A visit to Gyro Technic to explore building a kit...getting hooked.

Loren Jones

Active Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2022
Messages
81
Location
Minnesota
Aircraft
PA-28-180; Shopping for gyroplane.
Total Flight Time
11,000+ (and still counting.)
Leigh has done a stellar job of documenting the genius and craftsmanship of Denis Shoemaker at Gyro Technic, but I just had to see it for myself. I'm fortunate in that I live only an hour away, so today I drove down to meet Denis for the first time and see first hand what all the fuss is about.

Set back in a lovely rural Minnesota setting, his shop looks very professional and is nicely laid out. Everything appears extremely well organized throughout.

Leigh did not exaggerate at all when describing the craftsmanship you see in everything Denis creates. Even the smallest spacer appears to have received the same attention to detail as the most complex sub assembly. He has great displays of some of his major assemblies like the various pre-rotators for different engine models. I'm sure many of you have seen them at aviation events.

Denis gave me a good look at his Razor Blades design and his production process. It's truly amazing. And the end result rivals or exceeds anything I've seen on rotors from some of the big names in the commercial helicopter world. What's even more impressive is the production machinery that he has designed and built himself to produce these amazing creations. They are worthy of an award on their own! Every aspect of them is focused on being able to produce consistently perfect products with repeatability, and then to document that quality for each and every individual blade. Truly amazing.

As Leigh has so well expressed, the gyro end product is a work of art. I even got to see and touch Leigh's baby....Blue. Simply gorgeous. I'm praying Leigh is able to return soon to enjoy this work of art.

IMG_0432.jpeg

Of course I had to check the fit on Denis' VX1:
IMG_0435.jpeg
Fit was perfect even for a chubby old aviator!

So now there are so many decisions to be made: VX1 or VX2? Which engine? Which avionics? When to schedule an assisted build? How to explain this to my wife?

But while working through all those items, I did want to join the builder ranks (trying to keep up with BarryK), so I did bring a kit home with me:
IMG_0437.jpeg

Perhaps a small aptitude test for the final build? I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks, Denis, for your hospitality and patience answering my questions. I'm looking forward to working with you soon.

Loren
 
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Gyro Technic

Manufacturer
Joined
Jan 4, 2018
Messages
64
Location
Kasota, MN
Aircraft
Gyro Technic GTVX1
Loren,
It was a pleasure to meet you, and I thank you for the kind words!

Loren is a great guy, and we had a very pleasurable conversation throughout the tour.
Being he lives so close, I look forward to many more visits and hopefully some building/ flying adventures together someday soon!

Regarding shop tours..... The invite is open to all!
If you are in the southern Minnesota area, please stop by! I'll be happy to have a little chat and show you around.

Thanks again Loren!

Denis
 

Sv.grainne

Super Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2020
Messages
1,341
Location
Kerrville, Texas
Aircraft
Aviomania, G1sB Genesis
I have to agree with Loren. I visited Denis last year when I picked up my Razor Blades. Truely an awesome operation run by a great guy!
 

Resasi

Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
8,618
Location
London/ Kilifi Kenya
Aircraft
Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. GT-VX1&2, Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
Loren, delighted that you have been able to visit Denis, and get to see for yourself the dedication he puts into every facet of the kits he has developed.

As to their flying qualities I have had the good fortune to have been able to sample the flying qualities of seven different types of single seat gyro and the GT-VX1and VX2 have been the most agile and responsive while at the same time exhibiting stability. The Bensen which I had formerly most enjoyed for its agility always left me with the feeling that if I ever tried hands off it wasn't going to go well very quickly.

The seven types of two seaters I have flown I have enjoyed but not as much as single seaters. Definitely more comfortable, and the enclosed ones more suited for cross-country flights, and great for taking along a partner or buddy, but from the time I saw Roy Davis at Bensen Days with his tiny single seat 912 powered rocket, I knew just what I wanted. A small, agile, rugged back country aerial dirt bike, with some range...and that is Blue.
 
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Loren Jones

Active Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2022
Messages
81
Location
Minnesota
Aircraft
PA-28-180; Shopping for gyroplane.
Total Flight Time
11,000+ (and still counting.)
Loren, delighted that you have been able to visit Denis, and get to see for yourself the dedication he puts into every facet of the kits he has developed.

As to their flying qualities I have had the good fortune to have been able to sample the flying qualities of seven different types of single seat gyro and the GT-VX1and VX2 have been the most agile and responsive while at the same time exhibiting stability. The Bensen which I had formerly most enjoyed for its agility always left me with the feeling that if I ever tried hands off it wasn't going to go well very quickly.

