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  • new RAF owner's experience pre-/post-Boyer HS

    Hello, I'm a new SP Gyro add-on pilot to my PP-ASEL, and new to this forum (although I've read 100+ threads here, mainly on the RAF HS issue).

    I'd first trained in a Calidus over 11 hours and got a PIC signoff. The next summer I bought a stock RAF with carbed 2.2, brokered by Dofin Fritts. The difference in the two aircraft was significant, and I never felt comfortable in the stock RAF. It felt extremely pitch sensitive (like a swinging bucket under the rotor), and had we flown with the doors on I'd have certainly noticed the yaw instability as well. After some 11 hours with Dofin at Brewton (not my idea of a pleasant instructor, though his wife hosts a quality guest room), I passed my PTS for a Sport gyro rating, though I honestly was not much enjoying my first gyro and did not feel hugely confident in it.

    I was actually questioning my purchase decision after I discovered the controversy about HS vs. no HS on RAFs. As most of you all know, Dofin is vehemently against all h-stabs. (He actually goes so far as to claim that the FAA Gyro Handbook incorrectly ascribes center of gravity vs. drag when explaining the hinge point of PPOs. He kindly "corrected" my copy with his marginalia while muttering that the CLT guys had gotten to the FAA author.)

    So, I spent some 20 hours researching an issue my renowned gyro CFI never warned me about. The weight of forum evidence and anecdotal accounts led me to purchase a Boyer Ultimate HS without Dofin's knowledge or blessing. What clinched the purchase was Ron Menzie's Evaluation of the Horizontal Stabilizer for the RAF2000:


    During my evaluation flight I did not encounter any negative effects of the horizontal stabilizer, even in steep climbs and steep turns. I first flew the RAF with the stabilizer, then flew my RAF without a stabilizer, paying particular attention to the nose up and down motion. While it's natural for an experienced pilot to adjust to this motion, you can't expect this from the student.

    With so much experience, it's very easy for instructors to instinctively compensate with minor adjustments that are beyond a students level of skill. Using a horizontal stabilizer will enable students to achieve good, safe, flying skills with less frustration and fewer hours of training. I see no reason for it to take 25 hours of training to fly a gyroplane. Over the last twenty ive years, I've trained several hundred students in fewer hours using Benson style gyros with no enclosures. Instability in the rotor craft has a direct impact on the students confidence that he or she will be able to successfully learn to fly the gyroplane.
    Dofin trailered my RAF to me out West, and we further trained post-PTS 3.5 hours in it while stock. He noticed the box containing the Boyer HS, and to his credit took it pretty well, even helping my A&P and me install it. He warned me that climb performance would suffer, which it did, but the HS dramatically stabilized the airframe and I was instantly flying my RAF better. Dofin noticed this, but was reluctant to praise the new HS. I then soloed for the first time, with a 40lb. block of concrete on the passenger seat. The Boyer HS added greatly to my confidence and comfort of flying. By now, I've now more time with the HS, and my flying improvement is profound.

    If my RAF always had a Boyer HS, I could have transitioned into it in probably about half the time (i.e., 5-6 hours vs. 15) -- all the while avoiding Dofin's snide comment of "[I thought you] would pick up flying the gyroplane quicker". Little wonder that some pilots training in a stock RAF for a gyro add-on need 20+ hours, not knowing how much easier the RAF is to fly with a Boyer HS because a stabless CFI never explained so.

    Takeoffs (formerly the trickiest part for me) are much more docile. I don't find pattern rate-of-descent much affected. Landings don't require any "2-part flare" -- rather, just round out past the numbers and flare/touchdown as normal, just as Ron Menzie described. Flying with the doors on is now no-yaw hassle, although I did tape on a yaw string to help me fine-tune coordination. I've landed in a ~15kt. x-wind with no trouble.

    Flying my first solo x-country trip, I easily had the RAF to an 80mph cruise with the Boyer HS on. If the HS does reduce cruise speed somewhat that's a fair tradeoff for the added pitch and yaw stability. While I could remove the HS just to remind myself of how a stock RAF felt, I'm really not in the mood to relive that. I live near hills and mountains in the West, and sudden downdrafts are common out here.

