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Chris Lord October 31, 2018

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  • As Langewiesche succinctly put it, "The stick is the speed control" and "The real elevator is your throttle".


    Adding throttle adds wind to an airfoil which results in lift.

    A good example is a powered parachute which flies at a constant speed regardless of throttle position.

    At full throttle, it climbs at approx 26 mph and at closed throttle, it glides down at approx 26 mph.

    Comment


    • Mac, as I wrote, "If Chris could have remained level from a flattened (or nearly so) rotor disk (i.e., without sufficient AoA for level flight) by simply adding power, he'd have done so."


      ________
      Speaking of AutoGyro rotor rpms, the MTO2017 Manual lists "Normal Range/Green Arc" as 200-550 rrpm.
      200 rrpm seems very low for flight rrpm. Shouldn't it be something like 300 rrpm?
      I've never heard of a 2-place gyro with 8.4m or 8.8m (27.6' or 28.9') rotor diameters being continuously flown <275rrpm, and certainly not at 200.



      Click image for larger version  Name:	M2017 rrpms.png Views:	1 Size:	30.0 KB ID:	1141798

      PP - ASEL complex (C172RG, Piper 180, C206, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF, SC2), soloed in gliders

      "
      When an honest but mistaken man learns of his error, he either ceases to be mistaken -- or he ceases to be honest."

      Comment


      • If AutoGyro is sticking with their FLIGHT/BRAKE system, I think it'd be a good idea to concentrate together all rotor related gauges and switches for an easy scan.

        Currently they are spread about the panel, and some are not readily visible (as Phil mentioned):


        Worse in a Cavalon both the switch and the pressure gauge are located in a position where the leg covers both so neither are visible with a casual scan.





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        PP - ASEL complex (C172RG, Piper 180, C206, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF, SC2), soloed in gliders

        "
        When an honest but mistaken man learns of his error, he either ceases to be mistaken -- or he ceases to be honest."

        Comment


        • "So we accept that you can pre-rotate with the aircraft in brake mode." My definition of brake mode is gyro is sitting with 8 bars clamping the brake and forward pressure on the stick. My definition of parked with the brake applied to the rotor was the basis of my comment regarding not being able to prerotate in brake mode.

          Phil, Yes, there is another possibility that a pilot could switch to flight mode and back to brake mode before starting the rotors spinning. I hadn't thought of that and wonder why anyone would do it but that is absolutely possibility. I couldn't figure out why you were so passionate about it by putting it in caps. I am thinking through the checklist while idling on the numbers: hold stick forward - switch to flight mode - bring the stick back slightly to engage the micro switch - push the prerotate button - etc - etc. It seems foreign to me how switching back to brake mode would ever work its way into that sequence but it is absolutely possible. I would imagine that it could occur if the sequence was interrupted by a distraction. Thanks for adding a scenario that I never imagined. I learn every day and thank you for opening my eyes to another scenario. I think I will edit my checklist to check flight mode before releasing the brake to begin my roll.

          Vance, my hand holding the scale is just out of the picture. The pressure rises from 8 bar to 9 bar at full aft stick. I was alone so I had to pull back the stick and take a photo. I am a student as you know. I do these tests to build knowledge of possible scenarios I might encounter in my gyro. If I could just command that damn string better and let go of my "step on the ball" FW training I would a happy pilot. I seem to be "stepping on the string" frequently.

          Comment


          • Click image for larger version  Name:	Cavalon panel-4.jpeg Views:	1 Size:	424.2 KB ID:	1141812



            Circled in yellow are all the rotor and trim gauges. The bottom two are obscured by pilot and passenger legs.
            Who does that make sense to?
            In my opinion, these related and important instruments should all be clumped together.



            ___________
            If I could just command that damn string better and let go of my "step on the ball" FW training I would a happy pilot. I seem to be "stepping on the string" frequently.
            High Altitude, perhaps try "stepping on the head of the snake" (which is pointing at the correct foot of rudder pedal).
            / requires left rudder.
            \ requires right rudder.

            And, as I posted earlier, I applaud your spirit of inquiry and experimentation.



