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Greetings from South Bend, IN.

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  • Greetings from South Bend, IN.

    Hello RWF! My name is Nicholas Dawson and I am originally from Dayton Ohio. I grew up surrounded by aviation and was extremely passionate about it. My grandfather and father both were pilots however neither of them flew when I was growing up. I was fortunate enough to have an amazing neighbor named Bill Hatton who first got me involved in model aviation. Later on when he purchased an airplane I was lucky enough to fly along and learn from him. I accumulated time in a small Grumman Trainer and then a little later on he purchased a Grumman Tiger. I really enjoyed fixed wing aircraft however my real passion always was helictopers and rotorcraft. Fortunately for me, Bill Hatton was also the lead mechanic for the local hospital’s care flight helictopter. When I spent a day job shadowing him, I was hooked and from then on all I thought about were helicopters. I mean he was working on a $9 million dollar Eurocopter Dauphin and I was just blown away! I really wanted to follow in his foot steps and enter my local Vocational High School’s A&P program. It was 1997 and was also the first year the school offered a Computer Information Technology program. Everyone pushed me towards that program as I was also good with electronics. I foolishly listened when being told that computers were the future and if I really wanted a job in the future than this was the class I needed to take. Looking back on it now I truly wish I would have went with what I was passionate about! Over the years life gets in the way and I slowly drifted away from my passion for aviation. Fast Forward to 2018 and I am now finally back enjoying my passion for aviation again! I have slowly drifted away from working in the IT field and into manufacturing. I currently operate a 3 axis CNC mandrel tube bender and I am looking to get into Aviation manufacturing. I am building the interior components and stanchions for New Flyer city buses. I have recent applied with an Aerospace manufacturer and am hoping I will soon be working with my passion daily! I am also interested in obtaining my LSRM certification and am actively working on my Sport Pilot Gyro rating along with fixed wing rating. I am extremely active in my local EAA chapter 132. I am a PRA member and would like to become active in the Indiana PRA Chapter. I was involved with the Civil Air Patrol as a teenager and I am looking to get involved again with my local squadron. I look forward to meeting and speaking with everyone here at the Rotay Wing Forum. I am interested in building a Gyro in the near future. I have been looking into both the SportCopter Vortex and the Aviomania Genesis G1sE. I would love any advice or thoughts on these or other gyros! Now that I have wrote what will probably be the longest Greetings post... I am done!

    Best Regards,

    Nic Dawson
    Last edited by Flynic3; 01-14-2018, 05:51 AM.

  • #2
    Welcome Nic, Come see us in Greencastle Indiana. We are PRA chapter 34 and have both the Sport Copter and Genesis in our hanger. We have two Twinstarrs and a lot more for you to admire.

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    • #3
      Welcome. I am also from South Bend. Also a CAD / CNC manufacturer. Might have much in common. Building a Gyrobee currently.

      Brian

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      • #4
        Okaneco1 and Brian Jackson,

        Thank you both so much for the warm welcome and I look forward to getting to know everyone here!

        Okaneco1 - I just responded to your private message and I look forward to making a trip down there and meeting everyone. It is quite the trip down there and back but know it would be worth it. If I am unable to find an instructor closer to my area than I will be making the trip down for instruction.

        Brian Jackason - I am extremely excited to hear that there is someone local who shares the same passions as me and is in the same business. I am over in Elkhart but not too far from you at all. I am interested in designing my own gyro in SolidWorks eventually as well, if you would be interested in tackling such a project. I have access to a SOCO 6 axis machine, EB100 and run an eagle performance machine that has been updated with Adaptive Motion control... all Mandrel bends. I am looking into designing a stainless steel tube frame chassis with carbon fiber body... and wonder what your thoughts are on this.
        I am curious what sort of products you work with in CAD/CNC and what sort of machines you are using. I would think with our manufacturing ability combined we could come up with something quite impressive! I look forward to getting to know you more here on the forum and I agree that we would have a lot in common. I hope this message finds you well and hope you are having a Happy New Year thus far!

        cheers!

        Nic

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        • #5
          Hello, Nic....

          I know Bill Hatton. I learned to fly helicopters in Vandalia, OH at the hangar where they did the maintenance on the Dauphin. I got to know a lot of the Care Flight people. That was back a number of years and I have not seen or talked to Bill in quite a while. I hope he is doing well.

          Welcome to the forum. Flying gyros is terrific but be warned....it is addicting. You will find a lot of good advice, suggestions, etc. here. But, as with any publicly-accessed forum, there are some who spew forth with a negative slant. Simply weigh it all out and you can glean some great info from some great people.

