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  • Originally posted by Grodou View Post
    Thanks for sharing another well told adventure, Vance.
    A broad smile on a passenger's face is always a pleasant reward and a pilot's delight !

    Pictures just make me wanna fly by those scenaries someday.

    Keep up the storytelling, sir !
    Thank you for the kind words Fred.

    I appreciate the fun and passion you share here.

    For Ed Flying with me is a lot like going dancing and it was a romantic day.

    I love sharing the fun with my friends or the Rotary Wing Forum and I am glad to have you along.

    I love the way the joy of flying gyroplanes can transcend borders, language and culture
    Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI


    • Glad to have you along John Rountree!
      Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI


      • Laura Wood and Joe Pires both commented on the same photo on Facebook and I felt my response to them might answer some questions here about how we picked the pictures to post and what Ed is trying to share with her art.

        As we looked through Ed's 672 images we were looking for things we felt were visually interesting, beautiful or made us feel like we were in the aircraft.

        We found this picture visually interesting because of all the different shapes and textures and you could just see the edge of the starboard fuel tank and landing light and that placed us in the aircraft.

        The silvery reflections were much brighter on the original picture and more exciting in person. I could feel the heat reflected off the water on my face as I looked down.

        We were descending with the power well back about 1,100 feet above the ground and the swishing of the blades was the dominant sound. It was one of our magic gyroplane moments.

        It is interesting that you both noticed this particular image.
        Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI


        • John had recently returned from delivering Cirrus to the east coast with at least three hours in hard instrument meteorological conditions AKA couldn’t see a thing. His VariEze is almost airworthy and it appeared to me he needed an aviation fix. Saturday I asked him if he wanted to fly up to San Luis Obispo for the EAA meeting. Sunday he was ready to go at 10:30.

          John had helped me become a flight instructor by helping me teach him to fly my gyroplane (The Predator) so he is welcome to fly with me anytime.

          Flight Service warned us of moderate turbulence and increased winds in the afternoon.

          We were wheels up at 11:10 from Santa Maria (SMX) headed toward San Luis Obispo (SBP).

          John couldn’t hear me well so I was flying when I thought I heard a noise in the back seat. It was John wohooing in the back seat waving his arms and reminding me that even very simply flying is magic.

          We encountered moderate turbulence near the foothills and gently rocked and rolled toward SBP.

          There was a fire north of SBP making the air smoky.

          The San Luis Obispo Tower was busy. I was to make a straight in for runway two niner and report four miles. Before I could report I was “number two behind a Bonanza, runway two niner clear to land”. There were three behind me and shortly we heard; “gyroplane Two Mike Golf make all practical speed and exit at taxi way Echo, no delay”. I ran her up to 90kts (104mph) making it kind of windy for John in the back seat.

          As we touched down and scooted off the runway I heard ATC say; “nice job Two Mike Golf, contact ground point six.” Ground directed us to parking and we jointed the meeting for some delicious hot dogs and some good hanger flying.

          A retired airline pilot talked about what it was like to fly the heavies and a World War Two navigator who was shot down and became a fighter pilot in Korea shared some of his aviation adventures. It was a delightful meeting.

          As we prepared for takeoff winds were 310 degrees at 15kts gusting to 22kts.

          We had a short ground roll and I flew a right down wind departure by noise abatement procedures.

          A small adjustment to John’s helmet had made communication practical so I gave him the controls.

          We climbed up to the ridge and descended over Lake Lopez in some pretty strong turbulence. John handled it well with smooth appropriate control inputs.

          As we made our way through the Huasna Valley we were on the leeward side of the ridge making for more rocking and rolling and some pretty good power changes to maintain altitude.

          I called Santa Maria (SMX) air traffic control over the Twitchell Reservoir and I was to make right traffic for runway three zero and report mid field. I suggested to John that we descend to pattern altitude over the city (1,300 feet mean seal level) and he pulled power over the foothills. I suggested he wait till we were past the hills before he began his descent to avoid colliding with the hills. He hit altitude his target exactly. I love how smoothly a good instrument pilot flies.

          John had not flown with me in several months and it was a little windy so I asked him if he felt comfortable landing. He did and he made a perfect landing with very little coaching from me. On our taxi to the hanger I taught John about managing the spool down on a windy day.

          We had some good hangar flying over his recently cross country adventure and then called it a day. We both had the warm afterglow of a shared aviation adventure.
          Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI


          • your videos are inspriational vanse, as a life long pilot I always search for the flying truth.
            Last edited by gyrojeffro; 09-22-2018, 07:37 PM. Reason: looking good vance!