The seven types of two seaters I have flown I have enjoyed but not as much as single seaters. Definitely more comfortable, and the enclosed ones more suited for cross-country flights, and great for taking along a partner of buddy, but from the time I saw Roy Davis at Bensen Days with his tiny single seat 912 powered rocket I knew just what I wanted. A small, agile, rugged back country aerial dirt bike, with some range...and that is Blue.

I may be following in your footsteps on a VX2. The 912 engine is attractive to me. I'm looking forward to seeing you guys expand its flight envelope during testing. I've offered to meet Denis and get get some good photos the next time he is able to fly it.
 

Resasi

Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
8,618
Location
London/ Kilifi Kenya
Aircraft
Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. GT-VX1&2, Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
The 912 has the advantage of coming in two flavours, the 80 and the 100HP versions.

I chose the Rotax 4 stroke engine for three reasons. Although the two strokes will be around for a long time, Rotax had announced the fact that it was discontinuing production of these very reliable engines.
The fuel economy on the 4 strokes is better.
More power.

I have never had the privilege of flying any aircraft that has too much power, a few that have a generous sufficiency, and quite a few that could well have done with more. My comfort level was in always in direct proportion, to the power available. Marginal climb on hot days, squeaking over obstacles in the take off path, or lifting off before V1 are all experiences I have had, through being in wrong place at the wrong time. Either in new bush strips in charter in Africa, or in the right hand seat with Incompetent Captains without the option of saying `"Hang on a sec, I'll get out and then you try this."

Forced at gunpoint to take 30 Libyan commandos in an already cargo laden DC3 off from Benina airport at 0600 am June 1973, I and a full Red Indian Captain called Jo Eddy ( a very competent guy) were commandeered by a young Libyan 2nd Lt and his band of merry men to take over the Nelson Bunker Hunt Brothers and BP Concession 64 when Ghadaffi nationalised the oil wells in Libya.

Full fuel and on the right side full of food lashed down, and that side the seats folded up against the wall, the young Libyan Officer airily overrode any suggestion that this be offloaded. "It was now Libyan property!" he declared. When it was pointed out there would not be enough seats or seatbelts along the left side for his men he said that "they were Commandos, didn't need seat belts, and would definitely need their backpacks weapons and boxes of ammunition!"

Jo desperately tried to explain about weight limitations, runway lengths required, load limits, temperatures but all to no avail; all he got was a very hard punch in the stomach with the Officers pistol. He then told me that I would not be required on this flight which unfortunately earned him another gut punch which looked very painful. I not fancying any further encouraging demonstrations led the way went up to the cockpit and began the cockpit checks. When Jo had finally managed to close the door and clamber up to the cockpit with his enthusiastic escorts he asked me if after start I would try to do a rough calculation of Gross weight...and forget about CG. I forget the final weight but do remember that it was way over the 26,000lbs and even exceeded the Emergency War Time Limit of 30,000lbs for the C-47.

As we taxied out, Jo briefed me and said he would be using the full length of the runway, as we turned onto 15R I knew we would have around 11,000', it was early with the sun just rising and the temp was down to a chilly 8C, and was surprised when Jo turned left and began taxiing over a disused paved overrun on runway 15R something new to me. The long grass was growing up through the square paving slabs and we backtracked a good extra couple of 100'. The 2nd Loui who was standing between our seats was muttering as this was obviously not standard procedure but Jo ignored him.

Full power on the brakes, unusual, then on brake release no surge forward, again unusual. Jo strained with the yoke fully forward to try and get the nose up but it took ages as we slowly very slowly gathered speed. The tail eventually did sort of rise, we slowly trundled down the length of the runway. By that time my horrified attention was fixed on the end of the runway approaching. We rolled off the asphalt onto the grass covered overrun on the other end and now towards the perimeter barbed wire fence at the end of the overrun. We must have just lifted off as overrun turned to desert sand. Jo barked "Gear up!!' and I frantically complied.

It must have finally dawned on our supernumerary military Commander what Jo had been trying to explain earlier, because out of the corner of my eye I saw that he had turned rather pale and was desperately trying to squeeze past some of the gawking crowd behind and get away from what was beginning to look like the first row of a rather concerning accident.

I do not know, or care, by how much we cleared the fence, we were airborne...sort of. In ground effect is the official term. Jo made no attempt to bring back power and I certainly hadn't even got to giving him the 'safety speed' call at 90Kts but we were somehow in the air and not in a big ball of aluminium wrapped BBQ ground chuck kebabs, happily sizzling merrily off the end of the runway.

The cowl flaps were set to trail to reduce drag but the engines began over-heating, oil temps rising, then opened which cause us to sag, this fully occupied our combined attention as Jo skimmed the dunes and I played with the cowl flaps for about the next 30 miles until eventually we finally managed to get much above 50'. It was a good couple of hours of low level down to Sarir during which time our gallant Military genius tried to compose himself. One of my more memorable take-offs...but I digress. Power I feel is comfort and the 912 although expensive is a very reliable power plant.

