Annual Inspection of Gyroplanes

Jim Thurow

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
6
Location
Walnut, CA
Aircraft
C-172, C-152, Auto Gyro MTO Sport
Total Flight Time
200+
I'm new to the sport of flying gyroplanes in the Los Angeles area and I'm looking for someone to perform an annual maintenance inspection on my Sport Copter Vortex. I did not build the gyroplane myself; so, my understanding is that I need an Airframe and Power mechanic with an Inspection Authorization to perform this work.

Any recommendations and ballpark costs?
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
15,674
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2200+ in rotorcraft
In my opinion they don't need inspection authority Jim; they just need to be an airframe and power plant mechanic.

I have seen a wind range of prices and a wide range of work.

In my opinion appendix D of part 43 spells out the scope and detail of an annual condition inspection even for an experimental aircraft.

I seldom get out for less than $1,000 for a condition inspection on The Predator and it was typically $1,500 on the Cavalon.

I have seen as low as $400.
 

GyrOZprey

Aussie in Kansas.
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Whitewater KS
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Butterfly Aurora N5560Z / Titanium Explorer N456TE & N488TE/ - trained in MTOsport 446QT/488FB
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Jim ...... one of the cool aspects of the ROTR event is that they have a willing resource (Jim Gillespie...ifIRC) who does reasonable & thorough YEARLY CONDITION INSPECTIONS ...as they are called for experimentals ! ...at the event! ... of course this is no help to you this year .... as that event is long gone!

If the original builder of your gyro is willing or able ... to do the inspection ... otherwise some qualify A&P with familiarity of gyro systems is the option!

Hope to see you at ElMirage...????
 

Jim Thurow

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
6
Location
Walnut, CA
Aircraft
C-172, C-152, Auto Gyro MTO Sport
Total Flight Time
200+
Thanks for your prompt and informative response, Vance!

It's always fun to have a reason to read the FARs and try to obtain a clear understanding. Appendix D of Part 43 does offer clear explanation of specific parts ("where applicable") of aircraft to be inspected during an annual inspection. What I find troubling is Section 43.1, (b), (1) which states: 'Part 43 does NOT apply to any aircraft with an experimental certificate'. Curiously, when I looked up the word 'experimental' in the FAR appendix, it lists only 3 pages none of which provide insight into the annual inspection requirements for experimental aircraft.

I plan to contact the Van Nuys Flight Standards District Office after the holiday to see what their understanding is on this subject.

I appreciate your assistance, Vance! Your reply to my has given me the necessary motivation to dig a little deeper. I'll share the FSDO opinion on this subject in a future post.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
15,674
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2200+ in rotorcraft
Jim Thurow;n1124238 said:
Thanks for your prompt and informative response, Vance!

It's always fun to have a reason to read the FARs and try to obtain a clear understanding. Appendix D of Part 43 does offer clear explanation of specific parts ("where applicable") of aircraft to be inspected during an annual inspection. What I find troubling is Section 43.1, (b), (1) which states: 'Part 43 does NOT apply to any aircraft with an experimental certificate'. Curiously, when I looked up the word 'experimental' in the FAR appendix, it lists only 3 pages none of which provide insight into the annual inspection requirements for experimental aircraft.

I plan to contact the Van Nuys Flight Standards District Office after the holiday to see what their understanding is on this subject.

I appreciate your assistance, Vance! Your reply to my has given me the necessary motivation to dig a little deeper. I'll share the FSDO opinion on this subject in a future post.
Your welcome Jim.

It may be that your FSDO is Riverside rather than Van Nuys.

I feel that an annual condition inspection has value.

Several times we have found things that could have been a problem when airborne of The Predator and would have been a problem if not addressed.

Your local EAA chapter may have a line on someone who is comfortable with experimentals. They put their career on the line when they sign off the aircraft as airworthy and there is a lot more experience and documentation available for certified aircraft as compared to experimentals.

Because I am instructing in The Predator I have hundred hour inspections in addition to the annual condition inspection and I am in the middle of that now. It is 97 degrees at SMX now and hangar 3031 Juliet is not a comfortable place to be. I am having trouble keeping the sweat out of my eyes.

Ed went to a pool party at her sister's.
 

JEFF TIPTON

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Jim although the certification rules do not apply to an experimental aircraft, each experimental aircraft is issued a set of operating limitations.

This limitations specify how the aircraft is to be operated and maintained. Depending on when the operating limitations for four aircraft were issued, around item 22 should read something like

(22) No person must operate this aircraft unless within the preceding 12 calendar months it has had a condition inspection performed in accordance with the scope and detail of appendix D to part 43, or other FAA-approved programs, and was found to be in a condition for safe operation. As part of the condition inspection, cockpit instruments must be appropriately marked and needed placards installed in accordance with § 91.9. In addition, system-essential controls must be in good condition, securely mounted, clearly marked, and provide for ease of operation. This inspection will be recorded in the aircraft maintenance records.
 

