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  • Based on my analysis; in my opinion none of the 39 accidents in the last three years reported to the NTSB were caused by a linked nose wheel.

    Before I became a flight instructor I felt a nose wheel linked to the rudder pedals was a bad idea. As a low time gyroplane pilot I had scared myself in RAFs and Sparrow Hawks when I did not manage the round out and flare well. I had developed a particularly hazardous takeoff technique. I often flew in cross winds beyond my abilities.

    I didn't know how close to trouble I was and there was always someone who would tell me I was on the eve of destruction.

    Now that I have discovered there are bolder student pilots with even less skill than I had and found out how forgiving linked steering is; I feel that a linked nose wheel is a reasonable design compromise and the market appears to me to support that. I never imagined how badly a gyroplane can be landed without damage to the aircraft.

    I prefer a free castering nose wheel with some sort of suspension in a large part because strong winds are so common at the airports where I give instruction and it reduces the importance of specific pilot errors.

    It appears to me that most of those 39 gyroplane accidents involved some pretty fundamental pilot errors.

    As I study the NTSB reports it appears to me the majority of the accidents involve a badly mismanaged rotor.
    Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

    Comment


    • As I study the NTSB reports it appears to me the majority of the accidents involve a badly mismanaged rotor.
      Yes, but how many AutoGyro, ELA, etc. rotor mismanagement incidents could have been minimized or saved with more forgiving landing gear?
      For example, as I already mentioned, your SCII owner/student who badly managed his rotor at VNY praised the Sport Copter gear for saving his gyro.
      There was no tip-over. There is a "holistic" benefit you're missing.

      And, many tip-overs are not reported (especially at untowered fields); your NTSB data is not all inclusive.


      I prefer a free castering nose wheel with some sort of suspension in a large part because strong winds are so common at the airports where I give instruction and it reduces the importance of specific pilot errors.

      Finally, something we can agree on.

      Regards,
      Kolibri


      PP - ASEL complex (C172RG, Piper 180, C206, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF, Sport Copter II, M912), 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


      • I use the NTSB reports as part of the flight training I offer so I am familiar with them. I have mentioned repeatedly in my posts that I feel there are insufficient data points for useful statistical analysis.

        I feel if ELA and AutoGyro had the scope of the problem you postulate Kolibri; it would show up in my limited research.

        I have already written repeatedly I prefer a free castering nose wheel in a gyroplane. I feel no compulsion to pretend it is anything beyond my personal taste or insult all the people who have purchased gyroplanes from ELA or AutoGyro.

        It is clear a majority of gyroplane purchasers prefer a linked nose gear.

        I doubt it is just because they don't know any better or are too cheap to pay for what you feel is a better, safer design.

        They simply don't agree with you Kolibri.

        I suspect the cost to produce a free castering nose wheel with differential braking is very similar to the cost to produce a nose gear linked to the rudder pedals.

        Bringing it closer to my personal knowledge; only one of my clients purchased a gyroplane with a free castering nose wheel. Most of them have made numerous takeoffs and landings in windy conditions in The Predator with her free castering nose wheel. A cross wind landing is part of the practical test standards so all of them have made at least three.

        All of them took their check rides in gyroplanes with linked nose gear and they all passed.

        In my opinion Kolibri; your assertions of ELA and AutoGyro using a cheap dangerous design and will be eventually forced to upgrade to what Sport Copter has used are based on your fear and inexperience.

        In my experience when flown like a gyroplane AutoGyro linked steering is very forgiving. I have no experience flying an ELA.

        ELA and AutoGyro simply want to build what people want to buy and they have been validated by the marketplace.

        In my opinion Sport Copter, ELA and AutoGyro all have well designed nose wheels systems.



        Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Kolibri View Post
          Yes, but how many AutoGyro, ELA, etc. rotor mismanagement incidents could have been minimized or saved with more forgiving landing gear?
          For example, as I already mentioned, your SCII owner/student who badly managed his rotor at VNY praised the Sport Copter gear for saving his gyro.
          There was no tip-over. There is a "holistic" benefit you're missing.

          You’re obviously very enamored with the SportCopters, which is good for you. Personally, I’d be inclined to wait and see how the new gyro actually flies and performs before so fully committing to it but that’s just me. Hopefully it will fly sometime soon and we can all see if it lives up to the hype.

