. I made calls from 5 miles, entering left down wind, mid field and turning base to final. It was a relatively uneventful flight and yet I was filled with an indescribable feeling of freedom and joy. I am expanding my play ground.
I treasured asking for a departure to the south. I cherished my frequency change approved. I loved caressing a different runway. As I climbed back over Harris grade at 25 miles per hour and 2,500 feet MSL I basked in the generosity of my flight time. The joy swept over me in waves.
The transition through KSMX airspace went smoothly; it is practice for transitioning through San Luis Obispo airspace on my way to Paso Robles.
I flew over a motocross track with a race in progress and saw my shadow pass across the parking lot. More than a few people looked up to see what it was that was so big and moving so slowly. I was managing around 30 miles per hour ground speed.
I called Oceano traffic and reported abeam the dunes at 500 feet. An RV 9 was in the area exploring the dunes from 2,500 feet and I acknowledged contact.
A little further along a Cessna tail dragger reported entering downwind when they were actually overflying the airport. I was ready to enter down wind and I reported them in site at my twelve oíclock. The never acknowledged me. They were at about 700 feet and pattern altitude is 999 feet MSL. I circled until they landed. I called my downwind mid field and my base to final. They had back taxied and were ready to take off as I was on final. It is like they never heard me. I watched closely for the slightest movement. I touched down and back taxied at they took off, never saying a word. They radio is such a nice tool if people would only use it.
I announced that I was lining up for takeoff on 29, delay on runway and departing left downwind to the south. As I flew over the houses at the end of the runway there was a very large kite at about 400 feet left unattended with the string anchored in the back yard of one of the homes. Fortunately I was easily able to climb above it. The Cessna had passed within 25 feet of it and it bobbed as the aircraft passed to the kites left, up wind, turning out early in violation of the noise abatement procedures. It was a reminder to pay attention.
The flight back down the beach and across the valley was in the high eighties ground speed at 50 miles per hour IAS. I have flown this many times before and still the excitement hasnít left me. I again flew over the motocross race.
It was nice to have a friendly tower ATC looking out for me as I touched down in a 19 mile per hour gust.
I attended a funeral at the airport for one of our local characters and people kept telling his children that even though he didnít tell them he loved them, he loved them very much. From the stories he was probably a big drinker and womanizer. I only knew him as an old pilot who mooched rides in slow aircraft. His children had been sort of back in his life as he battled cancer for the last year and his daughter and grandson were with him as his spirit left this earth. Many people were there whose lives he had touched. I hadnít gone to my fatherís funeral and I found it cathartic.
The weather still looks good for tomorrows cross country to Paso Robles.
Thank you, Vance
03-17-2008, 01:12 PM
May tomorrow's cross country be as enjoyable as today's!
03-17-2008, 01:22 PM
Wonder if this is yours Gyro now?
03-17-2008, 04:33 PM
Thank you Jeff,
I value you unswerving positive reinforcement.
Yes Tadeusz, that is he aircraft I am fortunate to be flying.
Thank you, Vance
03-17-2008, 06:05 PM
Thank you Jeff,
I value you unswerving positive reinforcement.
Yes Tadeusz, that is he aircraft I am fortunate to be flying.
Thank you, Vance
Vance , you my man.
Maybe this September ,....maybe we can see yours gyro at El Mirage lake
What you think Vance ? and also Edna and Diana? Maybe?
03-17-2008, 06:21 PM
Maybe, Tadeusz, Maybe. It is not under my control.
I hope to fly to the Freedom Fly in; it is, after all, not the Freedom drive in.
Thank you, Vance
03-18-2008, 07:37 AM
This website is owned and operated by my former fixed-wing CFI, Malcolm Raff. It has lots of useful links. The downside is that it assumes you know how to read and interpret various weather charts. It also has links to both DUAT systems made available specifically for pilots. Near the top are links to all the California METARS and TAFs as well as the National Weather Service. It's a great starting place.
Mr. Raff is a Ph.D. in astrophysics, a computer expert, ham radio operator, electronics wiz, pilot, and instructor for both fixed-wing and helicopters. He is not, however, a fan of gyros or anything "experimental" that flies. Consequently, I never mentioned my gyro ambitions while I was his student. He knows now, and he thinks I'm nuts. He is partially correct!
03-18-2008, 11:22 AM
Are not all pilots a little nuts!
03-18-2008, 11:36 AM
Irrational at the very least.:der:
I like reading about all your adventures. I was wondering why you are flying at only 50 mph. I would think that a gyro like yours should be able to cruise at 70 or 80 mph without a problem. Are you doing this to extend your range? With a strong headwind like you had during this CC flight, it is usually more economical to fly faster. With a tailwind, it is more economical to fly slower. Remnants from my gliding days...
03-19-2008, 09:33 AM
The other day when I had my flight without a destination or purpose that so moved me, it was the first time I was able to let go of my need to get there. It was the reason to the title of this thread. At 50 miles per hour straight and level the engine is turning around 2,250 rpm and has a wonderful relaxed sound. As I fly faster there is more wind and the engine is louder. I am not in a hurry so I fly at 50 miles per hour. The aircraft will easily curse at 80 miles per hour. When I am actually going somewhere I may run it up a bit. When I am going to spend three hours in the air and work on learning my cross country skills I like to fly 50 miles per hour. I find it cathartic. It is also easier to talk on the radio.
Thank you for the information, I will add it to my tool box.
Thank you, Vance
03-19-2008, 09:40 AM
Vance, I hear ya (so to speak). Loafing along is fun.
Small, light open gyros have a MPRS of as low as 35 mph. My tandem Dominator, solo, would whisper along at 40. The Rotax 912 would tick over in the mid-4000's (a fast idle) and mostly you heard the blades. Marvellous.
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