For me more is better.
 
Last edited:

Loren Jones

Active Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2022
Messages
81
Location
Minnesota
Aircraft
PA-28-180; Shopping for gyroplane.
Total Flight Time
11,000+ (and still counting.)
The 912 has the advantage of coming in two flavours, the 80 and the 100HP versions.

I chose the Rotax 4 stroke engine for three reasons. Although the two strokes will be around for a long time, Rotax had announced the fact that it was discontinuing production of these very reliable engines.
The fuel economy on the 4 strokes is better.
More power.

I have never had the privilege of flying any aircraft that has too much power, a few that have a generous sufficiency, and quite a few that could well have done with more. My comfort level was in always in direct proportion, to the power available. Marginal climb on hot days, squeaking over obstacles in the take off path, or lifting off before V1 are all experiences I have had, through being in wrong place at the wrong time. Either in new bush strips in charter in Africa, or in the right hand seat with Incompetent Captains without the option of saying `"Hang on a sec, I'll get out and then you try this."

Forced at gunpoint to take 30 Libyan commandos in an already cargo laden DC3 off from Benina airport at 0600 am June 1973, I and a full Red Indian Captain called Jo Eddy ( a very competent guy) were commandeered by a young Libyan 2nd Lt and his band of merry men to take over the Nelson Bunker Hunt Brothers and BP Concession 64 when Ghadaffi nationalised the oil wells in Libya.

Full fuel and on the right side full of food lashed down, and that side the seats folded up against the wall, the young Libyan Officer airily overrode any suggestion that this be offloaded. "It was now Libyan property!" he declared. When it was pointed out there would not be enough seats or seatbelts along the left side for his men he said that "they were Commandos, didn't need seat belts, and would definitely need their backpacks weapons and boxes of ammunition!"

Jo desperately tried to explain about weight limitations, runway lengths required, load limits, temperatures but all to no avail; all he got was a very hard punch in the stomach with the Officers pistol. He then told me that I would not be required on this flight which unfortunately earned him another gut shot which looked very painful. I not fancying any further encouraging demonstrations led the way went up to the cockpit and began the cockpit checks. When Jo had finally managed to close the door and clamber up to the cockpit with his enthusiastic escorts he asked me if after start I would try to do a rough calculation of Gross weight...and forget about CG. I forget the final weight but do remember that it was way over the 26,000lbs and even exceeded the Emergency War Time Limit of 30,000lbs for the C-47.

As we taxied out, Jo briefed me and said he would be using the full length of the runway, as we turned onto 15R I knew we would have around 11,000', it was early with the sun just rising and the temp was down to a chilly 8C, and was surprised when Jo turned left and began taxiing over a disused paved overrun on runway 15R something new to me. The long grass was growing up through the square paving slabs and we backtracked a good extra couple of 100'. The 2nd Loui who was standing between our seats was muttering as this was obviously not standard procedure but Jo ignored him.

Full power on the brakes, unusual, then on brake release no surge forward, again unusual. Jo strained with the yoke fully forward to try and get the nose up but it took ages as we slowly very slowly gathered speed. The tail eventually did sort of rise, we slowly trundled down the length of the runway. By that time my horrified attention was fixed on the end of the runway approaching. We rolled off the asphalt onto the grass covered overrun on the other end and now towards the perimeter barbed wire fence at the end of the overrun. We must have just lifted off as overrun turned to desert sand. Jo barked "Gear up!!' and I frantically complied.

It must have finally dawned on our supernumerary military Commander what Jo had been trying to explain earlier, because out of the corner of my eye I saw that he had turned rather pale and was desperately trying to squeeze past some of the gawking crowd behind and get away from what was beginning to look like the first row of a rather concerning accident.

I do not know, or care, by how much we cleared the fence, we were airborne...sort of. In ground effect is the official term. Jo made no attempt to bring back power and I certainly hadn't even got to giving him the 'safety speed' call at 90Kts but we were somehow in the air and not in a big ball of aluminium wrapped BBQ ground chuck kebabs, happily sizzling merrily of the end of the runway.

The cowl flaps were set to trail to reduce drag but the engines began over-heating, oil temps rising, then opened which cause us to sag, this fully occupied our combined attention as Jo skimmed the dunes and I played with the cowl flaps for about the next 30 miles until eventually we finally managed to get much above 50'. It was a good couple of hours of low level down to Sarir during which time our gallant Military genius tried to compose himself. One of my more memorable take-offs...but I digress. Power I feel is comfort and the 912 although expensive is a very reliable power plant.