            ___________
            Is it [the FLIGHT/BRAKE switch] a problem? Well with good awareness arguably no more than having retractable undercarriage.
            Phil, I must respectfully disagree with what I see as your over-simplistic and inaccurate analogy.
            It's not as if the AutoGyro's rotor brake system is activated by a stand-alone switch, like a retrac switch -- not connected to anything else.
            Unfortunately, it's connected with and integral to the trim system, both electrically and mechanically.
            I've not seen anything like this in aviation.

            It's akin to an airplane's retrac gear operation being slaved to the flaps switch, with the same motor operating both systems.

            Regards,
            Kolibri
            PP - ASEL complex (C172RG, Piper 180, C206, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF, SC2), soloed in gliders

            "
            When an honest but mistaken man learns of his error, he either ceases to be mistaken -- or he ceases to be honest."

            Comment


            • Just to be clear on the accident itself I'm not trying to pre judge events, I'm sure the NTSB will report when ready. I just wanted to highlight the facts around the BRAKE/FLIGHT switch because there was/is clearly confusion or assumption where I had some experience / facts. Take all of it or none of it as you see fit but being in the wrong mode is easily done and assuming human nature in the USA isn't going to vary too much from human nature in the UK and it is certain that once you guys fly Auto-Gyro product more you guys will find the same issues sooner or later. The process around the use of the BRAKE/FLIGHT switch is very poor and I include myself in that until I had the issue I described and now I am very disciplined only to switch once lined up and the next step is pre-rotating.

              Indeed here are some YouTube clips of the accident pilot at Oskosh 2013 in a Calidus and you can see how experienced pilots have inconsistency with the use of the BRAKE/FLIGHT mode. In this clip he is lined up on the active and the time from switching to flight to pre-rotation is what? 5 seconds. But in clip 2 he is waiting off the active runway and it takes around 30 seconds in flight mode before pre-rotation. I've done the same thing and for sure it is one area that can snag you.

              1 -
              https://youtu.be/5LEEGKpP0wk

              2-
              https://youtu.be/V3lC0Y1QBro

              Again to reiterate I'm not suggesting this is any definitive cause but it is a potential snag and having a good process with that Brake/flight switch will keep you safe.

              One of the biggest snags with gyroplanes is the widely held belief that some how you "fly like a gyro pilot". How many times have you heard that? It is utter nonsense. You fly like a pilot of an aircraft and usually the "fly like a gyro pilot" usually involves some short cut or other flight mode that ignores the decades of good airmanship other forms of aviation have built on the accidents of others. I hate that phrase and usually anyone using it has limited aviation experience outside of a gyroplane. There are no new ways to get hurt in an aircraft.

              To pick up on some points raised. Kolibri you have mentioned rotor RPM quite a few times so I want to clarify my own point. When I answered your question about did RRPMs change I was being too absolute. I don't know if they moved the odd 10, 20 RRPMs and so I gave the answer I did. However they did not fall significantly that I was worried falling RRPMs would be our downfall. The rotor brake is insignificant in its force verse the aero forces so I think you can move on from the rotor brake being a cause of any accident IMO.

              If this played any factor then it will be simply a combination of confusion about what the issues are, a very uncomfortable feeling to continue the flight with the stick forces [and they are significant to be troubling] and then the rest is down to terrain / area and available place to put down. It would not have been an issue to have made some form of round out. If you believe that control restriction is such to have even prevented that then my No.1 place to look would as per my photo I attached initially.

              On the ergonomics / cockpit layout. Yes I think it is an issue worthy of some attention but this isn't an Auto-Gyro bashing session. I think they make some decent aircraft on the whole and if you are aware of the snags [rear seat and rear stick in a 2017 Sport? That is a definite gotcha at some point] then for the most part they are solid aircraft.

              If there is a wider issue then it is very often aligned to the general sport aviation market place and some of the people that exploit that market. If some of these issues are not discussed its because nobody wants to be the one to stick a head above the wall and make a comment that some way down the line means they miss out on ten bucks worth of business. In a way its pitiful but for sure that is the way it is.

              Comment


              • I don't know if they moved the odd 10, 20 RRPMs and so I gave the answer I did.
                However they did not fall significantly that I was worried falling RRPMs would be our downfall.

                Right, and since you were in constant descent for an urgent landing, I'd concur that the rotor brake hadn't been an RRPM issue for you.