Brent Drake

Gyroplane Instructor
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Jun 15, 2004
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Shelbyville, Indiana
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Pipers/Cessna's/gyro's
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A CFI must have an annual inspection as well as an inspection every 100 hours.
 

Dutch

Newbie
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
4
Location
Acton
Does anyone know if you are the original builder and you are using the gyro to provide instruction with a LODA, can you do your own annual inspections and 100hr inspections?

Thanks,
Dutch
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
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Oct 30, 2003
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Location
Nipomo,California
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Givens Predator
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No Title

I don't know what all LODAs are like Dutch.

My LODA out of the Van Nuys FSDO specifically calls for an Air frame and Power plant mechanic to do the hundred hour inspection and the annual condition inspection.

It could be me if I were an A&P. I am not.

It would not make any difference if I was the original builder; I am not.

I like having more experienced eyes looking over the aircraft.

More than once they have found something I have missed.

I take the safety of my clients very seriously.

It is typically around $1,000 and takes a couple of days.

I do a careful preflight with my clients before every flight so there aren’t many surprises during the 100 hour inspection.

I am running a Lycoming IO-320 B1A on my experimental, amateur built gyroplane so I have to rebuild the magnetos every five hundred hours. Thank can top $1,000 for just the one squawk. I also have to have proof of compliance with ADs like the wrist pins and oil pump.
 

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Dutch

Newbie
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Aug 23, 2017
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4
Location
Acton
Vance, Thank you for your response to my question. The reason why I ask is because sometimes it’s difficult to find an A&P that will work on experimentals, especially if they are Rotax powered. Some will look them over for you, but will not sign them off. I definitely want additional qualified eyes looking at the machine for the100 hour and annual inspections.
-Dutch
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
15,674
Location
Nipomo,California
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Givens Predator
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2200+ in rotorcraft
I have found the local EAA chapter is a good source for Airframe and Power (A&P) that will work on experimentals because many people who own experimentals have the same challenge. A Rotax is kind of specialized and I feel it is important to find someone who has been to the Rotax School and is familiar with them.

I had an A&P with Inspection Authority (IA) with a great shop but when I started training his insurance company shut him down as too much exposure.

I now have a very experienced helicopter A&P with IA who does my 100 hour and annual inspections.
 

Jim Thurow

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
6
Location
Walnut, CA
Aircraft
C-172, C-152, Auto Gyro MTO Sport
Total Flight Time
200+
This forum is a great resource for people new to the sport!

Vance you are correct, my FSDO is Riverside. Unfortunately, my email to them went unanswered. I’m sure they are under staffed. I also agree that another set of eyes looking at a gyroplane is worth the expense.

Dave, the EAA link you posted is spot on and much appreciated.

I got the condition inspection on my Sport Copter Vortex done in Utah in conjunction with my transition training and proficiency check to obtain my Sport Pilot rating in gyroplanes. Woo Hoo! I’m very happy to have a gyroplane rating at last.

Hear is a little more information that may help others. I used a A&P recommended by the Pegasus Aviation Group in Nephi and was eventually pleased with the outcome. A surprise to me was that the original Airworthiness Certificate and original Aircraft Registration documents were required to be in the aircraft at the time of the inspection. I mention this because it was a big deal to this A&P mechanic. I had a copy of the AC and online proof of aircraft registration in the FAA data base; but, he refused to sign off on the inspection until I eventually produced the originals of these documents. Without his sign off, I could not fly my machine to get transition training in my single place after having trained in a two place. The AC was overnighted to me from Denver by the previous owner (thanks, Mark!!) and it all worked out; but, there were “exciting” moments. I won’t ever forget to have these original documents in my gyroplane during a 12-month condition inspection again! It’s also worth stating that copies of the weight and balance, operating limitations and pilot operations handbook must be in the aircraft.

The A&P mechanic also recommended that I have separate logbooks (red) for the engine maintenance and (black) for the propeller in addition to the green logbook I had for the airframe. I was surprised that the rotor maintenance is included in the airframe logbook. This guy was such a detailed professional that I’m going to get red and black logbooks very soon.
 

Rainman

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
118
Location
Boerne, TX
Aircraft
Mooney M20K, AutoGyro Calidus
I've been struggling to find a gyro knowledgeable A&P near San Antonio to do the annual condition inspection on my AutoGyro Calidus that I bought used. Fortunately, Craig McPherson from near Dallas has an A&P he uses, and he was able to get me connected with his guy. A message I got was that an A&P near Austin was only familiar with Magni gyros and not comfortable with my brand so I'd have to find someone else. This made sense as every brand has specific important aspects to it's construction. Ray
 
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