View Full Version : Can you build for the upgrade?
06-24-2009, 07:11 PM
I appreciate the safety aspect of not letting neophytes construct a 2-place until they have a foundation of experience. However, in this economy, I'm wondering? Can a single seat Dominator be built from a portion of the 2-place parts? That way when you're ready to move up to the 2-place, you haven't had to buy two complete machines, you're just buying the parts that make up the difference and upgrading.
06-25-2009, 05:13 AM
I am far from an expert, but I can't see the practicality in that. Your three greatest expense items are rotors/rotorhead, engine and prop. Even if you could convert some components of a single to a two-place, you'd have to replace those.
If your ultimate goal is a two-place, it would be far less expensive and more practical to buy a good single-place, get your training, then proceed to the two place. Sell the single. Even if you take a bath on the resale, you'd be ahead of a rebuild on just the three components listed above.
I think you can see it is not safe or practical to put an engine and prop designed for a two-place on a single-place gyro and then put it in the hands of a beginner. The same is true for the rotor.
That said, there have been kits with an upgrade path. I'm not sure there is any cost savings and ultimately you may end up spending more. I've not been impressed with the result of a single upgraded to two-place when you compare it to something that was designed as a two-place from the start.
06-25-2009, 05:56 AM
I don't get it. WHy not just go with a tandem, and fly alone until you get your license and enough hours you are comfortable wiht a passenger? I have both a single and a tandem, I have never flown a passenger, I am still along way off from it. But I find both gyros have their good points.
The big tandem is a Caddy compared with the little single. Landing with 27 or 28 ft rotors with only one person on board is like landing a giant cotton puff ball - it floats forever until you want to touch the wheels. It climbs like CRAZY, and always gobs of reserve power.
On the flip side the single place won't climb out like that, but it bank turns at full power much tighter/easier, effortlessly, and responds a lot quicker, making it more sporty and fun in many instances.
I would think that if you want a tandem, for future flying with a passenger, just go for it if you find a good deal. But outright building a single from tandem? There is a guy who has a machine that started out as a tandem, he chopped it shorter, added secure storage and extra fuel tanks, and he flies it long distances as a single - but he knows what he is doing on the build. DOn't just start out with some new concoction of a gyro right out of the gate my friend. Stick with the tried and true. One or the other, not some new hybrid. THat is asking for all kinds of problems and headaches you can't even imagine now.
06-25-2009, 07:31 AM
I gotta agree with NoWings; provided that the new pilot does not carry a passenger until he is trained, safe, and licensed (at least Sport Pilot). Now ... I'll admit that I'm a newbie, and as such, don't know where the bath room is yet. But this just seems to be sound logic beyond experience.
Getting the 2 place, initially, makes sense from stand points of economy, practicality, and safety. I believe that the economy and practicality are obvious, so I'll address only the safety. Here are my arguments for my position:
1. You are trained in the 2 place, and are therefore familiar with it.
2. When you begin to solo it, you can put ballast (weight) in the second seat to compensate for the missing instructor, and gradually reduce that weight as you become familiar with the greater performance due to the missing "body".
3. When you have "mastered" that machine, you do not have to learn new flight characteristics of a new machine (as opposed to initially starting with a single and progressing to a 2 place).
Of course, that's only my opinion. Naturally, I welcome other opinions (regardless of how illogical they may be. :D )
06-25-2009, 08:05 AM
The engineering and design between the two are so different that you cannot even think of them as even being close enough to being the same that you would be able to switch parts. To make a transition you would have to completly dismantal the one and start from scratch building the other. You will find that some parts can be reused but for most of the rebuild you will have to use completely different components for them to work and when you finish you will find most of the parts from the first gyro are still sitting on the floor. Now rebuild the one you tore apart and you'll find that almost everything is there and it wouldn't take much to complete it.
06-25-2009, 08:58 AM
Dad will not sell a two place to someone until they have 200+ hours PIC. So if you were to do that you would have to buy one second hand.
06-25-2009, 08:59 AM
I don't think Ernie will sell you a two place without some experience. I believe that is the poster's dilemma.
06-25-2009, 09:37 AM
His advice usually is buy an UltraWhite build up the hours and sell it when your done. The UltraWhite holds it's value and goes pretty quick.
06-25-2009, 10:19 AM
I have to agree with Ernie's policy on 2 place machines. While a larger machine may be more comfortable, I don't like the idea of two-place horsepower in the hands of a beginner. It is one thing to train in a two-place that is loaded up with weight and something completely different to be sitting by yourself in what is essentially a single-place rocket with an additional empty seat.
Early Bird Dave
06-25-2009, 11:13 AM
Not to be a fly in the ointment but....
I went the 2 place route similar to Leons description. My instructors have expected more
from me before I can go to the next level. On the positive side you can take more dual
time in your own aircraft.
Many people start out in a 2 place for a first aircraft. RAF, Sparrow Hawk, Xenon, Magni,
etc. I believe it takes training and proper attitude to stay safe in either single or two place and the power is a safty plus in a well designed machine. (Power can get you out of trouble as well as into it)
How many people train in a single place fixed wing? Practically all fixed wings can carry at least one psgr. and no-one bats an eye at them.