                The rotor brake is insignificant in its force verse the aero forces so I think you can move on from the rotor brake being a cause of any accident IMO.
                I'll have to differ here with you in regards to N198LT, which was not in a constant, steady descent (which would have maintained RRPM).
                A witness reported that he had very little airspeed, and may have nearly ceased forward flight at 150 feet. The aero forces would have been less then.
                At that moment, rotor braking may have been enough to slow RRPM below flight minimums, say 275-300 RRPM.
                He did nose over then, which I cannot easily imagine without unloaded rotor. It may have even been a bunt over (power push over, PPO).

                Finally, I wonder if something electrical malfunctioned in the trim system.
                If the FLIGHT/BRAKE switch shorted out, it may have been rapidly going back and forth from FLIGHT to BRAKE, etc.
                That would have been too much of a bizarre problem to chase down in a minute or two over population.



                One of the biggest snags with gyroplanes is the widely held belief that some how you "fly like a gyro pilot". How many times have you heard that? It is utter nonsense. You fly like a pilot of an aircraft and usually the "fly like a gyro pilot" usually involves some short cut or other flight mode that ignores the decades of good airmanship other forms of aviation have built on the accidents of others. I hate that phrase and usually anyone using it has limited aviation experience outside of a gyroplane. There are no new ways to get hurt in an aircraft.
                Indeed, Hear, Hear!

                Thanks for your comments, Phil, safe flying!

                Regards,
                Kolibri
                PP - ASEL complex (C172RG, Piper 180, C206, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF, SC2), soloed in gliders

                "
                When an honest but mistaken man learns of his error, he either ceases to be mistaken -- or he ceases to be honest."

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Philbennett View Post
                  Just to be clear on the accident itself I'm not trying to pre judge events, I'm sure the NTSB will report when ready. I just wanted to highlight the facts around the BRAKE/FLIGHT switch because there was/is clearly confusion or assumption where I had some experience / facts. Take all of it or none of it as you see fit but being in the wrong mode is easily done and assuming human nature in the USA isn't going to vary too much from human nature in the UK and it is certain that once you guys fly Auto-Gyro product more you guys will find the same issues sooner or later. The process around the use of the BRAKE/FLIGHT switch is very poor and I include myself in that until I had the issue I described and now I am very disciplined only to switch once lined up and the next step is pre-rotating.
                  Indeed here are some YouTube clips of the accident pilot at Oskosh 2013 in a Calidus and you can see how experienced pilots have inconsistency with the use of the BRAKE/FLIGHT mode. In this clip he is lined up on the active and the time from switching to flight to pre-rotation is what? 5 seconds. But in clip 2 he is waiting off the active runway and it takes around 30 seconds in flight mode before pre-rotation. I've done the same thing and for sure it is one area that can snag you.
                  1 -
                  https://youtu.be/5LEEGKpP0wk
                  2-
                  https://youtu.be/V3lC0Y1QBro
                  Again to reiterate I'm not suggesting this is any definitive cause but it is a potential snag and having a good process with that Brake/flight switch will keep you safe.


                  One of the biggest snags with gyroplanes is the widely held belief that some how you "fly like a gyro pilot". How many times have you heard that? It is utter nonsense. You fly like a pilot of an aircraft and usually the "fly like a gyro pilot" usually involves some short cut or other flight mode that ignores the decades of good airmanship other forms of aviation have built on the accidents of others. I hate that phrase and usually anyone using it has limited aviation experience outside of a gyroplane. There are no new ways to get hurt in an aircraft.

                  To pick up on some points raised. Kolibri you have mentioned rotor RPM quite a few times so I want to clarify my own point. When I answered your question about did RRPMs change I was being too absolute. I don't know if they moved the odd 10, 20 RRPMs and so I gave the answer I did. However they did not fall significantly that I was worried falling RRPMs would be our downfall. The rotor brake is insignificant in its force verse the aero forces so I think you can move on from the rotor brake being a cause of any accident IMO.

                  If this played any factor then it will be simply a combination of confusion about what the issues are, a very uncomfortable feeling to continue the flight with the stick forces [and they are significant to be troubling] and then the rest is down to terrain / area and available place to put down. It would not have been an issue to have made some form of round out. If you believe that control restriction is such to have even prevented that then my No.1 place to look would as per my photo I attached initially.

