Bensen B-6

afontana14

Newbie
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Jun 4, 2016
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3
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Evergreen
Has anyone actually built/flown a Bensen B-6 glider? Or even seen one fly? Would it be a viable option for a homebuild project?

 

scottessex

Sling-Wing Pilot
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Nov 12, 2003
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central, ga
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Dominator 582
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It needs floats, then you could tow it behind a boat.
 

Chris Burgess

GYRO-CFI
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Oct 30, 2004
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797
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Winter Garden FL 34787
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Many makes and models, prefer open frame, Sold my SnoBird Tandem
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Lots of fun but a challenge to kite if you don't have "steady" winds around 22 and above. I never did the B6. Good realitively cheap project. I would only use the later model control head. Towing presents a whole new set of challenges.
 

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Earthbound

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Oct 11, 2020
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13
Location
South Island New Zealand
New here, know nothing - interested in learning about Gyro gliders - maybe (if time permits) it could be a place to begin to learn to fly a gyro!
Who knows where it could lead to from there? - Exciting times I reckon!
Have never even seen one (in real life) so need to get hold of some complete plans to study - where does one get them from?
Cheers, John.
 

Martin W.

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May 10, 2020
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Winnipeg
Gyro gliders appear attractive because of their simplicity and low cost.

No engine to worry about , no throttle management to worry about etc.

However it is not quite that simple .... the tow car is your power supply and whoever is driving it is your throttle manager.

Even worse the driver is looking forward and cannot see you on the end of the long rope. Talk about flying blind !!!!

It can be done , and has been done safely , and is pure fun ..... but you need some basic training and several experienced tow people

All of a sudden a small Rotax engine and an instructor appears simpler

Good luck and have fun.
 

wolfy

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Dec 19, 2013
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671
Location
western australia
I have done plenty of car tows with hang gliders where radio coms is almost essential, perhaps it should be considered for gyro gliders also.

wolfy
 

Earthbound

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Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
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Location
South Island New Zealand
Gyro gliders appear attractive because of their simplicity and low cost.

No engine to worry about , no throttle management to worry about etc.

However it is not quite that simple .... the tow car is your power supply and whoever is driving it is your throttle manager.

Even worse the driver is looking forward and cannot see you on the end of the long rope. Talk about flying blind !!!!

It can be done , and has been done safely , and is pure fun ..... but you need some basic training and several experienced tow people

All of a sudden a small Rotax engine and an instructor appears simpler

Good luck and have fun.
Thanks Marten and wolfy - I have a long way to go and not that much time left to get it done but hey, whats life without a plan?

Gyro's are still an extremely under appreciated subject IMHO - for what that is worth! (lol)
 

Doug Riley

Platinum Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Messages
6,487
The "classic" towing crew includes an observer in the tow car, facing backwards and watching the glider. I always brought one of my knucklehead buddies along on towing missions, in addition to the tow driver.

Ron Menzie was my original gyro mentor -- a total pro. His wife, Sandy, did his tow driving and typically did not use an observer. We both employed simple hand signals between pilot and driver, in addition to a few absolute rules: don't exceed the agreed speed, don't stop suddenly, and take up slack very slowly when turning around at the end of the strip.

A good gyroglider tow driver knows when the rotor is spinning fast enough to add speed (gradually) during the takeoff run. A bad one will go too fast too soon and flap your blades on you. A REALLY bad one is someone who's anti-authority and won't obey orders from the pilot. Be very afraid of that type.
 

giro5

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Mar 19, 2006
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Farmington, New Mexico
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prev- citabria,AA1b, fun racer
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The PRA may have the Bensen plans and manuals available on line for download or someone here might direct you to them. Although not a B-6 the plans and books include building a glider Bensen and training to fly it. This info may still be available from Vorteconline.com
 

C. Beaty

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Apr 16, 2004
Messages
10,032
Location
Florida
I learned to fly gyros on the end of a rope with Bensen flight training manual in hand in the late 1960s before there were any gyro CFIs. By that means, I didn’t have to listen to some gyro CFI with oral diarrhea. My partner, Bob Carbonell and I would take turns between driving and gliding.
Bob was a stickler for following the “book,” he’d look at his watch and say ”time for a break, Bensen says that a 15 minute training session is optimum.”
We both learned to fly without so much as scratching a finger and the entire process was quite enjoyable.
Self training got its bad reputation from individuals who couldn’t be bothered by following the book, they’d jump in a gyro and immediately go to pattern altitude before going splat.
 