            • Thank you Jeffro, always glad to have you along.
              Interesting video!
              Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI


              • Originally posted by gyrojeffro View Post
                your videos are inspriational vanse, as a life long pilot I always search for the flying truth.
                to be honest, vance flying on a plastic seat in open air has never oppealed to me, going back to my roots with a real airplane. I flew today and couldn't convence my brain to go above 500 ft even though I knew it was safe.


                • Packed and ready for the flight to the Ken Brock Freedom Flyin looking out my office window I can barely see the other side of the street for the fog at 8:30.

                  Visibility at Santa Maria (SMX) is two miles in mist with the ceiling reported at 299 feet.

                  Temperature is 13.3C and the dew point 12.8C.

                  The terminal aerodrome forecast for SMX has it clearing at 10:30.

                  Santa Barbara (SBA) is not supposed to go visual flight rules till 1:00.

                  Camarillo is supposed to go visual by 10:00.

                  There is a notice to airmen that Agua Dulce runway 4/22 is closed.

                  The good news is the winds are not supposed to get over ten knots in the high desert for the rest of the day and sunset is not till 6:39.

                  I will be staying on the lakebed this year with my friend Chuck Studebaker in his fancy motorhome and departing Sunday morning weather permitting.

                  I am looking forward to a lovely 165 nautical mile flight each way and visiting with old friends and meeting new ones.
                  Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI


                  • Ken Brock Freedom Fly In; packed and ready to go.

                    The weather challenges are fog in the morning along the coast and wind in the afternoon in the high desert.

                    Santa Maria went visual flight rules (VFR) around noon but Santa Barbara (SBA) was still instrument metrological conditions (IMC) till one and there was some question about what would happen south of Carpentaria with the fog intruding inland. Oxnard (OXR) was still IMC at 2:00 just 11 miles west of Santa Paula (SZP), my first gas stop. The fog can move inland quickly.

                    I didn't want to try to land at El Mirage after dark (6:35) so I decided to launch at 2:00 despite conditions not being ideal. It is about a three hour flight and I had two gas stops planned so I would land at El Mirage with plenty of gas well before sunset.

                    I had lieutenant Pack as my back seater with four days of clean cloths, an extra helmet and my computer.

                    I checked the ATIS (weather) at SBA and it was marginal VFR.

                    I pulled up to the hold short line and contacted the tower with my request. I heard the magic words, "Gyroplane 142 Mike Golf, right down wind approved, runway three zero clear for takeoff."

                    She climbed out quickly and I was at 2,000 feet msl as I flew over the numbers on a right down wind.

                    Things looked a little challenging in the distance and there was a mist in the air.

                    I basked in the warm fall air and marveled at the ease we climbed to 3,500 feet for the San Marcos pass.

                    The Predator seemed pleased to be starting on an adventure.

                    Santa Barbara Approach gave me a squawk code and verified altitude. They were very busy because of the marginal weather and lots of instrument traffic.

                    I could feel the warmth on my face from the sun reflected off the surface of Lake Cachuma.

                    As I cleared the San Marcos pass and looked east along the shoreline the fog was coming pretty far inland so I stayed high along the mountains so I could go back over the ridgeline if the fog intruded further. I caught some lift and pulled the power back just sort of rumbling along effortlessly.

                    I basked in the ocean air and the magical view.

                    The fog was caressing the hills along the shoreline as I entered No Name Pass.

                    Lake Casitas was still a rich blue and as I came over the last ridge before Saticoy I could not see Oxnard (OXR) beneath the fog.

                    I found a gap in the traffic at Santa Paula and made a short approach and a very short landing to get out of the way.

                    I pulled up behind a Stearman that was having trouble getting started with a failing battery and I felt the joy as she burst into a rough slow idle when she was hand propped with all the pageantry of hand propping a big radial.

                    I hope to write and post the rest of the story this evening.
                    Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI


                    • I checked the weather and was pleased that the winds were below 20kts in the high desert and took off for General William J Fox Field (WJF).

                      I continued to climb and enjoyed the way the world expands as I gain altitude.

                      As I flew over Santa Clarita at 5,500 feet a reginal jet passed a thousand feet beneath me probably on the way to Burbank. She looked very large and I felt very small.

                      I called General William J Fox tower from ten miles to the west, with Charlie descending through 5,500 feet and was to make left traffic for runway two four and report midfield despite it being marked right pattern for runway 24 on the chart. The air was getting a little bumpy but the wind was variable at six knots on the surface.