                  If there is a wider issue then it is very often aligned to the general sport aviation market place and some of the people that exploit that market. If some of these issues are not discussed its because nobody wants to be the one to stick a head above the wall and make a comment that some way down the line means they miss out on ten bucks worth of business. In a way its pitiful but for sure that is the way it is.
                  Thank you for your thoughtful input Phil.

                  As a flight instructor you have experienced more pilot errors than most people can make in a lifetime or even imagine.

                  As a flight instructor when I say "fly like a gyroplane pilot" I am trying to communicate that a gyroplane may not respond well to fixed wing habits and protocol.

                  I typical fixed wing pilot lands at more than 50kts of indicated air speed.

                  Most gyroplane pilots don't do well touching down at 50kts.

                  In a takeoff roll in a fixed wing the controls are often centered and the takeoff roll is started.

                  A gyroplane pilot likes to have some rotor rpm before commencing the takeoff roll.

                  In my experience most fixed wing pilots rotate at some specific airspeed and command the rotation.

                  In my opinion a good gyroplane pilot allows the gyroplane fly when it is ready at some combination of indicated airspeed and rotor rpm and commanding it to fly is in my opinion poor airmanship.

                  In the USA a gyroplane pilot is specifically instructed to avoid the flow of fixed wing traffic.

                  I feel a gyroplane pilot needs to be more aware of fixed wing traffic because of the speed differential and because fixed wing pilot are looking for wings and find rotorcraft difficult to see.

                  I have not attached the negative connotation to "fly like a gyroplane pilot" that you have Phil. To me being considered a gyroplane pilot is a high honor.

                  I watched both videos and did not see any confusion or inconsistencies about switching from brake to flight and back to brake again.

                  Chris is flying in a very chaotic environment and needs to be ready to go when he hears from the air boss.
                  What am I missing Phil?

                  I don't know any flight instructors in the USA who would not make people aware of what they thought was a problem because of a fear of missing ten dollars down the road. Several CFIs in the USA have been very vocal about what they feel are issues.

                  I feel you may be confusing professional behavior with greed.

                  I have flown and instructed in many different makes and models of gyroplanes and they all have strengths and weaknesses. I don’t see the value in focusing on the negative. I do not see a particular manufacturer currently over represented in gyroplane accidents and the majority of accidents in the USA are pilot error.

                  Most of my clients will be taking their proficiency check ride in a gyroplane different than what I trained them in. I do not find a challenge transitioning them into the check ride aircraft. When they use the appropriate check lists the transition has been relatively easy.
                  Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

                  Comment


                  • What I got out of Phil's comment was that some gyro pilots seem to believe that they are less vulnerable or nearly immune to certain flight aspects.
                    As I mentioned in another thread regarding how to make a gyro approach during very energetic winds/turbulence, it's not like gyroplanes reinvented aeronautics.
                    I had recommended adding half the gust factor to one's short final airspeed, and was thus accused of flying my gyro like a FW by someone who was
                    trying to defend his making a nearly vertical descent landing during variable winds of 30G38 with ground rotors off the hangars.



                    ___________
                    If you believe that control restriction is such to have even prevented that then my No.1 place to look would as per my photo I attached initially.
                    Thanks, Phil, and I'd like to understand that area better. I've saved your photo and rotated it to try comprehend its proper orientation.
                    Could you please explain "which way is up" in it, and also post a couple of other photos of the various cable brackets?
                    I want to correctly envision how the parts move inside the cockpit. Thank you for more photos when you've the time.



                    ___________
                    Regarding the MTO2017 hangar test of trim air pressure and stick forces, I think the disparity between what Phil experienced
                    (having to fight with both hands
                    "troubling" forces) and High Altitude's 23.4 lbs can easily be explained by the strong aerodynamic force
                    of Phil's nearly tucking rotor. Once he had added full "aft" trim, level flight was no longer possible, and he was in an uncontrolled descent.
                    Fighting that and avoiding a bunt over (even at engine idle!) naturally required more than 23.4 pounds of stick force.

                    In fact, the experience was so dicey that Phil discouraged the experimentation of it.


