Accident Kingsland Texas - Sport Copter Vortex - N924WG - 9-9-21

Vance

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John's words, not mine.
"It saddens me that I will not be able to share the next 100 hours or so of my rotor adventures, the Argon 915, the Tribull, or my Genesis build and test flying them all in the forum I love!"
I stand corrected Ben, Thank you.
 

BEN S

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perhaps in word, not in deed.
The point of these accident posts is to serve as a warning to others to heed the mistakes of those who have gone before us. Here we have a situation where a budding gyro pilot with TONS of fixed wing time is writing about things that many of us know to be mistakes and whether or not he decides to play in the sand box or take his ball and go home, we are trying to educate him so he won't make those same mistakes.
In the world I live and work in it is common to drive home that our safety rules are written in blood.
I would hate to see a brand new gyro pilot that I have known for years burn in because of misinformation or an attitude.
 

Resasi

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Ben wise words indeed.

As a hight time fixed wing, very low time gyro pilot, one of the very early lessons learned from this forum that I was so fortunate to come on when starting, was just how unsuitable a student I would be.

High time fixed wing, instructor, airlines, probable God complex.

It allowed me to recalibrate, understand I know nothing about gyros, rotor aerodynamics, or even the basics of this new type of flying. I did have a few advantages and quite a bit that could be dangerous...and I took note.

I have unfortunately lost more people I have known to accidents, in the very brief time I have been in gyro flying, around ten years, than all my time in fixed wing which is around forty, which is in itself a warning sign.

I have found it the most exhilarating, stimulating, and exciting flying, while hopefully appreciating its darker side.

Have fun, enjoy, but treat with great respect and tread carefully.
 

chrisk

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Modern gyroplanes are NOT safer than modern light sport fixed wings.

Compare a magni or autogyro or american ranger to a Flight design CT, and the only thing a gyro has about it that makes it " safer " is it can't stall or spin, and it can be landed safely in a much smaller area.

I don't know. There is substantial variance in accident rate among fixed wing LSA. Some gyros might be safer than a skycatcher or Flight Design CT?

1632794696093.png
 

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GyroRon

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I don't know. There is substantial variance in accident rate among fixed wing LSA. Some gyros might be safer than a skycatcher or Flight Design CT?

View attachment 1153389

I am speaking from the perspective of the safety of the aircraft itself...

Who is flying the aircraft can make a big difference in accident statistics. A dork of a pilot in a flight design is probably far more likely to have an accident or a fatal accident than a high-caliber pilot in a well-designed and built gyroplane.

But there is no getting around that on all gyroplanes, there is a slew of potential single points of failure that could lead to a crash and most like a fatal crash.... Rotorhead alone there is 4 individual bolts that if any single one of them fails, your dead. Almost all gyros, the control system.... If any single piece of the controls fail, you will have a total loss of control... And I have yet to fly a gyro that would be landable with a loss of controls. Gyros also have truly unknown lifespans for the airframe, the rotor, the rotor bearing, etc... Most people never fly them enough to wear any of these parts out, but do we really know how many hours the mast can last, especially on the euro style gyros where everything is harder and more brittle ( the metal used for construction ) and then all the parts are welded verses bolted together.

Compare that to the flight design, where the entire plane is really just 4 pieces.... with minimal points of failure. And most airplanes can be safely flown with just trim....

And you have the parachute when all else fails.


Enginewise, I would say anything powered with a Rotax four stroke is going to be equally reliable, no matter if it is a plane or gyro. But compare a gyro with a one of a kind converted car engine, to any other aircraft with a rotax 912.... You would be silly to think the car engine is going to be more reliable.

Does any of this mean gyros are deathtraps and you would be a fool to mess with one, NO. But to think that they are the safest aircraft in the sky, I don't think so. I think under some conditions the gyro is safer, ( like on a very gusty windy day ) And in the event of an engine failure, the gyro will be safely landable in a far tighter spot than most any other plane. Obviously a gyro can't stall or spin, so that is a positive thing... But you can find yourself behind the power curve which can lead to a accident if too low... And let's not overlook the fact that gyros do not tolerate Sustained zero G, and for sure any negative G... In alot of designs, Negative G will result in a PPO, but in ALL gyros, zero to negative G for just the shortest amount of time can result in the rotor slowing down to a point where they will not be able to sustain flight. In a plane you have to be aware to not stall, not spin..... In a gyro you have to be aware to not allow to be behind the powercurve too low and to stay positive G... Both aircraft have limitations
 

Brian Jackson

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I am speaking from the perspective of the safety of the aircraft itself...

