Aerobatics in a gyro

Hoss-Fly

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I heard that a fellow did a loop in a Vortex Lightning?  Is this something that any gyro can do or just particular to the lightning and/or pilot?  Just think of the publicity of that at an airshow, everyone would want a gyro!  Ok, just kidding, but seriously, just wondering about the possibility of aerobatic in a gyro....design and flying considerations.  Have a great day.<br><br>Fly Army,<br><br>Vince Rodgers
 

Udi

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

Vince,<br><br>The problem with doing a loop with a gyro is not technical.  Many gyros are capable of doing a loop.  The problem is that any error or malfunction during the maneuver are not recoverable.  As soon as the blades are unloaded, for whatever reason, you lose control of the rotors.  If they are unloaded for enough time, they slow down and start flapping when the load is on again.  This is a non-recoverable situation.  You unload the rotor - you're dead.  It's that simple.  The same is the problem with any aerobatic maneuver that can result in unloading of the blades.<br><br>This is Jim Vanek with his Sport Copter Vortex.  He has permission from the FAA to perform aerobatics in air shows.<br><br>
<br><br>Udi<br>
 

Hoss-Fly

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

WOW, that's an impressive picture....What all maneuvers are possible.  From what I know of flying helicopters, I figure RTT's, wing-overs, loops, barrel rolls, could be done with a teetering, rigid rotor?  Sorry for all the annoying questions guys, have a great day.<br><br>Fly Army,<br><br>Vince Rodgers<br>
 

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

From my experiance in modeling gyros and aerobatics.  The question isn't, "Can it do it?"  The question is, "At what point of the maneuver can/will the rotors unload?"  Then the question becomes, "What can I do about it?"<br><br>In a model, you can build another one and given enough altitude, it was fun to unload the rotors and fall until they built up speed.  Of course it took a few trys to make the model in such a way that the rotors didn't beat the fuselage.  Also, in a model, I guess you could consider the rotors as rigid.  In an unloaded situation even with rigid, or semi rigid rotors, flapping can occur a beat your fuselage.  It was fun rolling inverted and watching the blades unload and start turning the other way, but you lost alot of altitude in the process.  As I said, you can play and always build another one.<br><br>In a real gyro, There is nothing you can do once the rotors are unloaded, other than pray.<br><br>My 2 cents I borrowed from GyroRon.
 

GyroRon

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

Hoss gyros are very fun to fly and can do some radical moves safely. Aerobatics such as loops and rolls are just too risky to try. The few that have or still do these moves are on borrowed time IMHO. It doesn't take much skill, just big balls and no fear of death.
 

PW_Plack

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

Vince,<br><br>Jim Vanek's loop is performed in the Sport Copter Vortex, a 350-pound, partially-enclosed single-place machine powered by a Rotax 582. The Lightning is the ultralight version of the same airframe, but without the cab, prerotator, electrical system and folding mast, and uses a Rotax 503. It is a more traditional open-frame, and weighs 252 if built to plans.<br><br>The above comments are generally correct. When Jim first devised his procedure for the loop, he practiced in a designated aerobatic box, starting with several thousand feet altitude. On some early attempts, Jim says he lost over 1000 feet during recovery. His FAA waiver for airshows allows the maneuver provided he practices it in a designated aerobatic box at least three times in the 30 days before an airshow, and performs it with an 800-foot AGL "hard floor." Normally, he starts at 1100-1200 feet AGL. <br><br>The loop is very clean, very tight in radius, and VERY fast. If you could see a close-up of the machine in the photo above, you'd notice the oil is still at the bottom of the auto-injection reservoir on the mast, never negative-G. The maneuver is completed within +/- 100 feet altitude.<br><br>The roll, on the other hand, looks ugly to fixed-wingers. Because the source of lift is concentrated along the rotor mast, and due to the need to stay in positive Gs, the centrifugal force of the swinging fuselage produces a corkscrew-shaped path through the air, not a straight line as in a fixed-wing. Still pretty interesting to watch, though. Jim says his first loop happened by accident while testing the limits of really aggresive banked turns. (Again, at thousands of feet AGL.) <br><br>As for the effect on airshow crowds, you'd be surprised. I've seen Jim's act twice from the ground, twice from the air, (while doing traffic reports for motorists coming to the show,) and this year I did the PA announcements for Jim's routine twice. Believe it or not, after watching aerobatic airplanes for a couple of hours, most of the crowd has no clue how difficult or potentially dangerous the maneuvers are. The place gets VERY quiet, however, when Jim kills the engine and dead-sticks in to a spot landing from 1200 feet...which we know is the relatively easy part!<br><br>Jim has a video available which shows several loops, including a helmet-cam perspective, and other extremely aggressive flying. It's a few years old and could use updating, and I've told Jim he should put digital video on his website. I think the main reason it's available only in VHS is to provide the opportunity for anyone ordering it to hear the "don't try this at home" speech when they order.
 