                    Back to High Altitude's test, here was the sequence as I understand it:

                    BRAKE mode on, trim pressure now reversed
                    pitch trim cylinder fully pressurized by max AFT trim (which moves the rotorhead in reverse, i.e., forward) reaching 8 bar on the gauge
                    pulling cyclic fully back (which increases trim pressure from 8 bar to 9 bar)

                    My point here is that aft physical force on the cyclic invariably adds pressure to the trim cylinder, which forces the actuator even harder
                    against the rotorhead and the brake. Thus, aft cyclic in that mode acts like a rotor handbrake.
                    While such may not be significant while in descent, I think it would definitely become an issue between the roundout and flare.

                    Jim Vanek told me that he once tried the experiment of pulling the M912 rotor brake on short final.
                    He described the descent as immediately steepening in pitch, and the roundout and flare barely possible.
                    And, the Sport Copter M912 rotor brake is not as effective as even AutoGyro's single pad system.

                    After such confusing involuntary loss of altitude, I suspect that Chris Lord had essentially "rounded out" at that 150 feet in hesitation over congestion.
                    If so, then his aft cyclic force would have then created max rotor braking pressure, simultaneously with a reduction in airspeed to overcome rotor braking.


                    Show me any aircraft, past or present, where flipping a switch in-flight reverses the pitch trim.
                    AutoGyro only designed it that way to "cleverly" have the air trim perform double-duty as the rotor brake.
                    Those systems must be separated and kept independent of each other, both electrically and mechanically.

                    For the sake of gyro safety, I strongly urge AutoGyro GmbH to redesign their air trim and rotor brake system to avoid the possibility -- by a pilot merely flipping
                    a single switch to the wrong position -- of such a dangerous trim force reversal. That such a wonky system exists in a type certified aircraft is inexcusable.

                    Regards,
                    Kolibri
                    PP - ASEL complex (C172RG, Piper 180, C206, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF, SC2), soloed in gliders

                    "
                    When an honest but mistaken man learns of his error, he either ceases to be mistaken -- or he ceases to be honest."

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Vance View Post
                      In the USA a gyroplane pilot is specifically instructed to avoid the flow of fixed wing traffic.
                      Vance, where can I find that instruction?

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Tyger View Post

                        Originally posted by Vance View Post

                        In the USA a gyroplane pilot is specifically instructed to avoid the flow of fixed wing traffic.
                        Vance, where can I find that instruction?
                        Tyger, you beat me to it. Maybe he was thinking of:

                        91.126(b)(2) - "Each pilot of a helicopter or powered parachute must avoid the flow of fixed-wing aircraft."
                        AIM Section 3. Airport Operations
                        4-3-2-b
                        Pilots approaching to land in a helicopter must avoid the flow of fixed−wing traffic.
                        However, I think the case can be made for tighter and lower traffic patterns in gyros, especially by competent pilots showing ATC what is possible.
                        I've been cleared for inside 500' AGL patterns and to land on taxiways. This was to stay out of the way of faster FW traffic on final.
                        That tower had seen me land my RAF often enough there to appreciate what a gyro can do.

                        Vance seems to have this relationship at his home airport, so perhaps that's what was on his mind as he misquoted the CFR?

                        Regards,
                        Kolibri
                        PP - ASEL complex (C172RG, Piper 180, C206, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF, SC2), soloed in gliders

                        "
                        When an honest but mistaken man learns of his error, he either ceases to be mistaken -- or he ceases to be honest."

                        Comment


                        • It's no misquote. You just don't know the FAA materials in enough depth to recognize it as Vance does. Check Advisory Circular AC 90-66B:

                          12.1.3In the case of a gyrocopter approaching to land, the gyrocopter pilot should avoid the flow of fixed-wing aircraft before making a turn to final for the runway in use to avoid turning in front of another aircraft on final approach.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by WaspAir View Post
                            Check Advisory Circular AC 90-66B
                            Thanks. That's what I was looking for. Although its a bit odd that the FAA use the term gyrocopter in the AC when it is found nowhere in the FAR or AIM, to include the "general definitions" in 14 CFR Part 1.

