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FAA Rotorcraft Gyroplane vs Helicopter Regulations

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  • #16
    Anytime an aircraft lands into the wind if possible it is in my opinion safer for the pilot, passengers and craft, Just asking, how or why would any airport manager disagree with a pilot trying to be safer. In my life and flying career many airport managers have no flying experience, at all and they learn airport management on the job. The city needs help and they hire someone. Some managers are pilots with experience.

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    • #17
      No argument there! Many managers are stuck in an airplane mindset, and need a bit of gentle education to tell them about what is and isn't safe in a rotorcraft, to broaden their knowledge base.

      I had a county manager once who couldn't understand my request to take off and land my helicopter from the ramp space in front of my hangar (the tower didn't mind but he did). He kept saying that a long taxi in front of parked airplanes from there to get to the runway would kick up debris and cause damage. I never got him to understand that I wasn't going to taxi at all, wouldn't go near the runway, but take-off directly from that spot. He just couldn't picture it. I moved my base to a different airport.

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      • #18
        I have lived next to my Airport for 33 years and during that time we have had many managers and at times no managers, most managers in the past were mechanics, as they leased our one maintenance hangar, paid the city insurance and utilities but paid no monthly rent, and that made them manager. They did nothing for the airport except trying to make a living for themselves and all have failed even though they paid no monthly rent. Today we have a manager paid by the city with many improvements to our nice little facility. We have no problems at this time with our facility as the managers is a pilot and owns a 172.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by WaspAir View Post
          Here's the pertinent text:

          9. OTHER TRAFFIC PATTERNS.
          Airport operators routinely establish local procedures for the operation of gliders, parachutists, lighter than air aircraft, helicopters, and ultralight vehicles. Appendices 2 and 3 illustrate these operations as they relate to recommended standard traffic patterns.
          a. Rotorcraft.
          (1) In the case of a helicopter approaching to land, the pilot must avoid the flow of fixed-wing aircraft and land on a marked helipad or suitable clear area. Pilots should be aware that at some airports, the only suitable landing area is the runway.
          (2). All pilots should be aware that rotorcraft may fly slower and approach at steeper angles than airplanes. Air taxi is the preferred method for helicopter ground movements which enables the pilot to proceed at an optimum airspeed, minimize downwash effect, and conserve fuel. However, flight over aircraft, vehicles, and personnel should be avoided.
          (3) In the case of a gyrocopter approaching to land, the pilot should avoid the flow of fixed-wing aircraft until turning final for the active runway.
          (4) A helicopter operating in the traffic pattern may fly a pattern similar to the airplane pattern at a lower altitude (500 AGL) and closer to the airport. This pattern may be on the opposite side of the runway with turns in the opposite direction if local policy permits.
          (5) Both classes of rotorcraft can be expected to practice. power-off landing (autorotation) which will involve -a very steep angle of approach and high rate of descent (1,500-2,000 feet/minute).
          JR I've always found this more confusing than helpful for gyros- we "should avoid the flow of FW aircraft until turning final" - does this mean we can or should do what it advises specifically helis to do in 9.a.4 ie closer in and same or opposite direction traffic? lower AGL left traffic? is it specific approval to fly opposite direction traffic?
          Other than airports that have comments in the AF/D to specifically avoid certain direction traffic for noise avoidance or to avoid flying over housing how would you know what "local policy" is?
          Rob Dubin

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          • #20
            I find it confusing too Rob.

            Originally posted by ventana7 View Post
            JR I've always found this more confusing than helpful for gyros- we "should avoid the flow of FW aircraft until turning final" - does this mean we can or should do what it advises specifically helis to do in 9.a.4 ie closer in and same or opposite direction traffic? lower AGL left traffic? is it specific approval to fly opposite direction traffic?
            Other than airports that have comments in the AF/D to specifically avoid certain direction traffic for noise avoidance or to avoid flying over housing how would you know what "local policy" is?
            Notes from the Chart Supplement (used to be call airport facilities directory) for Spanish Fork, Utah (U77).
            A30A-30 ROTARY WING ACFT ARRIVING RWY 30 MUST CTC ARPT PIOR TO ARRIVAL FOR TFC PATTERN INFORMATION.