          /Ed

          Comment


          • It is clear a majority of gyroplane purchasers prefer a linked nose gear.

            I doubt it is just because they don't know any better or are too cheap to pay for what you feel is a better, safer design.

            They simply don't agree with you Kolibri.
            Vance, I'd concur . . . IF . . . AutoGyro or ELA offered a choice between both systems, and purchasers still chose the linked NW.
            But they're not offered a choice in NW design. So, I disagree with your "the market prefers" rationale.

            Regarding general market ignorance, having seen potential gyro customers at neighboring OSH 2018 booths of ELA and Sport Copter,
            I can attest to what the average gyro-newbie public doesn't know or understand. After seeing the common raked simple fork of ELA, AG, etc.,
            they were noticeably impressed with the Sport Copter gear.

            One aviation couple had taken a Cavalon test flight, and later talked to Jim at SC.
            After mentioning the jarring taxi in the Cavalon, they shifted their interest to the M2.
            So, in my opinion, when single and side-by-side gyro customers see the SC gear alternative, they prefer it.



            _____________
            You’re obviously very enamored with the SportCopters, which is good for you.
            Personally, I’d be inclined to wait and see how the new gyro actually flies and performs before so fully committing to it but that’s just me.
            Hopefully it will fly sometime soon and we can all see if it lives up to the hype.
            Thank you, EdL, me, too.
            Since the upcoming M2 is based on the proven M912 suspension and landing gear, and uses large 6,00-6 tires all around, ground handling will be excellent.
            They'll post close-up videos of the M2 gear in action over rough terrain and intentionally bad landings.



            Click image for larger version  Name:	M2 shark fin and suspension.png Views:	1 Size:	497.4 KB ID:	1142759

            Click image for larger version  Name:	M2 yellow landing gear.png Views:	1 Size:	300.7 KB ID:	1142760



            NOSEWHEEL DESIGN - On most gyros, the nosewheel and rudder are interconnected, which creates an inherent problem for cross-wind take-offs and landings: Exceedingly low take-off and touch-down speeds are true hallmarks of gyrocopter performance; however, in cross-wind situations, a low forward speed makes any cross-wind component potentially destabilizing if the nosewheel is not aligned with the aircraft's actual path when contacting the ground. With an interconnected nosewheel and rudder, the alignment of the nosewheel is dictated solely by the position of the rudder, which means that in typical cross-wind maneuvers (such as forward slips, pilot-induced aerodynamic skids or "crabbed" lift-offs and touch downs) the rudder--and therefore the nosewheel--will not be aligned with the actual ground path, which can result in the classic ground-loop.

            We have an independent system: First, our nosewheel is free-castering, so it aligns itself instantly upon ground contact, eliminating any tendency to ground-loop. Second, our nosewheel features an ingenious high-viscosity shimmy-dampening system which provides unsurpassed stabilization at all speeds. Third, our nosewheel uses double swing-arm suspension with twin-impact compression bosses (which are actually an integral component of the shimmy-dampening system) giving Sport Copter unrivaled stability and controllability-even at high speeds and over very rough terrain. In short, our nosewheel system design is amazingly simple and effective. . . and the only one of its kind.

            Finally, there is the matter of steering a Sport Copter on the ground with a free-castering nose wheel. Traditionally, non-steerable nosewheels have displayed rather demanding taxiing characteristics, but in the case of the Sport Copter series, steering is easy and smooth. There are three primary reasons for this:

            1) The high-viscosity anti-shimmy mechanism defeats the "hunting" tendency of a free-caster to amplify or over-steer answers to steering inputs. The viscosity mechanism instantly "brackets" all steering commands.
            2) Primary steering input is accomplished by independent toe-operated hydraulic disk brakes, integrally mounted with the rudder pedals (all four pedals in the two place model). These brakes are thoroughly effective and show no propensity to fade.
            3) It is axiomatic that for any ground vehicle, a properly-designed steering system will seek to center itself in the absence of any other input. The Sport Copter accomplishes this by a single spring-loaded centering device which effectively maintains whatever steering input has already been "bracketed" by the viscous damper.