                            Comment


                            • [QUOTE=WaspAir;n1141853]It's no misquote. Check Advisory Circular AC 90-66B: 12.1.3

                              I’ve seen that. What caught my attention, though, is that that paragraph doesn’t specify a pattern direction or altitude. In fact, the next section, 12.1.4, says that HELICOPTERS may fly a lower pattern (500ft) and may do it on the opposite side. Helos are specified and gyros aren’t mentioned. Plus both the pattern altitude and direction are “”may”, not “shall” or “should” (it’s permitting, not directing). I can find no comments such as this specifically for gyros.

                              Gyros have takeoff, landing, and cruise speeds and capabilities much closer to a Cub than a helo. Gyros cannot hover - at all (slow flight into the wind is not “hovering”). I’d be careful thinking the standards revert to a helo when not specified.

                              Also, don’t forget that’s an ADVISORY Circular: it is not regulatory, strictly speaking.

                              /Ed

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Vance View Post

                                Thank you for your thoughtful input Phil.

                                As a flight instructor you have experienced more pilot errors than most people can make in a lifetime or even imagine.

                                As a flight instructor when I say "fly like a gyroplane pilot" I am trying to communicate that a gyroplane may not respond well to fixed wing habits and protocol.
                                We are getting slightly distracted from the initial point of the Chris Lord accident which I acknowledge is partly my fault for introducing another point! So for the sake of completeness I’ll give my own view on gyroplanes more generally.

                                My comment wasn't aimed at you necessarily and my criticism of terms like “fly like a gyro pilot” isn’t of a technique that is forced upon you by regulation or guidance (as your flying the pattern seems to be?) nor differences simply due to the mechanics of the aircraft.

                                The fly like a gyro pilot phrase is usually meant that every approach is at idle and a spot landing, yet we seem oblivious to the fact most accidents are in the take off and landing phase!

                                The other favourite is making approaches to land across the runway to negate any crosswind, for example. Which just means a) if you make an error you fall off the edge of the runway and into what? Landing lights, soft ground etc and again it doesn’t fit well with most others in the pattern.


                                Particular gyroplane snake oil is the nonsense suggesting the need to turn violently in S turns to "wind up the rotor RPM" before a emergency landing?! If fact I have a YouTube clip for you to listen to the pilot narrate his own efforts and the recommendation from his instructor. In focusing on these S turns he very almost hits wires.

                                https://youtu.be/vk4gRGEaohY

                                So I think aside from the differences in technique as are required by the mechanics of the aircraft class probably best to stick what has kept aviators safe for decades. There is no need for catch phrases or snake oil so that we might hope to sell something that has been offered for free elsewhere.

                                Like I said Vance that isn’t aimed at you as I’ve no idea what or how you teach but we all know people that this cap fits and in a way is part of the issue we have been discussing here with the brake / flight switch. That is a fundamental feature that has very little understanding of and indeed when I raise the point I get slightly heckled by a student pilot with a confused view in a different aircraft. Same with the view on flying in the pattern in a gyroplane in the US. Same as I say with take off / landing accidents. Yet no doubt we have a bunch of fancy catch phrases we can roll out. Maybe?

                                Originally posted by Vance View Post

                                I typical fixed wing pilot lands at more than 50kts of indicated air speed.

                                Most gyroplane pilots don't do well touching down at 50kts.
                                Why the focus on speed at touch down?

                                Pilots will touch down when the aircraft runs out of energy and the wing (in our case a rotor) is no longer flying. The number is irrelevant and most fixed wing pilots probably don't even know what that number is because by the time the aircraft is in the float they are just looking out of the window. That is the exact same thing in a gyroplane. Don't gyroplanes and aeroplanes share a common aim of - fly a stable approach at a nominated airspeed, round out, float, hold off and touch down?

                                As it happens I have a fixed wing aircraft, a DR107 One Design and I used to fly a Hughes 369D. I initially learnt to fly in a PA28 decades ago and I’m rated in Robinson R44, Cabri G2. I won’t bore you with a long list but they all have different speeds to fly at various times during take off, landing or maybe in the aerobatic aeroplane during a loop, roll, etc. Some even have flaps, retractable gear, manual carb heat, mixture, variable props, one is even a turbine! Yet isn’t that just part of being a pilot?