For me more is better.
A great story wonderfully told, Leigh! I'm sure you have many!

I couldn't agree more on your power perspective. Having a little extra just means you can throttle back a bit and just burn a bit less gas. Is the 912 available with fuel injection? I'm just beginning to explore these options.

Loren
 

Resasi

Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
8,618
Location
London/ Kilifi Kenya
Aircraft
Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. GT-VX1&2, Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
Thanks Loren and Vance.



 
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querist

Active Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2022
Messages
289
Location
Longview, Texas, USA
Leigh has done a stellar job of documenting the genius and craftsmanship of Denis Shoemaker at Gyro Technic, but I just had to see it for myself. I'm fortunate in that I live only an hour away, so today I drove down to meet Denis for the first time and see first hand what all the fuss is about.

Set back in a lovely rural Minnesota setting, his shop looks very professional and is nicely laid out. Everything appears extremely well organized throughout.

Leigh did not exaggerate at all when describing the craftsmanship you see in everything Denis creates. Even the smallest spacer appears to have received the same attention to detail as the most complex sub assembly. He has great displays of some of his major assemblies like the various pre-rotators for different engine models. I'm sure many of you have seen them at aviation events.

Denis gave me a good look at his Razor Blades design and his production process. It's truly amazing. And the end result rivals or exceeds anything I've seen on rotors from some of the big names in the commercial helicopter world. What's even more impressive is the production machinery that he has designed and built himself to produce these amazing creations. They are worthy of an award on their own! Every aspect of them is focused on being able to produce consistently perfect products with repeatability, and then to document that quality for each and every individual blade. Truly amazing.

As Leigh has so well expressed, the gyro end product is a work of art. I even got to see and touch Leigh's baby....Blue. Simply gorgeous. I'm praying Leigh is able to return soon to enjoy this work of art.

View attachment 1155851

Of course I had to check the fit on Denis' VX1:
View attachment 1155852
Fit was perfect even for a chubby old aviator!

So now there are so many decisions to be made: VX1 or VX2? Which engine? Which avionics? When to schedule an assisted build? How to explain this to my wife?

But while working through all those items, I did want to join the builder ranks (trying to keep up with BarryK), so I did bring a kit home with me:
View attachment 1155853

Perhaps a small aptitude test for the final build? I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks, Denis, for your hospitality and patience answering my questions. I'm looking forward to working with you soon.

Loren
OK - that's adorable... and how much? I could put an FrSky receiver, a few servos, a brushless motor and an ESC on it and fly it via RC...

OK - I see on the website that it's not designed to fly.. it's still cute, though.
 

Loren Jones

Active Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2022
Messages
81
Location
Minnesota
Aircraft
PA-28-180; Shopping for gyroplane.
Total Flight Time
11,000+ (and still counting.)
OK - that's adorable... and how much? I could put an FrSky receiver, a few servos, a brushless motor and an ESC on it and fly it via RC...

OK - I see on the website that it's not designed to fly.. it's still cute, though.

It's quite a clever design. But it's VERY heavy, so it would take a substantial motor to power it. But I think it'll be a great teaching tool.
 

rcflier

Junior Member
Joined
May 24, 2007
Messages
536
Location
Nexø (Denmark)
Aircraft
Auto-Gyro MTO Sport 914 (upgraded MT-03)
Total Flight Time
65 as student - 2 as PIC
OK - that's adorable... and how much? I could put an FrSky receiver, a few servos, a brushless motor and an ESC on it and fly it via RC...

OK - I see on the website that it's not designed to fly.. it's still cute, though.
There is an R/C gyro named LA500, which looks okay.
It has a brushless motor for prerotation. The tail looks like a Sport Copter.


I was tempted to get one, but ended up buying a 914 MTO Sport instead. :ROFLMAO:

Best of luck to you with your medical.

Cheers
Erik
 

Loren Jones

Active Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2022
Messages
81
Location
Minnesota
Aircraft
PA-28-180; Shopping for gyroplane.
Total Flight Time
11,000+ (and still counting.)
Yep, but also at $400 it's a bit steep. It's still really cute, though.
I thought the same initially, but then we I actually got into it and saw the level of detail and craftsmanship I quickly decided that if I had the ability to make a kit like this I'd charge twice that amount! It's really very impressive and, in my opinion, worth every penny I paid.
 

ultracruiser41

Gold Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2003
Messages
3,028
Location
NC
Aircraft
Cavalon, OutBack Tango, Ryan PT 22, JetGyro, Jet Provost, Champ, Radial Rocket Gyro, HummelBird
Total Flight Time
Too many to count
All of Denis’ stuff is TOP NOTCH!!!

HE IS THE REAL DEAL!!!!

👍🏻😁😎
 
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