            The net result is not only authoritative steering, but an aircraft that practically "nails" itself to the runway centerline during take-offs and landings.




            With its new body, tail, 915iS engine, and prop, it will of course see extensive flight testing.
            I've looked it over extensively during their design stages, and understand why they hold such high expectations for it.
            They're coming down to the wire on finishing the prototype while tooling up for mass kit production, and It'll be flying this Spring.

            I'll be getting some early time in it, and will post about my flights.

            Regards,
            Kolibri
            PP - ASEL complex (C172RG, Piper 180, C206, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF, Sport Copter II, M912), 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


            • Spring starts Wednesday, March 20 and ends Friday, June 21.
              Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Kolibri View Post
                Vance, I'd concur . . . IF . . . AutoGyro or ELA offered a choice between both systems, and purchasers still chose the linked NW.
                But they're not offered a choice in NW design. So, I disagree with your "the market prefers" rationale.


                Perhaps Vance's statement would have been a bit more accurate if he had said "It is clear a majority of gyroplane purchasers prefer gyros with a linked nose gear." Market share seems to support that, pretty clearly. There are different tastes in cars (fully offroad-capable Jeep vs. Lexus), planes (Carbon Cub w tundra tires vs. Cessna 152), motorcycles (motocross vs. Harley cruiser), etc. Same for gyros. Sounds like whenever it arrives, the M2 will be more of the Yamaha Mule of gyros, with other brands filling different niches.

                Regarding general market ignorance, having seen potential gyro customers at neighboring OSH 2018 booths of ELA and Sport Copter,
                I can attest to what the average gyro-newbie public doesn't know or understand. After seeing the common raked simple fork of ELA, AG, etc.,
                they were noticeably impressed with the Sport Copter gear.

                One aviation couple had taken a Cavalon test flight, and later talked to Jim at SC.
                After mentioning the jarring taxi in the Cavalon, they shifted their interest to the M2.
                So, in my opinion, when single and side-by-side gyro customers see the SC gear alternative, they prefer it.


                To be clear, the couple actually got to experience the Cavalon. All they could do was see a mockup of a future prototype of the M2. Did they actually put money down on an M2? That would be a bit more "committed", I'd contend.

                Since the upcoming M2 is based on the proven M912 suspension and landing gear, and uses large 6,00-6 tires all around, ground handling will be excellent.
                They'll post close-up videos of the M2 gear in action over rough terrain and intentionally bad landings.


                The focus sounds like on the ground handling, which is clearly a priority for some markets. Personally, and apparently based on market share, there are those who have good access to good runways and see the off-road capabilities as features rather than true benefits. But this will apparently fill a niche.

                With its new body, tail, 915iS engine, and prop, it will of course see extensive flight testing.
                I've looked it over extensively during their design stages, and understand why they hold such high expectations for it.
                They're coming down to the wire on finishing the prototype while tooling up for mass kit production, and It'll be flying this Spring.
                From your description (and no other updates on their website) it sounds like even the prototype is not yet ready to fly. Again, personal preference, I'm not personally interested in being a "test pilot" and flying a gyro that hasn't even flown yet. That was perhaps the biggest issue for me personally with the AR-1 (and purely my personal risk aversion and I was very up-front with Abid about it): although the AR-1 is based on a proven design, I wanted someone else to work out the kinks before I committed to it. And to clarify: several AR-1s had been flying and without issues when I was in the market. That's also a big reason I went with the 912 for mine: the 915 clearly seems to be having some growing pains in gyros, especially cowled ones. Purely my personal preference.

                Sportcopter's website is interesting. It seems to focus quite a bit on the S II photo-wise but that's not a big focus otherwise and, for example, I'm not sure I see pricing. And when you click on the top-level Gyroplanes tab you get a page listing the gyros on the left - which includes the "New SST coming in 2017" but no reference in that left column to the M2.

                Somewhat back to the spirit of this thread, do you know what the crosswind limits are for the SportCopters? I don't see that anywhere. And landing with 30 degrees of crab is not something I'd choose to do in any aircraft: I'd definitely go around. Almost by definition, if a crosswind is so strong that one can't keep the nose straight even if at the rudder pedal stop, one is beyond the crosswind limit, IMHO.

