Any Cavalon owners willing to share their experiences?

GyroFan

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After a night of bad sleep from excitement I received a very warm welcome and the chance to finally fly in a 915 powered Cavalon.

I've flow in heli's and regular planes of various types but a gyro was a first. Up to now I got my gyro fix from youtube. Remember I'm a complete novice when reading this.
First of all the machine is beautiful to see.
Got to see the pre flight check which seemed not over complicated. I was glad it was raining to see how the plane and pilot would react to this.

Once seated the machine felt well made. Like a high end german car, solid, well designed. We fueled and taxied slowly to the runway which was a smooth experience.

Then prerotation and we gradually took off. From what I could determine by the book from the flight manual (there is a lot of stuff happening when you don't know where to look ;). I was impressed by the raw power on takeoff and during the flight. The noise level was less than the R44 and some Cessna's but this might be due to the 900 euro headset.

As I'd like to use it for travel I was keen to see the fuel consumption, comfort and handling also in not the best of weather. Once no longer climbing the fuel consumption dropped to 25/l per hour with 160 km/pu ground speed with headwind.

Comfort was good, I felt safe and could have maintained that seated position for hours. My next concern was safety and the pilot simulated an engine failure, grass landing and a very short landing. Lastly more or less hovering over the runway at a relatively slow speed.

Then we did some quick turns in the air which felt like steering a go cart. Got to try a bit of stearing myself as well.
The possible level of control amazed me during the demo but most credit goes out to the pilot I'd guess.

It was all over too soon but did address my concerns. What I also found commendable is that they also offered to demo a m24 magni to compare.

I also got an offer to fly a c42 but for some reason gyro's speak more to me so still doubting to chase a demo.

Training was also possible there which I'm considering. Got the feeling they were looking to create an ambassador/proper pilot not just make a sale.

Pictures anyone?
 

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DonBishop

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I recently did a flight in the Cavalon with Cierva Aero (Cierva.aero) in Petaluma, CA. The guys there were very nice, friendly, and answered every question I had. I plan on heading back to finish training with Mike and eventually buy a Cavalon. I'm a Mooney guy and love flying fast and cheap, but see the advantage of a vehicle that allows me to fly low and slow, with a huge safety margin. It was the most fun flying I've had in years!!! (Note: This is not a paid promo. I sincerely liked everyone at Cierva Aero and loved the Cavalon.)
 

Philbennett

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I'm considering purchasing a Cavalon for future business trips around 560 mi / 900 km max single journey throughout Europe mostly travelling in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Austia and Italy. This would involve crossing the Alps occasionally (there is a special training programme for this area available).

My business often takes me to rural areas and I'm flexible to adapt my travels to weather conditions and seasons. Taking clients in a later stage would be an added bonus.

How would you say this type of use would be a fit to this machine? Which ground speed /journey time do you see irl, what is the comfort level and anything else that you'd recommend or don't recommend?
No it wouldn’t be something I’d enjoy doing regularly. Normal cruise where the aircraft is happy to be is around 80-90mph more than that and it just gets harsh. Beyond that it’s a VFR aircraft so at some point the weather will snag you and beyond all of that fly for more than 2-2.5hrs and you have had enough so on the cruise speeds I suggest you have max. Comfortable trip of 200ish miles and you’re all done. Some will disagree but I have a fair few hundred hours in them as an instructor and a fixed wing aircraft would seem to fit your needs better.
 

GyroFan

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No it wouldn’t be something I’d enjoy doing regularly. Normal cruise where the aircraft is happy to be is around 80-90mph more than that and it just gets harsh. Beyond that it’s a VFR aircraft so at some point the weather will snag you and beyond all of that fly for more than 2-2.5hrs and you have had enough so on the cruise speeds I suggest you have max. Comfortable trip of 200ish miles and you’re all done. Some will disagree but I have a fair few hundred hours in them as an instructor and a fixed wing aircraft would seem to fit your needs better.
Noted! For my curiousity: 80-90 mph on a 914 or 915 model?
 

Philbennett

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Same / same really. The issue isn’t really motor related - although in fairness the 915 especially with a constant speed prop is quieter mph/mph compared but you’d take the 915 if you need the climb performance from a short strip and you’re always loaded or you operate hot/high - the 915 offers not much advantage in the cruise absolute speed wise more noise.

The point to get across is that it isn’t the same wazzing around even for an hour on a test flight as it will be doing the same for 2-3hours. It gets tiring flying at near their max speed and not really that comfortable. The VNE increase comes from rotor head 3 not the motor difference. If you’re buying new then you’ll have rotor head 3 on all engine options.

Buy a gyroplane if you want/need/like flying for fun up to 2 hours at a time in nice VFR conditions. For reliable business travel or flying for necessities or commercial activities buy a fixed wing. Helicopters that can match fixed wings are twin turbine and 10x the cost. Fixed wing and taxi is the solution.
 

fara

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Same / same really. The issue isn’t really motor related - although in fairness the 915 especially with a constant speed prop is quieter mph/mph compared but you’d take the 915 if you need the climb performance from a short strip and you’re always loaded or you operate hot/high - the 915 offers not much advantage in the cruise absolute speed wise more noise.

The point to get across is that it isn’t the same wazzing around even for an hour on a test flight as it will be doing the same for 2-3hours. It gets tiring flying at near their max speed and not really that comfortable. The VNE increase comes from rotor head 3 not the motor difference. If you’re buying new then you’ll have rotor head 3 on all engine options.