    The build quality of the Boyer HS should be a bit improved for its $1250 price. (My painter remarked that it will take more filling and sanding than he expected to make it look nice.) The installation instructions could be better written, and a drilling template should be included. The bolts seem mere hardware store parts. But, overall, I'm glad I added it to my RAF, and agree with Larry Boyer that it is a must for newbie RAF pilots. (Just my unpaid honest opinion.)

    It is my firm opinion that any newbie gyro pilot should not be handed a stock RAF 2000. The learning curve is much steeper than necessary, and without an HS the newbie is assuming increased risk of a PPO during an unexpected downdraft. I also believe it irresponsible for any gyro CFI to promote a stock RAF 2000 to student pilots, regardless of his own personal opinion of stabbed RAFs. All the newer gyros have significant horizontal stabilizers (most with much winglet surface area, too), and there's a damn good reason for that. Dofin Fritts doesn't have to like stabs, but he should cease and desist discouraging students from them.

    I would urge the South African RAF company an about-face on this issue, as there are far more compelling reasons for a stabbed RAF than not. On the rafpilot forum, 12:13 believe in adding an HS, and that's probably the reason why RAF fatalities have been reduced the past 10 years.

    It'd be preferable that I had a CLT machine, but I will fly carefully in my Boyer stabbed RAF and consider most of the PPO worry behind me.

    I appreciate the many excellent posts many of you have made about the HS on RAFs, in particular Ellsworth, Beaty, Aussie Paul, etc.

    Regards,

    Kolibri
    Last edited by Kolibri; 10-20-2014, 10:00 AM.
    PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

    Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!

    "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

  • #2
    The FAA grounded Dofin for a year after two of his recently soloed students bored smoking holes within a short period and permanently revoked his examiner privileges.

    Ostensibly for paperwork violations; equivalent to sending Al Capone to Alcatraz for tax evasion. Go with what you can prove.
    Last edited by C. Beaty; 10-18-2014, 07:20 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Chuck, I became aware of that only after I'd already trained in the unstabbed RAF he sold me.

      I subsequently asked him about some of those student deaths, and his explanation was generally that they were low time gyro pilots, most of whom flying without an add-on.

      I've researched the 15 fatal RAF accidents in the USA, and discuss the apparent high 40% proportion of Dofin's students. In the spirit of truth, and not to defame the man, I'd like to understand why.

      I'm beginning to question my particular machine, and possibly my Brewton training.

      Nice way for a CFI/broker to treat a newbie!
      http://www.rotaryforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=41893

      RAF 2000 Goodyear redrive belt failure in flight
      http://www.rotaryforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=41898

      According to the builder's W&B Report, I have a CLT RAF 2000!?
      http://www.rotaryforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=41906

      Thanks for any helpful facts and commentary you all can provide!

      Regards,
      Kolibri
      Attached Files
      Last edited by Kolibri; 02-24-2015, 07:44 PM.
      PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

      Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!

      "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

      Comment


      • #4
        That list makes me sick because I see tons of poor pilot decisions that resulted in loss of life. I sure hope that you break out your thick ass RAF manual and see that every single one of those accidents may have been prevented had precautions took place. No full owner under 200 rotor rpm, no pushing over to 0g, etc. I don't think I could ever be a gyro cfi because I trust no one. You just can't prevent stupid.
        BW
        PPL-ASEL; SP-Gyroplane
        Pace, Florida

        Maule MT7-235 (N235)
        Got STOL?

        RAF 2000 GTX SE FI (N429RK) Sold 2014
        Stabilator/Stability Dust

        Building the GENESIS G1sa - Aviomania

        YouTube Videos

        Comment


        • #5
          I share your revulsion about it, too. I wouldn't become a gyroCFI, either, for the same reasons.

          I'm doing what I can to always self-educate as pilot, especially with a new add-on to gyros. I've only ~30 hours in my RAF, with 10 hours in a Calidus before that. I've nearly 500 hours in fixed wing and gliders.

          I carefully monitor my RRPM during the takeoff roll, I don't zoom climb, or do other blatantly stupid things up there. I yesterday survived my first potentially disastrous equipment failure.