                Good luck with your "test piloting" when the M2 arrives!

                /Ed

                Comment


                • Spring starts Wednesday, March 20 and ends Friday, June 21.
                  Vance, they must certainly know that. I don't understand your purpose for the post.


                  _____________
                  Perhaps Vance's statement would have been a bit more accurate if he had said "It is clear a majority of gyroplane purchasers prefer gyros with a linked nose gear."
                  Market share seems to support that, pretty clearly.
                  That's like describing the "preference" of 1935 airline passengers for piston-engine aircraft.
                  Until the M2 comes out, there is no Rotax powered class 2-place gyro in the market with free-castering trailing-link nosewheel and differential toe brakes.
                  I.e., historically/currently there has been no choice available, thus no "preference".



                  To be clear, the couple actually got to experience the Cavalon. All they could do was see a mockup of a future prototype of the M2.
                  Did they actually put money down on an M2? That would be a bit more "committed", I'd contend.
                  They saw the first prototype in progress, already with Rotax 915iS and MT prop, not a "mockup".
                  I don't know if they put down a deposit, but I do know that they were no longer interested in a Cavalon.



                  Somewhat back to the spirit of this thread, do you know what the crosswind limits are for the SportCopters? I don't see that anywhere.
                  Almost by definition, if a crosswind is so strong that one can't keep the nose straight even if at the rudder pedal stop, one is beyond the crosswind limit, IMHO.
                  IIRC, the M912 has demonstrated crosswind of 18kts.
                  With its larger rudder, the M2 could be higher.
                  Many gyro pilots land directly into the wind if the runway's crosswind component is excessive.



                  And landing with 30 degrees of crab is not something I'd choose to do in any aircraft: I'd definitely go around.
                  Certainly. However, my point was that the machine can safely handle a lot of landing error from the pilot.


                  Again, personal preference, I'm not personally interested in being a "test pilot" and flying a gyro that hasn't even flown yet.
                  Well, I didn't quite describe myself as a "test pilot". That's Jim Vanek's job, and he's extremely careful and thorough.
                  I will, however, see some of the earliest time in an M2 after Jim is satisfied with it.
                  I've no anxiety about that since much of the M2 is based on the proven M912. yet with additional strength.



                  And when you click on the top-level Gyroplanes tab you get a page listing the gyros on the left . . . but no reference in that left column to the M2.
                  Sport Copter M2:
                  http://www.sportcopter.com/Gyroplane...7/Default.aspx
                  Click image for larger version  Name:	Sport Copter M2 website.png Views:	1 Size:	78.7 KB ID:	1142809



                  PP - ASEL complex (C172RG, Piper 180, C206, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF, Sport Copter II, M912), 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 Kolibri View Post


                    I've looked it over extensively during their design stages, and understand why they hold such high expectations for it.
                    They're coming down to the wire on finishing the prototype while tooling up for mass kit production, and It'll be flying this Spring.
                    Regards,
                    Kolibri
                    I felt your timeframe of flying in the spring was unreasonable Kolibri; so I wanted to make certain you knew how soon spring started and when it was over. Spring begins March 20 and is over June 21.

                    I went to the website and see kit deliveries of the M2 will begin in spring so it looks like you are on the same page as Jim.

                    Based on my manufacturing experience this time frame seems very optimistic to me.

                    As far as I know there has never been a mass produced kit gyroplane.
                    Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

                    Comment


                    • I felt your timeframe of flying in the spring was unreasonable
                      Given how much they've already completed, vs. what's left to launch the prototype, it'll be flying in the Spring.
                      They've had mold tool supplier delays beyond their control, but they're past all that now.



                      Mass production, also known as flow production or continuous production, is the production of large amounts of standardized products,
                      including and especially on assembly lines.
                      To me, "mass production" needn't be hundreds of thousands of units/year.
                      I'd consider AutoGyro's several units per week as "mass production" because it is continuous production.
                      Sport Copter is tooling up for assembly line production, and scalable.

                      Regards,
                      Kolibri




                      PP - ASEL complex (C172RG, Piper 180, C206, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF, Sport Copter II, M912), 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


                      • The M2 at OSH was a non-flying prototype with tail feathers bolted on it that would not be the final ones. I thought I’d actually heard “mock-up of the prototype” at the booth but may be wrong - it does seem an apt description.