Training is paramount.
I understand Ernie's concern and respect his position. He does not want to see a fatal accident with an innocent psgr. on board. None of us do! DH
06-25-2009, 11:24 AM
I bought the Predator, a two place tandem, as my first gyroplane.
I trained in her at Buckeye, Arizona and when I first soloed I had 100 pounds of lead in the back seat.
The large heavy machine, 17feet long, 800 lbs, is slow to respond and easy to fly.
I also trained in a two place side by side machine.
I had more than 100 hours as Pilot in Command before I took up a non rated passenger.
Flying with a friend is more fun than I imagined it would be.
I hope to install a more powerful engine soon.
An IO-320,160 horsepower vs an O-290G, 135 horsepower.
Thank you, Vance
06-25-2009, 12:07 PM
The Butterfly line of Gyroplanes was designed with the ability to be upgraded from a basic model to the fully loaded Super Sky Cycle. However, upgrading from one model to the next takes a surprising amount of changes to make it happen. And you can NOT go from a single place to the 2 place Golden Butterfly. While there may be a few parts that would be shared in common it is not enough to even consider trying to build from a single place model. The Golden Butterfly was designed to be a heavily built, Very Stable and Forgiving Trainer for People to learn to Fly Gyroplanes in. It has lots of power and will haul heavy weight passengers and provide a training platform that will fly similar to a single place machine.
I believe you could buy a Tandem Air Command or the Golden Butterfly to start out with as neither of these manufactures have the same rule that Ernie has imposed on his business. But if you want a tandem Dominator you are going to have to be able to convince Ernie that you have enough experience to be able to safely fly passengers around with you or he won't sell one to you. I think it is commendable that Ernie places safety above selling machines. Not many people around in business that have that attitude any more. I do not mean to insinuate that the other manufacturers don't care as much about safety. I think they simply see it differently. But that's the way Ernie see's it and he is willing to put his money where his mouth is. (Gotta respect a guy like that)
06-25-2009, 01:29 PM
Ernie is doing the right thing. The CFI's should also demand that students bring their gyros to them and leave them there until the CFI feels as though the student is ready to take it home. Saving lives and saving the reputation of gyros should always be everyones top priority even if it hurts feelings or is an inconvienience. There are always ways that people will find to cheat the system but there are also ways to save lives.
06-25-2009, 05:57 PM
I owned a single place Dom and now have the latest tandem 618 Dominator. Conversion is not possible especially because of the custom keel extrusion needed. I suppose if you were a machinist and certified welder then maybe. Too much headache for most. I bought a used Dominator and sold it a year later for the same price. Dominators hold value better than any other machine.
In my opinion learn to fly with a CFI in a two place Dom and then transition to a single is easy. The 618 tandem flown solo is a beast with tons of power and low disc loading. Still VERY stable. Take that on after learning to fly single seater first. I love my two place and it weighs less than 400lbs with a half tank of fuel and can outfly any single seater except for single seat Doms with 582's built light and props over 60".
06-25-2009, 08:33 PM
I wanted to build a parson 2 place for my first gyro, that way I could train in it from the front seat,solo it from the front seat, fly it by my self from the front seat for about 150 hrs or so then take a passenger. And still be in the same gyro that I started with.
But I didn't, and after all I have been through with mine and the time spent as well as funds, I think I should have stuck with plan one. But that's OK, Mine is just about ready to fly again and I still have the parsons for my next build this winter setting over in the corner of my shop. when it is done then it's off to see Steve for about 10 or so hrs more of dual training... Good lesions learned either way...
07-19-2009, 05:31 PM
I've only flown a Cessna 172, Cherokee 140, C152 and thats it. Even with limited (novice) experience and never having flown a Gyro except in my mind, I am an adult and can make my own decisions and be responsible to not put passengers lifes in jeopardy by flying them with limited experience. That being said, I will build a tandem gyro as for economy as well as long range usability, dual training and because thats what I want. If a vendor wants to discourage an individual from or refusing to sell them a product I find that analagous to refusing to sell a law biding citizen a certain hunting rifle because he has never hunted before. That is why waivers and disclaimers are signed. In this economy is business really that good for anybody? If I go to Ernie and want to buy plans, rotorblades, rotors, etc for a two place dominator should I expect he won't sell them to me because I am new to this sport? That is a serious question, because this is the place I am at in my mind and something else I would like to know so I can make other arrangements if necessary.
07-19-2009, 05:37 PM
I weigh 245 lbs @ 6'0 , so with full fuel is a single seat gyro even practicle for me. Can I put an EJ 22 in a single place dominator?
07-19-2009, 05:55 PM
Ernie offers no plans for the tandem Dominator, nor will he sell kit components for them. You would have to check with him about blades and rotor heads for other two place machines, but he probably would sell them.
An EJ-22 seems too heavy for a single place Dominator. There have been EA-81's and EJ-20's used on them though.
At 6'0" & 245 you're not too heavy for a single seat gyro. One of our club members used to fly a 582 Air Command and he was 300 lbs. A 582 Dominator would fly you just fine.
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