                      The tower was gracious and told me I could side step to alpha and hover taxi and seemed surprised when I explained that I had wheels.

                      I fueled up and checked the weather for the short 31 mile hop to El Mirage Dry Lake.

                      I asked ground how to ask for a departure to the east and was told to make a left down wind and proceed on course. I had not heard that before and it is not in my pilot/controller glossary. I received the same instruction from Sothern California Logistics Saturday.

                      The wind started turning against me as I neared El Mirage but experience told me to check the windsock at Gyro cove. It was pointed south so I pulled the power and landed to the north. The meet started Friday so there were not a lot of people there. Still quite a few came out to greet me and I settled into the post flight inspection and securing the aircraft. The 165 nautical flight (190 mile) flight had taken 2.7 hours.

                      Chuck Studebaker was out shopping for our stay so I spent some time talking with old friends and had a nice visit with Carl who was leaving before morning.

                      The sunset was spectacular and it was a lovely end to a lovely day.
                      Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI


                      • Fun at the Ken Brock Freedom Fly In.

                        The accommodations were great, Chuck was a great host and I ate well.

                        There were lots of profound adventures going on and a lot of great hangar flying with both old and new friends.

                        We addressed many of the problems of the world such as getting old and affording to fly.

                        El Mirage is a wonderful place to practice balancing on the mains for takeoff before the somewhat treacherous winds come up and there was some flight testing going on.

                        I was fortunate to spend some time with Marion Springer and her family.

                        The volunteers from PRA Chapter One did a great job of making the lake bed habitable and the event welcoming.

                        Saturday morning I flew off to Sothern California Logistics (VCV) with a new friend making a poor aviation decision. The winds were light and variable on the lake so I felt the ATIS reporting 18kts gusting to 28kts just 11 miles east must be old. I picked up the new one on the way 26kts gusting to 36kts. There were lenticular clouds over the airport and dust to the south.

                        My friend flew well (70 hours in a Cessna 172 and no rotorcraft experience) and I took the controls when things got a little bumpy. The closer we got the more turbulent it became. The tower graciously offered me the ramp and I took her up on it. It turned out she had worked with me at an Airshow at Cable, San Luis Obispo and Whitman airports.

                        I was making a vertical descent from about 20 feet when the gust went away and dropped us down pretty quickly. I added power and flared aggressively; my friend thought it was a nice landing.

                        We purchased fuel and enjoyed the pilot’s lounge at Million Air. The restaurant was closed and they offered us a car to drive into town for lunch but we wanted to get back to the event. They are always very nice there.

                        The takeoff was quite an experience with the gusts popping us up and dropping us down cocked about thirty degrees to the runway heading. We were in the down side of a rotor from the ridge and each time we would get some altitude it would push us back down. We used all 9,138 feet of runway two one to get 500 feet of altitude above the ground. I was seven miles into the flight before I reached my cruising altitude of 3.900 feet (1,000 feet above the ground).

                        When we got back to gyro cove the winds were light and variable.

                        We had occasional strong winds and dust but most of the day was very flyable.

                        The banquet was a lot of fun with lots of raffle prizes and some well-deserved awards.

                        I won the longest distance flown because I had talked my friend Paul into not flying because of the AIRMET for turbulence and wind gusts to 50kts (57 miles per hour).

                        Checking the weather Saturday night it looked like a repeat of Thursday with fog along the coast. The winds in the high desert were supposed to start up at 11:00 so I wanted to get an early start.

                        There were a lot of interruptions to the preflight Sunday Morning but I eventually managed to pronounce her airworthy and her cargo secure (Lieutenant Pack). When I dipped the tanks I found I had used a surprising amount of fuel on the flight back from VCV and made note of it.

                        I checked the weather with flight service (1-800-WXBRIEF) and except for a head wind for most of the way the weather looked good for the return with very little fog along the coast at 9:00.

                        There was a hurricane on its way from Mexico but it was not likely to affect us.

                        Homeward bound.

                        I was off by 9:30 and flew a low pass to wave good bye.

                        I was pushing against a 20kt head wind as I made my way over Lake Los Angles.

                        I worked to find my way points as I made my way across the high desert wondering what draws people to this hot arid place.

                        I was pleased to see the Antelope Valley Freeway wind its way over the hill and followed it over the hill to Santa Clarita.

                        I had burned a lot of gas coming back from VCV and I had a head wind most of the way to Santa Clarita so I decided to stop for gas at Whiteman (WHP).

