View Full Version : My first experiences in gyro
06-08-2011, 05:52 PM
Some of you probably already knew that I'm a fixed wing pilot who considered in the last six months the possibility to switch to gyro for many reasons, mostly visibility and hangaring advantages (small footprint).
In the last two weeks, I've had the opportunity to try a Magni Orion and a Calidus. I'm looking for an enclosed aircraft and those are the only two possibilities that are approved for the moment, here in Canada. I've like the Calidus a bit more than the Orion and find both models to fly with a lot more stability in turbulence than all the FW ultralights I've flown to date.
As expected, I also find both gyro far less responsive than my actual ultralight biplane. With its 460 lbs empty weight and full ailerons on both upper and lower wings, my Renegade II have almost no inertia and react instantly.
Since I plan to change for a faster and more versatile aircraft, I will have to deal with a much heavier plane anyway. So, still exploring the gyro possibility, I've decided to start the training on MTO Sport to get more accustomed to that kind of aircraft before making any purchase decision (fixed or rotary wing).
Thanks to everyone on this list who answered my numerous interrogations and who had to deal with my poor english.
I'm still following this list everyday learning lot of precious data that will help me without any doubt to be a better pilot.
06-09-2011, 04:58 PM
I don't know how either flies but it is hard to beat the look of the Calidus!
Let us know how you progress on your next selection of aircraft!!!
06-11-2011, 04:08 PM
Both Magni Orion and AutoGyro Calidus are gorgeous machines. Each one have marvelous visibility advantages on fixed wings. In the Calidus, the rear seat passenger can shoot great pictures/movies on both side of the canope with the same unobstructed view. You'll only need to put a polarized filter to get rid as possible of the internal reflection.
06-15-2011, 07:06 AM
I'm getting more accustomed with the gyro. After about 4 hours of training, I started to get the real feeling of the machine (Auto-Gyro MTO Sport) and I don't need to rely too much on instruments to grasp what's happening.
I had a hard time not getting too concern about the lost of speed when banking/turning the machine. I know that a gyro don't stall and can fly with zero forward speed but my fixed wings experience still bring up a reflex alarm each time.
The other great adaption for an ultralight fixed wings pilot is the roll difference between landing and take off. All my UL students were doing the take off maneuvers after only a few hours of flight and, for them, the landings was the real hard and scary part of the training. In the gyro, it's the reverse. The complexity of the take off procedure (with the prerotation) is clearly more challenging and is far less forgiving when the strip is short.
Last training was about high banking turns and following as much as possible complex ground paths at low speed and constant altitude in order to focus more on the surrounding than the instruments. It was a great experience and I missed a lot less the responsiveness and agility of my little biplane.
My CFI still need to do a few hours on the Calidus before being able to bring a student in the front seat (my fly test was on the back seat). If the Calidus react as swiftly as the MTO Sport, it'll be probably my next machine ;-)
07-18-2011, 08:55 AM
I see we come from similar ultralight backgrounds, have interest in similar gyros and are exploring changing to them from FW. You are much farther along in your exploration though than I am. I see It's been a bit more than a month since you've posted on this thread. How is your progress?
07-18-2011, 12:19 PM
I have about 150 hours in the MTO Sport and about 50 hours in the Calidus. For long distant and cold weather flying the Calidus can't be beat. For performance and handling...it is the MTO Sport hands down (I would put the M-16 and the ELA in this category as well). In a perfect world you would have both a closed cockpit machine for trips and the weather and an open cockpit machine for pure pleasure! ;-)
I have flown a MTO Sport with heated flight suit at around '0' degrees F at altitude (14 degrees on the ground). The only issue is getting suited up...not as easy as just jumping into a closed cockpit with heat. The Calidus heat maintains the cabin at a livable temperature but you will still need to dress warmly and for some reason my toes always get cold about an hour into the flight. Your passenger will also appreciate you replacing the back cushion with something that actually provides some comfort on long trips.
07-18-2011, 05:49 PM
I'm at 14 hours of training. I've flown the Calidus a few hours and make some take off/landings with it but most of my training is on the MTO Sport.
I'm in the emergency landings part of the training. My CFI insist on doing some with the engine completely off to show me how the machine need speed without the minimal blow of the propeller at engine idle. So dramatic change, I didn't yet succeeded a good approach with engine off...
Still struggling to loose my FW habits and initiate all my moves with the stick then apply pedals and throttle.
I'm really amazed how a gyro can handle turbulences and much stronger winds than the few ultralights I've owned. Most of the time, my lessons occurs when my planes would have been grounded.