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

Medic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

mceagle

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

"The few that have or still do these moves are on borrowed time"<br><br><br>We must not forget those who could not borrow enough time, attempting such manouveres.<br><br> Do you add them to the "few d**n  fine pilots that push the envelope". <br><br><br><br><br>
 

Chuck_Ellsworth

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

I would like to make some statements regarding any flying outside of the normal flight envelope.<br><br>First:<br><br> You must have an aircraft that has a proven record for any abnormal manouver that you attempt.<br><br>Second : <br><br>You " MUST " have taken proper training from a pilot  qualified to to teach the manouvers that you are learning.<br><br>Third :<br><br>When performing such manouvers there must be justification for the performance....showboating for ego just does not make the grade as a reason.<br><br>As most of you already know my business is teaching advanced flying, I do not give aerobatic instruction to any individual who I think has the wrong attitude, that way I hope I never have to read about one of my students killing themselves being stupid.<br><br>With regard to Jim Vanek, I have known Jim for many years and he has always demonstrated a very keen desire to be professional and he is a bearcat on safety in his workmanship......<br><br>There is a B I G difference in someone performing aerobatics under the supervision and approval of the FAA and some idiot out showboating for ego.<br><br>Chuck E.
 

Chuck_Ellsworth

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

John :<br><br>Let me explain a little more clearly.<br><br>I am in a rather unusual field of flight training, my business depends on maintaining a professional reputation and turning out a pilot with a high level of flying skills.<br><br>Also at this point in time I am not involved in gyro training due to not having had the time to properly set up the training program and my gyro an early model RAF is far from being converted into a safe flying machine.<br><br>My policy of not training pilots with a poor attitude towards the art of flying is insurance that I will not have complaints from their future employers due to my failure to recognize a poor attitude toward flying before attempting to instill good airmanship in them, as well as good hands and feet in their flying skills.<br><br>In ther words I provide first class flying training and decision making in my students who by the way are mostly Commercial or Airline Transport licensed pilots long before they take my training courses.<br><br>You may scoff at those standards, however my clientel seem to be satisfied as they pay the rates that I charge and all my business is through referral.<br><br>I hope that helps you understand my position regarding flight training.<br><br>Any comments or suggestions I make in this forum are only because I like gyroplanes and wish to give my thoughts on the subject......at no charge.<br><br>Chuck E.<br><br><br>
 

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

Steven, Don't get me wrong. Jim V is a great guy and I am sure can pull off loop after loop no sweat.<br><br>Ask him though, what happens if the engine quits, or some other item malfunctions while in the loop....???<br><br>I believe that those kind of aerobatics where a easy screw up will result in deadly Negative G's is just too risky. There is no good reason to do them, it is a influence on newbies - Yes look at the start of this thread for proof, and tell me this guy wouldn't MAYBE go out and try a loop had he not heard from some of us -<br><br>I guess it was harsh of me to say " on borrowed time " <br><br>I do however say it doesn't take much skill and stick to it. And not to sound like a ass but unless you have already flown and put some hours on the hobbs.. Then you can't really say I am wrong. Flying a gyro is a piece of cake and to build up some speed and yank the stick back and slightly to one side or the other - yes Jim's loops are not straight loops they are half loop half roll - And then hang on until your over the top.... Well tell me what is so special about that?<br><br>Look I have no problem with it, I am not a gyro angel myself. I like to yank and bank while flying. I do however feel that to do these type of aerobatics is pointless and unimpressive and could be very harmful.<br><br>And yes Steve I am a bushwacker.  I am either wackin my customers bushes... and shrubs.... and trees.... - yes I am in the lawncare industry ,   OR I am at home with my Wife wackin her bush ;D :eek: 8)<br><br>
 

Aussie_Paul

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

I am a little concerned with the loop de loop video. That  image of Jim flying along with his legs hanging out is possibly the reason that last year or the year before that there was an accident where a guy lost his life due to flying along with his feet outside of the sports copter.<br><br>He, foolishly, instigated a turn and the adverse yaw of that cabin and marginal tail caught him out and he died.<br><br>I realise that it was pilot error, BUT I have a real problem with people pushing the envelope for marketing purposes on tape or electronic media.<br><br>In My Honest Opinion that is irresponsible, but that is just that, My Honest Opinion.<br><br>I still love that tape though, and I recognize Jim’s skill, BUT I don't agree that the tape is floating around the countryside!!!!<br><br>Aussie Paul.<br><br>
 