                        I had to stay below Burbank's class Charley floor (3,000 feet MSL) and had a hard time picking out the runway as I made a straight in for runway 12. Whitman Tower was both gracious and solicits.
                        Last edited by Vance; 10-04-2018, 06:19 PM.
                        Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI


                        • The Predator holds 22 gallons of 100LL and I like to land with an hour of fuel on board. She burns around 7 gallons per hour. After filling up with 14.8 gallons I made a left downwind departure to the north through the Newhall pass to miss the busy Van Nuys airspace on my way to Camarillo feeling like I had made a good aviation decision.

                          I followed the Santa Clara River and popped back over the ridge over Simi Valley and called Camarillo tower inbound with Delta ten miles to the east descending through 2,500 feet. I was to make a straight in for runway 26 until I explained "slow moving, 75kts" and they apologized for having me make a right down wind for runway 26 and report downwind mid field. I was cleared to land number two behind the Bonanza on a five mile final before I had a chance to report. I was abeam the numbers when he touched down and made a short approach landing at taxiway Bravo.

                          It is a long taxi to the Way Point Café and it took 45 minutes to get seated but it was well worth it.

                          I checked Flight Service for the weather before departure and it looked like a nice flight home. There was a hurricane coming up from Mexico that would not arrive before I reached Santa Maria.
                          Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI


                          • The last leg.
                            It can get busy on the weekends at CMA and I had to wait my turn. I was to fly straight out and ATC would call my turn to the north. I was feeling uneasy about Oxnard’s airspace by the time my turnout to the north was called and frequency change was approved.

                            Because I was heading west I climbed to 4,500 feet MSL and found a surprising tail wind that began over Lake Casitas and continued till about 20 miles South East of Santa Maria.

                            The world expands with altitude as do the solutions for problems. I still prefer low level and I made up for it by flying close to the ridge where I found both lift and a tail wind heading west toward the San Marcos pass.

                            I started descending over the San Marcos Pass until I reached pattern altitude about 30 miles later. I was catching lift on the windward side of the hills.

                            Things started to look familiar and the familiar voice in the tower reminded me I was almost home.

                            I was tired and it felt good to get home after a four day flying adventure.

                            Thank you for coming along and sharing the fun!
                            Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI


                            • Flying a one of a kind experimental gyroplane has its unique challenges.

                              There is not a pilot's operating handbook (POH) so I needed to develop a lot of it in her phase one as far as loads and V speeds.

                              There is not a specific maintenance schedule so preflight inspections and condition inspections need to be more careful and broad based.

                              When a problem is found I often have to make the parts or have them made by people who have unique skills who are often not just waiting around for my call.

                              I have had a lot of trouble with my needle teeter bearings brinelling from the beginning and take them apart to lubricate them with special helicopter grease every fifty hours. They typically look rough after about two hundred hours and I usually replace them with less than three hundred hours.

                              They have high molecular weight plastic shims to control side play and even brand new needle bearings aren’t very tight.

                              My good friend Jake was nice enough to make new teeter towers from slightly thicker aluminum for my rotor head using spherical bearings located with a step. I needed to drill two precision, precisely located holes and was pleased when everything went together well.

                              The bearing supply house feels the bearings will outlast the aircraft and will easily handle the thrust the plastic shims did.

                              In the past when I replace the needle teeter bearings and the plastic shims the rotor has felt a little smoother. I feel this is going a lot further in the same direction.

                              I had spent most of the day on this modification and I was excited to test fly her at 5:00 expecting that she would feel different with the new precision afforded by the new set up with no high molecular weight plastic shims and much tighter bearing clearances.

                              She did not pass her preflight inspection as I found a small crack in one of the cheek plates.

                              Most gyroplanes have cheek plates that attach the rotor head to the mast.

                              The Predator first flew 19 years ago and she has over nineteen hundred hours on her.

                              She will be down for a couple of weeks while Smokey makes new cheek plates.

                              I need to get them painted and install them.

                              I am planning to make some other small modifications while she is down for repairs.

                              It is the first time I have had to cancel a lesson because the aircraft was down for repairs and I have had to cancel several.

                              I hate to disrupt someone's training schedule.

                              I had many of this sort of disruption during my own training.
                              Last edited by Vance; 10-18-2018, 11:46 AM.
                              Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI


                              • Really glad to hear that you have replaced the out of date needle bearings with spherical ones you will really

                                be pleased with the results.

                                Especially after seeing the amount of wear on the needle bearing inner race its really a lot, amazing it didn't shake so bad that you couldn't see straight.
                                Best Regards,
                                Eddie Sigman,Polvadera,nm
                                (575) 835-4921