                        As for the the web page, yes, I saw that but what I said was if you CLICK on the word Gyrocopter (don’t simply HOVER and select from the drop-down) you go to a page that, on the LEFT side has pictures of the products such as below. Again, it shows the SST coming in 2017 but no mention THERE, where ostensibly the full (and future) product line is shown. Just unusual.


                        Click image for larger version  Name:	8CF9F44E-F8A4-4FBC-9000-0E392EDEF20D.png Views:	2 Size:	280.0 KB ID:	1142827

                        As for “test pilot”, purely my non-engineer personal opinion but until a new aircraft has, say, 1,000 total hours on the TYPE (not necessarily one aircraft) I personally think they’re still in the “test phase”. I’d say the same is true for the first half a dozen kits being built; home building is a process in itself and I’m sure the kits will go through refinement. Sounds to me (perhaps incorrect) that you hope to be one of the first to get an M2 and even within the first few hundred hours of flight time on the type. That’s why I jokingly refer to being a “test pilot” in quotes - not actual title.

                        This is clearly - passionately - your interest, so good on ya!
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by EdL; 03-10-2019, 08:33 AM.

                        Comment


                        • if you CLICK on the word Gyrocopter
                          Ah, I see what you mean, and will pass along the comment, thanks.
                          They're planning on revamping their website by the summer.


                          until a new aircraft has, say, 1,000 total hours on the TYPE (not necessarily one aircraft) I personally think they’re still in the “test phase”
                          I take your point, and it's a prudent one in general if one has not visited Sport Copter and seen their M2 development in progress.
                          Jim will wring it out thoroughly, and nobody is better capable for that. (The M2 will be capable of loops and rolls.)
                          Not being a completely clean-sheet new design, much of the M2 (gear, suspension, mast, rotor system, lower control yoke, rudder pedal system) is already proven.
                          Refinement may be required for the hand controls and perhaps cyclic ergonomics.
                          I'm sure that the testing will go smoothly. The M2 is hardly their "first rodeo" and is quite simple compared to the SCII.

                          Regards,
                          Kolibri

                          PP - ASEL complex (C172RG, Piper 180, C206, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF, Sport Copter II, M912), 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


                          • Question just because ive never been minded to try. On the loops and rolls is there anything technically that helps or with the right technique i can do in anything?? Could you ask what his technique is??

                            Comment


                            • Phil, for safety's sake, I doubt that Jim would describe his technique publicly. Perhaps if you asked him in person?
                              He said that his first attempt was pretty hairy.
                              I've never been right-seat seat for such maneuvers, but it's been offered. I'll work up the nerve someday, lol.

                              Regards,
                              Kolibri
                              PP - ASEL complex (C172RG, Piper 180, C206, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF, Sport Copter II, M912), 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
                                Question just because ive never been minded to try. On the loops and rolls is there anything technically that helps or with the right technique i can do in anything?? Could you ask what his technique is??
                                Actually, I wondered about commenting on that. A pix of an SC2 doing a loop is clearly visible on the website plus I’m pretty sure I saw a pix of a Vortex doing one, in the upper right of a brochure but I can’t seem to find that one. Nonetheless even mildly promoting the idea loops in a gyro are possible seems very unwise to my risk-averse mind. It also seems to promote the “flying like a gyro pilot” idea you’ve mentioned, Phil. That seems like an exceptionally dangerous move and you only get to be wrong once - unlike in a truly aerobatic fixed-wing (and I’m gonna throw an unsubstantiated guess/hope out there that whoever did that actually had formal aerobatic training in a fixed wing before trying that). My comments would be totally different if there was a Red Bull decal on the gyro. As is, it seems like the message is “buy one of these and even you can do this”.

                                Even the “sky surfing” video seems to feed that image. It’s certainly possible but is not a “beginner” technique, IMHO.

                                Again, all of this is from the perspective of being risk averse and understanding the risks involved. Anyone who chooses to be Darwinian with their flying is certainly free to do as they choose - away from innocents on the ground!

                                /Ed

                                Comment

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