Screw

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

Chuck,<br><br>I thought you were highly against RAF gyros.  As I understand from your last post, you have one?  <br><br>If so, are you going to have it converted to a SparrowHawk or similar? Will you also be conductiong training (Not aerobatics but basic flight instruction) with this machine?<br><br>Big safety comment made me think of another question.  Other than publicity, ego, crowd, and cameras, why would anyone risk their life doing aerobatics in a gyro.  Makes me wonder about the priority of safety in an aerobatic gyro pilots mind.  I mean, safety can't come first if they roll the dice like that right?<br><br>I believe the same question is not fair to ask of people doing aerobatics in airplanes because in an airplane, when you leave controled flight (which is neccessary in some maneuvers), the wings do not detach and beat the plane to death all the way down.  I think the margine of safety is alot different between plane and gyro in terms of aerobatics. ;D
 

Chuck_Ellsworth

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

To answer your questions John :<br><br>I bought an RAF for my flight school in 1991, I owned a fixed wing and helicopter flight school and thought gyros would be a good add on.<br><br>I knew nothing about gyro aerodynamics when I first decided to get into them.<br><br>RAF was and is a completely dishonest crooked operation with no background of designing or training in aircraft. When I first became involved with RAF the deal was my company would provide Government approved flight training. It was impossible to reason with them so I very quickly severed relations with RAF.<br><br>I finished my gyro and had it inspected by Transport Canada, however it never flew because I kept finding problems with it.<br><br>I started to convert it many years ago and never finished it due to the fact that my business is now based in London England....however I will eventually finish it.<br><br>If,  and that is if,  I do start a gyro training school I have decided to use a Little Wing for training.<br><br>As to aerobatics in gyros I can not comment on that except to say I have no background in that field.<br><br>Fixed wing aeroplanes will kill you real fast if you do not understand what you are doing....especially if you attempt to aerobat non aerobatic certified aeroplanes.<br><br>Safety is a matter of state of mind.<br><br>When amateurs attempt to push the envelope by experimenting with going outside the normal flight envelope the safety factor goes down hill real fast.<br><br>By the way any manouver requiring a bank angle in excess of 60 degrees is considered an aerobatic manouver.
 

Udi

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

Why is this pissing contest when everyone's correct to the most part?<br><br>Ron said that "in his humble opinion" (IMHO), people who are performing loops and rolls in gyros are on borrowed time.  Ron made sure to mention this was his opinion, thus I don’t see it as being arrogant at all.  The purpose of this forum is for all of us to express out opinions in a respectful manner.<br><br>Statistically, Ron is right.  I am sure that even Jim V. would agree.  The risks of a mechanical problem happening in the middle of a maneuver are calculable.  The gyro has many moving parts, many of them with no redundancy, and there is a given probability that something will go wrong.  This means that, as long as Jim is continuing performing loops and rolls, and given enough time, there is a given probability that something eventually will go wrong (the Murphy law).  <br><br>The risk of engine out with a 2 stroke Rotax might be one in 10,000.  I don't know the real numbers; I'm just giving it as an example.  This means that "statistically", one time out of every 10,000 maneuvers the engine will go out in the middle of the maneuver.  This does not mean that he can do 9,999 maneuvers and then stop; it means that there is a very small given probability, in every maneuver, that something will go wrong.  Will Jim crash if the engine stopped at a critical moment?  Probably yes.<br><br>This isn't that different from many other risky low-altitude maneuvers performed by fixed wing pilots.  They also have a given probability that something will go wrong, and sometimes it does.  The maneuvers that Ivan is performing in his video also have a calculable risks attached to them.  The fact that Ivan doesn’t have an FAA exemption does not make him wrong.  I am sure that like Jim, Ivan is well aware of the risks involved in his flying.  The Ivan tape, like the Vanek tape, is a commercial tape made for the purpose of selling gyroplanes.<br><br>People who are pushing the envelope must be aware of the risks that they are taking, and I am sure that Jim is.<br><br>Having said that, I think that Jim is really lucky to be alive today.  Although today Jim has the skills and knowledge required for performing loops and rolls, he didn't have these skills when he was learning them.  Jim did not have anyone to learn from, and he didn't even know if what he wanted to do was possible.  Jim literally pushed the envelope of gyroplane aerobatics, having only faith as guide.  He believed he could handle whatever happens, and he made a few mistakes along the way.  Luckily, he lived to tell about it.  Was he crazy?  Duh…. Yes.  Most of us wouldn’t consider doing that.  But so are many of the pioneers in so many fields (I mean crazy).  Are astronauts crazy?  Sure.  Were the first pilots who attempted to break the speed of sound crazy?  Sure they were.  Do you want to take this kind of risk?  Do you want to be a pioneer?  Probably not.<br><br>Today, anyone can go and learn how to loop a gyro.  You don't have to invent the wheel like Jim did.  All you have to do is develop the skills that are required to perform this maneuver, have Jim teach you exactly how to perform loops, and use the right equipment.  Your life will still be hanging on the line every time you perform a loop, but your odds will be much better than the odds that Jim had when he was learning how to loop.<br><br>So there is no question you need huge balls to make a loop, but you need more than that.  If you want the odds of you staying alive to be in your favor, you need to first develop the required skills and then have Jim teach you how to do it.  You also want to have the most reliable equipment you can get.  If you do all that, your odds of making it alive won’t be much worse than Jim’s.<br><br>Last, but not least, I want to thank Chuck E. for being so professional with his replies on this thread.  Chuck, I really appreciate your input.<br><br>Udi<br>
 