            The information would be; Rotary Wing Aircraft should stay on the east side of the runway, right traffic for runway 30 and left traffic for runway 12.

            In my experience this does not work well for runway 12 because the fixed wing pilots often fly left traffic for runway 12.

            Santa Maria (SMX) has a rotorcraft pattern altitude but it is not published anywhere (800 feet msl). I fly a close short pattern and when we hired a new controller at SMX he told my client to fly a more standard pattern for noise abatement (no turns below 800 feet) Since no part of my pattern is over any part of the city or buildings this did not seem reasonable to me. I have not yet addressed this. I suspect a call to the tower manager will get things straightened out. I have tried to meet with the specific controller but my timing has been off.

            As part of my flight planning I contact the manager for each of the airports along my route to see if there are special procedures for rotorcraft.
            Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

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            • #21
              Originally posted by ventana7 View Post
              JR I've always found this more confusing than helpful for gyros- we "should avoid the flow of FW aircraft until turning final" - does this mean we can or should do what it advises specifically helis to do in 9.a.4 ie closer in and same or opposite direction traffic? lower AGL left traffic? is it specific approval to fly opposite direction traffic?
              Other than airports that have comments in the AF/D to specifically avoid certain direction traffic for noise avoidance or to avoid flying over housing how would you know what "local policy" is?
              Reading between the lines, I have always interpreted this as reflecting a recognition that while helicopters don't typically need a runway, gyroplanes might need the very same strip of pavement (albeit less of it) that the airplanes are headed for, and that gyro speeds are unlikely to fit in well with the airplanes. Hence, avoid the typical pattern until you MUST join it on final to minimize conflicts and spacing problems. In practice, I fly lower and closer, inside the airplane pattern so that my time on each leg is comparable to the time spent higher, farther, and faster by airplanes, and sequencing is easier. Airplane pilots looking down toward the runway also have a better chance of spotting me that way than if I do some other avoidance method. I use an opposite side pattern only in my helicopter, not in my gyros.

              Local policy is typically noise sensitivity driven, and if you don't find it in the chart supplement publication (formerly A/FD) you'll only learn it with a visit or a call in advance, or a complaint after you land.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by PW_Plack View Post
                Helicopters get a pass because many of their missions, in fact, their whole reason for existence, is takeoff and landing in confined areas.
                No such need for gyroplane operations in close proximity to people on the ground.
                Powered Parachutes and Weight-Shift-Control Aircraft do not have any more need to be in close proximity to people on the ground than a Gyroplane does.
                Yet, they also get the pass!

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                • #23
                  There is a reason why the FAA call Gyros gyroplanes. It has plane in the wording. Just let that soak in and all starts to make sense.
                  http://gyroplanetraining.com/

                  Helping Plan a grand 2017 PRA convention


                  PRA BOD # 38604

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                  • #24
                    waspair I concur wholeheartedly with your explanation of rotorcraft gyroplane operations and were worded much more eloquently than I ever could ,
                    I have to explain this to my students on a regular basis and have also found that when entering in controlled airspace I'll be at sometimes with a little explanation after a certain approach and request to a landing I hear the music to my ears which is proceed as requested from the tower
                    Regards
                    Greg
                    Greg Spicola
                    Com Helicopter/ Gyroplane CFI
                    Brooksville FL

                    gyro.greg@yahoo.com

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                    • #25
                      “’There is a reason why the FAA call Gyros gyroplanes. It has plane in the wording. Just let that soak in and all starts to make sense.”’

                      Very true. As a relatively new gyro pilot who loves the flight characteristics of these flying machines, I personally find it easy to think they’re “90% helicopters” - but they’re not. Truth is, they’re closer in most phases of flight to a Cub or other low/slow STOL fixed-wing, IMHO. And the Bensen types are pretty close in performance to “other” “ultralights”, like a Kolb Mark III or something, again IMHO.

                      With that frame of reference I personally find it easier to understand the “confusion”/silence in the regs, how I should behave in the pattern, etc. so as to fit in with the rest of the flyers - and at least not worsen the image of gyros among our flying peers. As a fixed-wing pilot for the past 30 years, that’s probably an easier perspective for me to adopt.

                      Just me...

                      /Ed
                      Last edited by EdL; 03-03-2018, 11:33 AM.

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