          However, I have to wonder what-if-any is the correlation of 33+% of RAF pilot deaths to having been Dofin's students. I need to know for myself as one of his students, who is now trying to discern the quality of my training in Brewton and if I should at once bolster such with another CFI.

          Regards,
          Kolibri
          Last edited by Kolibri; 10-20-2014, 10:00 AM.
          PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

          Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!

          "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

          Comment


          • #6
            Understood. In that case, go with your judgment and get additional training from another CFI. Maybe the way forward is to get further instruction. In the end though, if you fly the RAF within the parameters explained in the manual and understand The principles of rotorcraft and aerodynamics, you can only build from that to become a more efficient and safe pilot. It sounds like you are already making good decisions regarding your own safety. In the end, your safety is in your own hands. So keep it up.
            Last edited by willisbr; 10-19-2014, 02:26 PM. Reason: Spelling
            BW
            PPL-ASEL; SP-Gyroplane
            Pace, Florida

            Maule MT7-235 (N235)
            Got STOL?

            RAF 2000 GTX SE FI (N429RK) Sold 2014
            Stabilator/Stability Dust

            Building the GENESIS G1sa - Aviomania

            YouTube Videos

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kolibri View Post
              I have to wonder what-if-any is the correlation of 33+% of RAF pilot deaths to having been Dofin's students....
              You keep throwing out those figures as if they're statistically relevant.

              It's very likely the guy had at least 33% of the RAF instruction market over a period of years. The rate you need is not his fatalities divided by total RAF fatalities, but his fatalities divided by his total students trained, then compare that rate with other CFIs.

              If there were 720 students trained, he trained 33% of them, and he had 33% of 12 fatal accidents, that's a pretty low rate. And that might not be too far off the total.

              You're chasing a non-isssue. At least statistically.
              Paul W. Plack
              Private ASEL, SP Gyroplane
              Secretary, URA & PRA2
              Editor, Western Rotorcraft

              Comment


              • #8
                In the end though, if you fly the RAF within the parameters explained in the manual and understand The principles of rotorcraft and aerodynamics, you can only build from that to become a more efficient and safe pilot. It sounds like you are already making good decisions regarding your own safety. In the end, your safety is in your own hands. So keep it up.
                Thanks, Brian. I agree that my safety is in my own hands, which explains the ardor of my posts regarding my training. For example, speaking of learning the "principles of rotorcraft and aerodynamics" whom do I believe regarding H-stabs and PPOs:

                FAA Gyroplane H-8083-21, page 21-3 (thrust line over center of gravity, see attachment)

                or

                Dofin Fritts, my second gyro CFI, who altered the FAA's language on my page to "center of drag"?



                ______
                It's very likely the guy had at least 33% of the RAF instruction market over a period of years. The rate you need is not his fatalities divided by total RAF fatalities, but his fatalities divided by his total students trained, then compare that rate with other CFIs.
                OK, fine. Let's get that data, finally.

                Dofin is one of, what?, a half-dozen high-time gyro CFIs with hundreds of students. The other 5 or so other such CFIs are well known (Duane Hunn, Jim Logan, Jim Mayfield, Ron Menzie, etc.), so let's ask them for an estimate of how many gyro students they've had, and of them how many fatalities. (This should have been done years ago. It's 2014 and folks here have been decrying RAF fatalities for over a decade. If incomplete/poor training is an issue, we should know why and whom by now. So far, the only CFI I've consistently seen here related to student crashes has been Dofin, and I want to learn if he's been fairly or unfairly singled out.)



                You're chasing a non-isssue. At least statistically.
                Yes, well, at least I'm "chasing" it at all, so perhaps you'll forgive my imperfect start while I hone the question.

                Regards,
                Kolibri
                Attached Files
                Last edited by Kolibri; 10-20-2014, 10:00 AM.
                PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

                Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!

                "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi:
                  I am not trying to start anything but its comical to look at just center of gravity at CLT. Aircraft are a system and the whole integration is taken into account to determine the final effect in regards with stability and many other "non-prescriptive" desired characteristics. It is quite possible to get into a PIO in a CLT aircraft and have a tragedy as well.