Screw

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

Your right of couse Al.  Mabe the question should have been, "At what point could the rotors become unloaded?"<br><br>I've modeled airplanes, helicopters, and gyros in the R/C world sucessfully since age 11.  Funny you mentioned helicopter.<br><br>I don't know about real ones, but in the models, while doing aerobatics I constantly reversed pitch to maintain altidude.  No so much for simpy loops and rolls but other aerobatics like inverted flight and sustained negative G manuvers.<br><br>My goal aerobaticly with gyros was to simply build one that I could do loops, rolls, spins, and inverted flight.  Inverted flight was the most difficult because 1) had to design a Fuselage small enough to get out of the rotors way when the rotors were unloaded and started rotating the opposite direction. 2)  Maintain stability on the roll axil while the rotor transition was taking place. 3) maintain enought altitude while all was giong on.<br><br>I could never achieve inverted flight with a single rotor gyro, but I did rather well with a dual rotor design.<br><br>Just for giggles and off subject I took a Lanier Stinger (see Attach) and added crow functions to the ailerons and roll funtions to the elevator to explore extremly slow flight aerobatic manuvers.  I took the ailerons and split them and programed the radio (Futaba) to link them for full span ailerons or I could have outboard ailerons with flaps (2 Setting flaps), and finally crow ( outboards sections up, inboard sections down creating one hellava airbrake which would decrease one side or the other as I needed to roll.  I programed the elevator to assist in roll when needed with the flip of a switch, and last but not least a baseball sized tuned pipe for my Zenoah G-62 with smoke.<br>
 

Al_Hammer

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

Yes, John,  I guess sustained inverted flight is not something possible for a real gyro, given that they don't have the abiltity to reverse pitch. Also, with a teetering rotor, if you go inverted the fuselage will simply flop over into the rotor.<br><br>Nice looking model(And interesting innovations re: the modified controls) <br><br>Here's my control line Apache- a bit of a handful as you can see.   :D  ;D
 

Screw

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

Furthermore and the moral of the story is:<br><br>All of these things that I did with models, my life was never really at risk.  I did have to be very concered about where I did alot of these manuvers so that I would not put anyone elses life at risk.<br><br>Out of all of my modeling, gyros were no where near as difficult to lean to fly as helicopters, but I believe helicopters are easier to do aerobatic manuevers once you learn to fly.  Gyros have been the most rewarding and difficult to do aerobatics with.<br><br>I am very familiar about aerobatic manuevers and how they should be performed, but I am also familiar with sh*t happens.  In a gyro, when sh*t happens, your done.  Forget the cameras, the crowds, your current projects, how safe you were setting up for this manuever, your done.<br><br>What do people always say when someone was killed in a gyro?  Hi time pilot/low time gyro? Low time gyro, big balls?  It was an RAF? Traggic? Flying outside of the envelope?<br><br>I don't think training and being in the "Masters only Club" make an accident less tragic.  Therefore, aerobatics should not be part of any gyro operation. There is no good reason for aerobatics in gyros as far as I can see, other than for reasons of the ego, marketing.<br><br>MHO-<br>
 

Screw

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Re: Aerobatics in a gyro

D*mn Al,<br><br>I want one.
 
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