Buy a gyroplane if you want/need/like flying for fun up to 2 hours at a time in nice VFR conditions. For reliable business travel or flying for necessities or commercial activities buy a fixed wing. Helicopters that can match fixed wings are twin turbine and 10x the cost. Fixed wing and taxi is the solution.
I agree. 915 does not make you go faster for cruise. I don't understand why people keep thinking that. Your aircraft design Vc speed does not change because you changed the engine. If the aim for the design was t hit 80 to 90 mph cruise, that is where the aircraft is comfortable. Beyond that you can push it but it was not meant to stay there for long periods of time. Handling, noise, comfort all come into play in that. There is also the point that if you are flying in thermals and turbulence, you need to slow down more because handling would suffer. Even though gyroplanes really don't follow the overloading scenario like airplanes with Va and/or Vo it won't take long to notice that in turbulence they are comfortable at a slower speed than design cruise speed in calm conditions.

By the way, what is different in rotorhead 3 to change the Vne on Cavalon? I saw the new rotorhead on MTO Sport 2017. Its a much lighter simplified version with smaller ring gear diameter. Is there some change in pitch limits or geometry that made them increase the Vne.

For reliable business travel just remember this:
"Have time to spare; go by air".

You need a heavy, stable, IFR airplane with IFR rating and currency. Otherwise no light fixed wing will even do you any good. Weather determines what you will do and you are not incharge of it.
 

fara

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AR-1 cruises around 100mph with 914 and it is comfortable ride.
That's IAS. CAS is 96 mph but if you are a couple of thousand feet high, your true airspeed makes up for it. In frequent thermals and gusty winds, I would slow it down to 70 - 75 mph though
 

Philbennett

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I believe it’s a geometry change Fara regarding RH3 but it’s funny because I just can’t believe anyone has joy up towards 120mph... rather somebody else tbh!!!
 

GyroFan

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I agree. 915 does not make you go faster for cruise. I don't understand why people keep thinking that. Your aircraft design Vc speed does not change because you changed the engine. If the aim for the design was t hit 80 to 90 mph cruise, that is where the aircraft is comfortable. Beyond that you can push it but it was not meant to stay there for long periods of time. Handling, noise, comfort all come into play in that. There is also the point that if you are flying in thermals and turbulence, you need to slow down more because handling would suffer. Even though gyroplanes really don't follow the overloading scenario like airplanes with Va and/or Vo it won't take long to notice that in turbulence they are comfortable at a slower speed than design cruise speed in calm conditions.

By the way, what is different in rotorhead 3 to change the Vne on Cavalon? I saw the new rotorhead on MTO Sport 2017. Its a much lighter simplified version with smaller ring gear diameter. Is there some change in pitch limits or geometry that made them increase the Vne.

For reliable business travel just remember this:
"Have time to spare; go by air".

You need a heavy, stable, IFR airplane with IFR rating and currency. Otherwise no light fixed wing will even do you any good. Weather determines what you will do and you are not incharge of it.
From memory: the cruise speed in the Autogyro flyer with a 914 rotax indicated a lower cruise speed than the newer flyer with the 915 rotax. Therefore the assumption.

Distilling it down: almost nothing beats a car for travelling or a rental car plus low cost airline like Ryanair in mainland Europe in terms of price and reliability. Even a IRF heavy fixed wing would only bear some weight to the realibility argument. Is it Economic Darwinism you see so little of these ultralights for this type of usage? Food for thought gents.
 

Greg Vos

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Buy for fun, use for business whenever possible 😇
What Phil is saying is that a gyro has certain uses .....high speed cross country flight is not its finest hallmark, it’s fun, it’s safe, and if you can use it in business to entertain clients or for say photographers to use then it’s a win win, but as he points out 80 mpH and high fuel burn compared to a fixed wing with a similar power plant that can go places faster.....

I love gyro flying,.. but long distant cross Country flying does my head in.....that said at a club close by we have a number of guys who love long flights and even during cold Wx are committed to it.....personally I think they need therapy, or sex ....I can ride a bicycle to the office ....but a car is so much more user friendly ...I can use the back of a screwdriver to bang in a small nail....but a hammer does is so much better.

so chose the right tool for the job
 

Rick E

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I do a lot of X country flying and try to plan for two flying legs per day of approximately two hours per leg. I’m semi retired and not in a rush to get anywhere, I’d rather enjoy the journey.
Greg is right, if you want to get somewhere quickly a gyro is probably not for you.
 

GyroFan

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Indeed my usage type would be not as black and white. I'd imagine for business multi day trips where you would fly out to the furthest point then overnight and take 100-200 mile "hops" back. The latter part is where I imagined the efficiency as no low cost airliner offers the service and if they do the schedule is non optimal. Doing it by car is an option but only the entire trip.

Indeed taking clients, coworkers and our business partners to show their crops/business has additional commercial merit.

For raw speed and fuel consumption an ultralight such as the Swedisch Blackwing would perhaps be a better option for a similar usage type.

But doesn't a gyro offer a broader range to fly in various weather conditions especially when it's windy? And a safer way to fly due to autorotation?
 

Philbennett

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Hi - just a comment on aircraft useage / purchase etc.

You really need to fly your suggested trip to crystallise which aircraft is better for you. Then never buy something just because the on paper numbers look stellar. Sales always focus on fuel consumption/ speed or climb rate but what about comfort - and you’ll want some of that - but it’s subjective, what about baggage space? Etc all things that make living with something a great experience, just a good one or plain terrible.

Gyroplane and winds etc, yes compared with very light aircraft but tbh once you have some experience the weather you fly in tends to be same / same for all VFR pilots. Enjoy learning to fly, rent one for a while and not then pull the trigger on buying about a year later.
 
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