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Landing Vortex M912 on side of hill

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  • Landing Vortex M912 on side of hill

    Last weekend flew up to NH to have breakfast at restaurant near local farm. The farmer allowed group to fly in mainly with tail dragger Cub type of planes. So of course I wanted to fly my Vortex M912.

    I did a few passes to check it out, and it was a short grass field with fence around it and about 10 degree down slope across the side of the grass strip.

    So I decided to land perpendicular to the grass strip going up the incline.

    Landing was fine although I was looking too much at the landing spot rather than out far so landed harder than normal soft touch down.

    I knew the grass was going to be soft, but it was actually mud on top of frozen ground so I started sliding down the hill after landing.

    I tried to taxi along the length of the grass strip, but the gyro just wanted to go down the hill. Brakes were not effective since I was just sliding in the mud.

    I turned off the engine and put on rotor brakes, and navigated down the hill sliding slowly with brakes on the whole way.

    At the bottom it leveled off, and had a few hundred feet before the tree line. The grass strip was surrounded by trees.

    I took off and had to go between some fence posts, and then when got near the trees I did 180 and flew back to climb out.

    Anyone have experience landing on slopped hills? I think the Vortex would be okay taking off with the slope if dry, but haven't done it yet.

    It was a learning experience with the mud. I was going to leave it there until it dried off if I couldn't get out, but it was fine taking off at bottom of hill near tree line. Landed at end of this photo towards right.

    Thanks - Dave

  • #2
    Wind permitting I try to land uphill off airport so I can use the engine to keep from sliding back down the hill.

    I came very close to sliding into some lemon trees landing on a slopped gravel road. I could not tell how sloped it was till I got close and ran out of options.

    I put The Predator on a trailer to leave the lemon grove because of turbulence and obstacles. There was probably enough room to takeoff and climb out and lots of my friends were watching. It was bordered by a busy highway so taxiing out (my first choice) was not practical.

    A tail wind creates lots of challenges with a gyroplane so if I can't land level or uphill off airport because of a tail wind I go somewhere else.

    On a paved runway it doesn't make any difference other than landing downhill confuses my sight picture.

    I like to walk the takeoff run before taking off when I am off airport.

    I imagine every takeoff is going to be trouble and prepare for it. It is nice when it doesn't come.

    It is good that you recognized the problem you had with your sight picture on landing Dave.

    I try to get people to intentionally shift from looking at their aiming point to as far out as practical as them begin their round out.

    I find it makes a big difference in the quality of the landing.

    Climbing out around trees can be problematic because there may be a rotor on the lee side of the tree line that will cause considerable sink in that area.

    A cub is a short takeoff and landing aircraft.

    A gyroplane is a long takeoff and short landing aircraft.

    It is easy to land somewhere it is not safe to take off.

    Keep in mind you best angle of climb speed (Vx) when departing a short field with obstacles. Remember the cyclic is not the altitude lever.

    I feel it is a mistake to try to do what Cubs can do taking off in a gyroplane.

    Gyroplane pilots are rumored to not know the capabilities of their aircraft Dave; please donít confirm the rumors. Please expand your capabilities slowly and progressively.
    Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI


    • #3
      Obviously, you need bigger tires. I'd start with Alaska Bushwheels like the Cubs. ; )

      I have 2 sets of wheels for my 582 Vortex. I use the stock tires on the main wheels and nosewheel 90% of the time since they are lightweight. I use tundra tires on the mains and a homemade nosewheel that handles a tundra tire on the front for flying at the beach or in the desert southwest.



      • #4
        Eric can you share photos of your tundra tires?

        Vance, I agree it was easier to land than take off. The photo doesnít do the slope justice as it was steeper than what it appears. Iím still learning what the gyro can do. I learned I donít like sloped muddy hills. It was good experience.

        Thanks for the replies.


        • #5
          Tundra tires on Vortex.

          Here's a couple of pics. It's a HEAVY homemade copy of the original SC nosegear.