                  Simplistic prescriptive formulae always have shortcomings. The proper solutions whether they be horizontal stabs or CLT or both or stability assist systems are proven through rigorous precise testing and an operating limitations envelope conservatively developed and expected to be followed in real end user use.

                  What you are looking for is stability. Not CLT or Horizontal stabs. Those two are specific solutions employed to gain stability. There could be other solutions as well. I have seen a few videos of gyroplanes simply bunting over and none so far have been at the static case of low airspeed from a zoom climb. In all of them the gyroplane had been moving at a good click. We have to think about what happened there then because the simplistic case is certainly not what happened.

                  I would hate to be in your shoes flying a machine I seriously question, seriously questioning your training and having low hours. I hope you can get to the point where you have done confidence in both the machine and the training. They both go hand in hand to produce safety.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I really think you should have not gotten an RAF. Really really.
                    BW
                    PPL-ASEL; SP-Gyroplane
                    Pace, Florida

                    Maule MT7-235 (N235)
                    Got STOL?

                    RAF 2000 GTX SE FI (N429RK) Sold 2014
                    Stabilator/Stability Dust

                    Building the GENESIS G1sa - Aviomania

                    YouTube Videos

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Kolibri, maybe you could put some pics of your machine up.... maybe RAF owners on here can look and maybe advise you of anything else you might think of doing to boost safety?
                      Just an idea?
                      Gyrocopters are the best things going round....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This is Ron Menzies experience with horizontal stabs.
                        http://ronsgyros.com/Technical.html
                        http://gyroplanetraining.com/

                        Helping Plan a grand 2017 PRA convention


                        PRA BOD # 38604

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I really think you should have not gotten an RAF. Really really.
                          Brian, why not?

                          ____
                          fara, I agree that stability is the goal (HauptZiel in German), and I've already done what I immediately could with the Boyer HS. I think it got me past any critical point, but after flying it more I will consider a dropped keel mod though I don't relish having to thus swap motors for a 2.5. Just wanted to buy a machine that was "fun and easy to fly" as advertised. After the Calidus, an unstabbed RAF is not "easy" and thus not "fun". (The Boyer HS has gotten me 80% there for that, though. Thanks Larry!)

                          fara, please post some youtube links regarding PPOs not during a zoom climb. I scoured the internet months ago for such, to no avail.


                          I would hate to be in your shoes flying a machine I seriously question, seriously questioning your training and having low hours. I hope you can get to the point where you have done confidence in both the machine and the training. They both go hand in hand to produce safety.
                          Thanks for that; I agree. I'll be replacing many parts my RAF CFI explicitly recommended "that these parts do not need to be changed out at this time". He may "replace Drive belt, prerotator/gimble bearings at 400 hours, and redrive bearings at 600 hours according to what I find at each inspection period." but that no longer satisfies me after a 90 hour redrive belt from 2008 failed on me this past weekend.

                          All belts and hoses will be R&R, and then the bearings. Not trusting anything any more.

                          ____
                          Brent, thanks for the link; saw that already, and it's what convinced me to go with a Boyer HS. I like Menzie's open-minded approach to H-stabs, and that he trains his students with them. That really is the only fair way to handle the HS "controversy".

                          MadMuz, good idea, thanks. I'm on my little netbook with insufficient RAM to crunch the photos while doing other things, so, another time.

                          Regards,
                          Kolibri
                          Last edited by Kolibri; 10-20-2014, 10:00 AM.
                          PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

                          Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!

                          "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I trained with Menzie in a RAF with no stabilizer. I found him an excellent instructor and lucky to find him.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Kolibri,
                              Could you please change the color of your text? That green is very hard to read on my iPad.
                              Tim Chick
                              My youtube channel --------------- http://www.youtube.com/user/tchick
                              Watch videos of Bensen Days 2007 - http://www.youtube.com/view_play_lis...B8C1F17B074D3F
                              Watch videos of Bensen Days 2008 - http://www.youtube.com/view_play_lis...DCDDF78B4169D3
                              My Sport Copter Build -------------- http://www.rotaryforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25142

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