                                We make the effort and take the time to learn our craft and if that means remembering different things for different aircraft that is what needs to be done? I don’t ever recall my aerobatic instructor telling me to fly like an aerobatic pilot. Just fly like a pilot and remember the appropriate items for the aircraft you are in?


                                Originally posted by Vance View Post

                                In a takeoff roll in a fixed wing the controls are often centered and the takeoff roll is started.

                                A gyroplane pilot likes to have some rotor rpm before commencing the takeoff roll.

                                In my experience most fixed wing pilots rotate at some specific airspeed and command the rotation.

                                In my opinion a good gyroplane pilot allows the gyroplane fly when it is ready at some combination of indicated airspeed and rotor rpm and commanding it to fly is in my opinion poor airmanship.
                                It is essential that a gyroplane has some RRPM before take off roll!

                                Without getting stuck on how you are using the term rotate to mean Vr or simply in GA terms a point at which you increase some back stick to climb away. Actually no fixed wing pilot needs to pull the aircraft off the runway and those that do just display a poor technique. Indeed you can read about why an F22 Raptor pilot did just that and ended on his belly.

                                But lets get back to gyroplanes. We absolutely DO command a climb away. Otherwise how else do you respect the height velocity curve?

                                It surely isn’t “some” random combination of airspeed and rotor RPM. Indeed I can give you some absolute numbers now.

                                If you had been taught to look at the respective instrument then you'd see that a typical Auto-Gyro Sport will want to unstick at around 300RRPM and depending upon your technique that will be around 40mph( if you have the stick more aft in a "wheel balance technique") or circa 60 mph if you unload the stick slightly in the take off roll.

                                In terms of climbing away (at my school circa height above 1metre or 3ft 3in in old English money) we climb out at 70mph to 300ft then adopt best climb speed which for sake of argument is circa 60mph.
                                Those numbers will be those numbers within a few % all the time and are repeatable - if you fly an MT you'll be able to find the same. It may not be a stand out item you'll have looked for before because you are not looking for them and whoever taught you didn't look for them either. If you look at my take off technique compared video link below then those numbers can be repeated at will.

                                https://youtu.be/kW65IY39MPU

                                But again that isn’t flying like a gyro pilot is it? It is all just trying to be sensible and fly with good airmanship to keep us safe. In terms of performance it also helps to try and fly accurately and with some idea on what one is trying to achieve. So perhaps because we are driving an aircraft we might make reference to things like angle of attack or drag. Indeed it has taken until the new rotor system 3 for there to be a realisation that drag is having a major impact on the take off and hence the new technique being suggested if you pre-rotate to 300rrpm.

                                Its why in the UK we have more than a fair share of aircraft failing to get airborne and crashing off the end of the runway because they have no real metric they are using to identify when flight is possible. They just put full power and hope for the best. It isn't helped by the use of "power curve" instead of "drag curve". All these things are designed to dumb down something that creates air minded people so they do not fall into simple traps.
                                For some reason the same people who like to use the term “fly like a gyro pilot” also like to dumb everything down and believe everyone gets mentally max’d out if you need to actually refer to a real number or instrument.

                                When I suggested I had changed what I teach take off wise one very experienced instructor in the UK said (and I quote him almost verbatim) "your take off technique is too complex because it means the student has to look at the Rotor RPM guage". I mean really?

                                Originally posted by Vance View Post

                                In the USA a gyroplane pilot is specifically instructed to avoid the flow of fixed wing traffic.

                                I feel a gyroplane pilot needs to be more aware of fixed wing traffic because of the speed differential and because fixed wing pilot are looking for wings and find rotorcraft difficult to see.
                                I agree with the need for awareness because of the performance differences but why avoid the circuit? Surely good RT and everyone in the pattern having good airmanship means we can all fly together? Otherwise you create in the minds of others that you will yield regardless.
                                One issue in trying to fly something unique to a gyroplane is what happens when you fly at my airfield for example? what do you do then? The guys there won't know what non-standard procedure you are using and neither will anyone else in the pattern.


                                In the UK its not an issue tbh but if you have to do it then I hear you but I’m not convinced it makes much sense.

                                Originally posted by Vance View Post

                                I have not attached the negative connotation to "fly like a gyroplane pilot" that you have Phil. To me being considered a gyroplane pilot is a high honor.
                                I'm not sure you understand my point of "fly like a gyro pilot" in the way it gets used in the UK, perhaps my examples above help?