I still get sweats in the back when landing in short fields. My intellect knows that gyros can slow down very effectively, but my guts still apprehend those trees rushing toward us too fast for their taste...
I hope to be solo in a few hours when things will become more instinctive. I'm working in parallel on the recertification of my homebuilt biplane (due to engine change), but I'm not sure it's a good idea to mix flying on such different birds during my gyro training...
07-18-2011, 08:39 PM
Thanks for the update on your progress and experience. It sounds like you have a good instructor. It also sounds like transitioning from FW isn't a simple matter, especially on the takeoff, and now the landings you're practicing. I'm looking forward to more of your updates. Thanks.
07-18-2011, 08:58 PM
I really have enjoyed reading this thread. Good luck as you continue in your training and transition. No doubt a challenge.
On the turning and banking, I hold sixty in my turns as I have been trained that altitude will not be sacrificed or gained. I push it over then roll the stick back in a quarter arc movement to me to hold sixty. Pushing it over in bank without back stick will cause a gain in airspeed and loss of altitude. Pulling back before bank will do one of two possibles. Depending on the flight, you will gain altitude and if you bank and level, you should descend back to your original altitude. I call that hop and banks. If you pull back prior to a slow bank, you will probably just end up doing a bank at a speed lower than best glide and will cause you to descend a bit. Good to maneuver as efficient as possible.
I did my first engine out landing and I know what you mean about needing that airspeed. I had to really do some pushing to get a good speed and make my rudder effective like I wanted. Totally different than an idle engine practice. Any prop wash is helpful obviously. Good that you have an instructor that is helping you with this. Keep us posted!
07-19-2011, 05:44 PM
I never take my lessons before 11h00 AM, or in the afternoon, because the drive is 90 mn between my home and the trainingairfield and at 50 my few good hours of sleep time are too precious when in vacations. It was OK with my CFI, because his school doing mainly paramotors, and the prime hours are also the best for that kind of flying.
Today, I make a special effort to wake up early enough to fly before the wind and the heat build up, so I could get the feeling of a gyro in a more calm weather than I've been accustomed until now.
It was a great move because after some very good touch'n'go and successful emergency landings (one with the engine really off), my CFI climb out of the MTO Sport and gave me the thumb up for my first solo.
A few days before, I would have declined such an offer because I was still under the feeling that the grass field was too short for my standards and I would have preferred to do my first solo on a real airstrip like the one at my local airport. But this morning, I feel confident enough to go for it.
I knew that the nose would go up much faster that in in tandem and I knew the tendency of the MTO Sport to turn left on pushing full throttle, but I didn't expect that the MTO would be such a different beast than what it behave in my 15 first hours of training.
So here I am at full throttle with a nose so high that the tail should have certainly been scraping the ground in the run. I could barely see the strip in front of me, but this is business as usual since my biplane is a tail wheel. But wait, now I see clearly the strip on my right side since I didn't put enough right rudder.
And without my slim but very tall CFI and the 200 pounds that came with it, I need so much pressure to push the stick forward to get the 100 km/h safe speed before attempting any real climbing. No time to trim the stick so close to the ground. But wait, I'm already at 140 km/h, climbing at more than 1000 feet/mn, already clearing all possible obstacles at the third of the same strip that look so short minutes before... Oh god, how would I be able to bring safely that machine down when all it want to do is go up, and climb and climb...
It took me to whole circuit to handle this new machine and I understand now the Sport part of the name. My landing was a bit too fast, my CFI suggest me an approach at 80-90 km/h since it would float much more at solo, but I was a bit high and I build some speed in the final dive. I was ready to put full throttle back and abort the landing if I get too far on the strip, but I stopped just at half of it...
with a big grin on my face :-)
So, I'm going to bed right now in order to wake up early in the morning once more...
11-08-2012, 11:33 PM
Enjoyed reading this Aero, first solo made my breath shorten and my game face come out. lol
Thats the face I use when I feel like I am right on the threshold of my abilities and digging deep to keep focused and not screw up!
I agree with you and thought the same thing about mixing flying when I am so green with the gyros.
Gyro's not ready I got the urge to fly a couple of weeks ago, wings need recovering. It hasn't been started in months but I really wanted to get in the air needed a break.
I thought it will make another flight or 2 safely.
Then started thinking I might fall back into some of the habits I was working on getting out of in gyro flying.
Also i made the mistake of telling my wife last summer the wings need recovered and if she saw me hauling it out of the garage she would probably have put a stop to it anyway.
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