          Steve

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          • #6
            Steve,

            I am blown away that you know Bill Hatton and I am estastic to know that you were able to meet the Care Flight team. I unfortunately lost touch with Bill when I moved and truly wish I could somehow catch up with him again. He was my neighbor in Englewood for many years and gave me my first experiences in R/C and Aviation. He helped me build my first R/C kit and trained me how to fly it. He truly was an awesome guy and gave me experiences that I cherish to this day! I pray he is doing well and hope at some point our paths with reunite!

            I am afraid to admit it but I think I am addicted already and I am just starting my Ground School this evening! I can not wait for Mentone and look forward to meeting this incredible community of fellow Gyro addicts! Thank you kindly for the warm welcome Steve!... are you still located in Vandalia? I was curious if All Star Helicopters was still around at the Dayton International Airport? That is where my CAP squadran was located and a friends father owned the place. I am still amazed that someone knew Bill Hatton and was a part of their aviation story as well!

            Best Regards,

            Nicholas Dawson

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            • #7
              Nic,

              I am still in Ohio but not Dayton. Believe it or not, I work with some people now who used to work at Care Flight and who may...key word "MAY" be able to help me track down Bill. I'll let you know if I do. All-Star closed their doors about 15 years ago. I don't recall him being into R/C. Last I saw Bill he flew his single-seat Grumman into Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport & we chatted on the ramp. He was just out punching holes in the sky that day.

              Mentone is usually a great time....lots of flying and the opportunity for me to speak with those who know more about gyros than I. Since you are in Elkhart you're only less than 30 minutes from Mentone ?

              Steve

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              • #8
                Steve,

                I greatly appreciate your assistance in helping me get in touch with Bill. I would love to get in touch with him again and I am curious if any of the Care Flight folks remember me. Granted this has been almost 20 years ago now... I remember Bill always joking that the pilot had a big belt buckle that said “Worthless”!
                He always did love his Grumman’s and didn’t know he now had a single seater. The first plane I ever flew in was with him in the Grumman Trainer. I actually met him through R/C aviation when he first moved up the street from me. He was out in his backyard flying around a little .049 powered Glider... I was instantly hooked when he connected another radio and let me take the controls. He helped me build my first R/C kit “The Piece of Cake” and taught me to fly it. I was very fortunate to have met him and consider myself blessed to have had the experiences I did at that age.

                I am extremely excited for Mentone and am looking forward to it. I am looking forward to meetimg everyone in person and most important learn more about this niche sport! I believe it is about thirty to forty five minutes down to Mentone however I may just camp out for a few days as well. I am trying to figure out how to juggle Mentone with OshKosh and may just take the two weeks off for both. Either that or I would like to take a week off work shared between both. I would also like to get some training time in if at all possible when at Mentone. It will be a busy couple of weeks for sure, but it will be well worth it! Again I really appreciate the help my friend and hope it works out!

                Best Regards,

                Nicholas Dawson

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                • #9
                  Hey, Nic....

                  I talked to Bill. I sent you a PM with his contact info.

                  Steve

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                  • #10
                    Hi Nick,
                    Mentone is probably the closest PRA Chapter, but PRA 18 in Lansing, IL (just over the Illi-indy border) (77 miles from So Bend), is probably the easiest to get to. We have a hangar full of gyros and are a 50 yr old club. Come see us some weekend.
                    Tom Milton, PRA Director, Need a DAR, Seat tank, Prerotator, Rotor Brake, or Rotor Tach?
                    Have Airworthiness Certification questions?
                    gyroplanes@aol.com or
                    Visit www.calumetair.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Good Morning Tom,

                      Thank you kindly for the post and helpful information! I would love to come visit and meet everyone on a weekend soon! When does the chapter meet and when would be a good time to visit? I am extremely excited about getting actively involved in a PRA chapter like I am with my local EAA chapter 132. I really enjoy meeting everyone involved in Sport Aviation and look forward to meeting you and the chapter! I greatly appreciate the helpful post and will hopefully be able to make it over there soon...

                      Best Regards,

                      Nicholas Dawson

                      GyroCraft,

                      Thank you so very much my friend for assisting me in getting re-United with Bill Hatton. I spoke with him last night on the phone briefly and it was incredible to hear his voice again after twenty years! I am truly blessed to have been given this opportunity and I greatly appreciate you helping out! I appreciate it more than words can describe! Thank You!
                      Last edited by Flynic3; 01-28-2018, 09:52 AM.

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