Who is flying the aircraft can make a big difference in accident statistics. A dork of a pilot in a flight design is probably far more likely to have an accident or a fatal accident than a high-caliber pilot in a well-designed and built gyroplane.

But there is no getting around that on all gyroplanes, there is a slew of potential single points of failure that could lead to a crash and most like a fatal crash.... Rotorhead alone there is 4 individual bolts that if any single one of them fails, your dead. Almost all gyros, the control system.... If any single piece of the controls fail, you will have a total loss of control... And I have yet to fly a gyro that would be landable with a loss of controls. Gyros also have truly unknown lifespans for the airframe, the rotor, the rotor bearing, etc... Most people never fly them enough to wear any of these parts out, but do we really know how many hours the mast can last, especially on the euro style gyros where everything is harder and more brittle ( the metal used for construction ) and then all the parts are welded verses bolted together.

Compare that to the flight design, where the entire plane is really just 4 pieces.... with minimal points of failure. And most airplanes can be safely flown with just trim....

And you have the parachute when all else fails.


Enginewise, I would say anything powered with a Rotax four stroke is going to be equally reliable, no matter if it is a plane or gyro. But compare a gyro with a one of a kind converted car engine, to any other aircraft with a rotax 912.... You would be silly to think the car engine is going to be more reliable.

Does any of this mean gyros are deathtraps and you would be a fool to mess with one, NO. But to think that they are the safest aircraft in the sky, I don't think so. I think under some conditions the gyro is safer, ( like on a very gusty windy day ) And in the event of an engine failure, the gyro will be safely landable in a far tighter spot than most any other plane. Obviously a gyro can't stall or spin, so that is a positive thing... But you can find yourself behind the power curve which can lead to a accident if too low... And let's not overlook the fact that gyros do not tolerate Sustained zero G, and for sure any negative G... In alot of designs, Negative G will result in a PPO, but in ALL gyros, zero to negative G for just the shortest amount of time can result in the rotor slowing down to a point where they will not be able to sustain flight. In a plane you have to be aware to not stall, not spin..... In a gyro you have to be aware to not allow to be behind the powercurve too low and to stay positive G... Both aircraft have limitations
Great post, Ron.
 

Doug Riley

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I second Brian's comment. Good words, Ron.

I'd add that we MAY be running Rotax 900's, and certified Lyc's/Cont's as well, in a different duty cycle than they were designed for. I don't know this for a fact, but it's another of those "known unknowns" that make this activity a bit more puckery than flying a certified aircraft.

Engines are designed run X% of the time at, say, 50% power, at Y% at some higher output, and often not much time at all at WOT. A gyro is a drag-meister. To the extent that we run our Rotax at, say 85% continuous output in cruise, we MAY be running it harder than it was designed to tolerate. The 912S that I bought for my Dom, for example, came with a strict written prohibition against use in ANY rotorcraft, period.

Running a short prop on a Cont 65 to wind it up and extract more horsepower is another example of violating the designed duty cycle.

I learned this the hard way with VW's. Car engines are designed to run continuously at quite low power output. Run one continuously at WOT on climbout and it's apt to fry or disintegrate... at least my 1835 did... over and over. Although a Soob is beefier than a VW, I imagine that some similar issue arises with them.

Back to certified engines in rotorcraft: note that Robinson de-rated the R22 engine, most likely for these reasons.
 

Brent Smith

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I'm still interested in whether there are/have been float systems for gyros. Since the original question in this thread was about a potential water landing enroute to Catalina, I thought a question about floats was reasonable when I posted it a couple of pages back. Alas, there has been no acknowledgement of that. Should I have started a new thread? Of course, if the question is ignorant or otherwise inappropriate, please ignore it....again. Thanks.
 