                                Originally posted by Vance View Post

                                I watched both videos and did not see any confusion or inconsistencies about switching from brake to flight and back to brake again.

                                Chris is flying in a very chaotic environment and needs to be ready to go when he hears from the air boss.
                                What am I missing Phil?
                                I'm not saying he is confused I'm saying he has a different process. Merely to highlight that I can easily see how having no plan around the brake/flight switch opens things up to error. Nothing more, nothing less. You can read the words from prior posts its not a criticism and its not suggesting that any of the brake/ flight mode was a factor in any accident I'm just highlighting the potential snags.

                                As for ready to go when the air boss shouts. None of that means or should mean a degradation of airmanship or safety. If you need to line up then pre-rotate and that is your process then stick with the process. How many times has deviation from plan ended in an accident? Then nobody goes because the runway is blocked with your wreck.


                                Originally posted by Vance View Post
                                I don't know any flight instructors in the USA who would not make people aware of what they thought was a problem because of a fear of missing ten dollars down the road. Several CFIs in the USA have been very vocal about what they feel are issues.

                                I feel you may be confusing professional behavior with greed.
                                I think much of this post has ventured far away from that of the accident and the point being made about stick force and the brake flight switch but it is good to exchange views.

                                Actually what are/ is the process for someone to be a US gyroplane instructor? Do they need much experience? Ground school? Flight time? I know very little about the US gyroplane community. Although I did teach a helicopter instructor to fly a gyro who was working in Florida for the guys that got the Auto-Gyro gig but I think it all went pear shaped quite quickly commercially? I’m not sure.I have to say from the conversations I had with this guy there weren’t very many barriers to entry. I don’t know.

                                In the UK the situation is quite different where people are very reluctant to speak up. I’m not sure it has that much to do with greed as it does a general fear of not being included in whatever it maybe… They all get along in order to get along. How do you feel as it happens about the rear seat and stick combination in a 2017 Sport? Do you think it has the potential to snag over time?


                                Originally posted by Vance View Post
                                I have flown and instructed in many different makes and models of gyroplanes and they all have strengths and weaknesses. I don’t see the value in focusing on the negative. I do not see a particular manufacturer currently over represented in gyroplane accidents and the majority of accidents in the USA are pilot error.

                                Most of my clients will be taking their proficiency check ride in a gyroplane different than what I trained them in. I do not find a challenge transitioning them into the check ride aircraft. When they use the appropriate check lists the transition has been relatively easy.
                                I don't think I am focused on a negative, other than the point initially raised in the context of a fatal accident is by definition negative.
                                I would agree there are no real make/model that are stand out accident and pilot error is the major factor - but then doesn't that suddenly get to the heart of everything I've been saying?

                                In this case it isn't the brake/flight switch of issue as much as good communication around it and understanding how it works. I hear you on check lists but this can't be a check list item because its done just before/ as you line up and needs to be committed to memory - which is why doing it consistently and having a plan keeps you safe.

                                The fact that most gyroplanes get written off in take off or landing phase tells its own story and in my opinion its a training issue/ syllabus issue and despite all the PR/hype/suggestion that we are so much further on; the silly accidents we do have don't tell the same story.
                                Indeed the perception of what we do is very poor. We can all talk about centreline thrust and low g - good grief the PRA have been doing so since the 1960's - and of course its important to keep that understood BUT that isn't why gyroplanes crash in the main today. They crash because perhaps in the focus on engine failures and low g we forget the other things that it is good to plan for.

                                But look that's just my opinion and as I said we have kind of gotten away from the crux of how this started and I do not want to get into a last word contest as can happen on forums.

                                Also the post from Kolibri ref the picture of Cavalon controls. That is under the seat and the stick in is the fully aft position and the bearing therefore forward towards the composite body structure. Its nothing remarkable other than it creates a potential for objects to restrict control. Lets not get over focused on this – if it was a control restriction there are possibilities for that to happen – as have happened and been happening in fixed wing pilots for decades. Again did it happen in this case? Who knows and I suspect given what the NTSB have to work with I wonder if they will find a definitive cause.

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