Vance

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I'm still interested in whether there are/have been float systems for gyros. Since the original question in this thread was about a potential water landing enroute to Catalina, I thought a question about floats was reasonable when I posted it a couple of pages back. Alas, there has been no acknowledgement of that. Should I have started a new thread? Of course, if the question is ignorant or otherwise inappropriate, please ignore it....again. Thanks.
Some gyroplanes have been successfully operated on floats Brent.

I have not personally flown any of them.

Floats add weight and lower the center of gravity in relation to the thrust line.

Floats add drag and lower the center of pressure.

Adding floats is not a small undertaking.

If you want to take off and land on water in a gyroplane adding floats is the way to go.
 

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loftus

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I'm still interested in whether there are/have been float systems for gyros. Since the original question in this thread was about a potential water landing enroute to Catalina, I thought a question about floats was reasonable when I posted it a couple of pages back. Alas, there has been no acknowledgement of that. Should I have started a new thread? Of course, if the question is ignorant or otherwise inappropriate, please ignore it....again. Thanks.
Victor Agadzi in Pensacola Florida probably has the most experience with an Autogyro MTO on floats in the US.
He has made a number of mods to make it a very nice machine, the most important thing being modifying his Rotax 914 to produce 165HP. Lots of videos on his Facebook.
 
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WaspAir

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What I would prefer would be the gyro equivalent of helicopter pop-out floats. They do essentially nothing to flight characteristics and may never get deployed, but are very nice to have when things go wrong. They don't need to be very rugged, heavy, or robust if they are intended for at most a possible single use for a short period pending rescue/recovery.
 

Tyger

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Those pop-out floats are usually attached to long skids on helicopters, though, no? Where would you attach them on a gyro?
I have yet to see a gyro with skids...
 

BEN S

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I have been toying with the idea of a life raft mounted to the mast, you go in, get out, the bird sinks and life raft is big enough to float the rig as well as give you a place to sit and await rescue.
 

StanFoster

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I have been toying with the idea of a life raft mounted to the mast, you go in, get out, the bird sinks and life raft is big enough to float the rig as well as give you a place to sit and await rescue.
I never will forget doing my flight review with Terry Eiland at Bensen Days. We flew to Lake Okeechobee and had a couple of other gyros flying along. My path was going to take me right across a lake that was about a couple of miles across. I took my life raft with me and flew around the lake....and so did one of the other gyros. But the other gyro flew right across the lake .

My life raft requires no maintenance, takes no weight, and guaranteed to keep you dry!
 

Tyger

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There are some good inflatable life vests available that you'd hardly notice wearing. Seems a little more practical than a raft for flying over small lakes and such.
 
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Resasi

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I'm still interested in whether there are/have been float systems for gyros. Since the original question in this thread was about a potential water landing enroute to Catalina, I thought a question about floats was reasonable
Hi Brent, yes there have been a number of gyros on floats, certainly three that I have seen. One was a gentleman who was developing and selling them, sadly he was killed when his rotor came off. Another was a wealthy Arabian but not certain which country, possibly Abu Dhabi and a was a modern factory built open tandem, probably the one that Vance posted a picture of. The last was an old Bensen type with what looked like a boat under the rotor.

There have certainly been others however the gyro is a draggy method of flight and creating further drag with floats results in marginal performance hence the comparative lack of interest.
 

Brian Jackson

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I remember a promo flyer from Vancraft ages ago that had a photo of an old Rotor Lightning IIRC with floats. I don't recall if it was produced as an accessory or just to show versatility. Been a long time and memory is malleable.
 

Tyger

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This is sort of like talking about seaplanes when I thought the original question was about how to keep your aircraft afloat if you have to ditch...
 

loftus

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Those pop-out floats are usually attached to long skids on helicopters, though, no? Where would you attach them on a gyro?
I have yet to see a gyro with skids...
Could be an interesting project for someone who needed this type of utility. There are gyros built with skis, either completely replacing the wheels or with retractable skis that fold forward and down under the wheels. Some type of variant with an inflatable component could possibly work. I am thinking a skid setup with retractable wheels like an amphib, but with an added inflatable component that does not create the usual drag that standard floats do. Sounds like a project for Jungleman in New Zealand.
 
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