giro5

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Farmington, New Mexico
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prev- citabria,AA1b, fun racer
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afontana14 is there a gyro group or club where you are at? If you get a set of Bensen or Ken Brock plans and build the basic gyro with glider rotor cheek plates you make the following mods to it. make an 8 ft tube for the "main" gear and put castoring wheels on it. This is so when towing if you come down sideways it won't tip over. on mine I found out the castoring wheels shimmied badly if you get much over walking speed so I connected them via a tie rod bar and attached a shimmy dampener off a motor cycle to control the shimmy. You remove the front wheel and make a tow bar. I used two 2x4 x 16 ft boards glued and screwed together that one end mounts under the keel and has a trailer ball coupler on the other end. They have to be long enough that there is no way for the blades to contact the tow vehicle. What you are doing here is to learn how to manage the rotor as it comes up to speed whether you use a stick or overhead control bar. This is where club members could be of great use. I did not have anyone and had to learn on my own. A big advantage here is once you figure out how to get the blades up to flying speed and lift off your height will be limited by the trailer ball coupling. On your first try (assuming hand start) spin the blades as fast as you can by hand and then have the tow vehicle start off at 5 mph and you holding the blades in a neutral position then slowly bring the stick back an inch or two and wait for the blades to accelerate with the tow vehicle moving at 5mph If you see a speed increase in the blades wait till it stabilizes the have the tow vehicle go to 10 mph and repeat. When the blades catch up in speed and stabilize then have the tow vehicle speed up another 5 mph and with each increase in speed of the tow you bring the stick back another inch. Finally you are going about 25 -30 mph and the stick is about all the way back and the blades are really going fast and you will feel the stick pressure change from having to hold back pressure to having to push forward a little to hold the stick and you are very close to lifting off . Once you can achieve lift off (get the blades up to flying speed) after lifting off move the stick back to neutral to just hold our altitude at 2 or 4 feet. Practice using the rudder to keep inline behind the tow vehicle and moving left and right and up and down slightly. You will find a very slight movement of the stick perhaps an inch in the direction you want to go and do not hold the control input in you just move the stick about an inch then return it to neutral and wait for the gyro to react. Practice practice practice on the boom tow before attempting a rope tow. When you try a rope make sure the tow operator knows what he or she is doing you can easily get killed here. Keep the tow speed just high enough to let the glider fly and make sure the tow operator understands the effect of a head wind or cross wind on your flying. When you are first learning to get the blades up to speed a good practice on a day with 10 - 20 mph wind is to fix the glider to a stationary vehicle and practice getting the blades up to the max speed the wind will allow then push the stick all the way forward and let the blades stop and do it again.

The above is an expanded synopsis of what is in the Bensen manuals for using a boom tow. It skips the step that has one balance a stationary gyro on a pivot on a wheel. The first time you get the blades near flying speed you are going to realize those blades are going just as fast as a real helicopter when it lifts off . My first time scared the crap out of me.
 

C. Beaty

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Apr 16, 2004
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Florida
Metal rotor blades were a rare commodity in the 1960s and wood rotor blades built from Bensen plans were almost impossible to flap; give them a swat, haul buggy and they’d eventually get up to flying speed. That simplified towline training during that time.
 

giro5

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I never had a chance to try those wooden blades. Mine are RotorHawks extruded. I had a miss communication with Neil and he sent 27 ft blades vs the 25 ft I wanted. Never the less that is what I learned on. I also have a set of Bensen metal blades I may try towing with some day just to check on the rotor rpm difference. I haven't flown it in a few years but as I remember my blades are baby butt smooth.
 

DavePA11

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Nov 16, 2015
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805
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USA
Earthbound, if you don’t have much time go buy a used one, get some training and have some fun. :) Barnstormer even lists some new ultralight ones if that is of interest.
 

Earthbound

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Oct 11, 2020
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South Island New Zealand
Earthbound, if you don’t have much time go buy a used one, get some training and have some fun. :) Barnstormer even lists some new ultralight ones if that is of interest.
Thank you - sage advice if I lived where you live - there are opportunities here but few and far between and hard to find.

If I had the plans I could make one, maybe import the critical parts - what I need most currently is information.

The time factor is age related.
 

Doug Riley

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Jan 11, 2004
Messages
6,487
"Not for build purposes" is likely an attempt at a legal disclaimer. IOW, "use at your own risk."

When facing an "age related" time factor, stay VERY aware that older folk require many more repetitions of a motor-skill task to learn it than do teenagers. The psych people talk about "brain plasiticity" -- a fancy way of saying that, in middle age and beyond, your body is not in an efficient learning mode. Adjust your expectations, understanding that this phenomenon WILL slow your progress. Be patient and brutally honest with yourself.
 

Earthbound

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Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
13
Location
South Island New Zealand
"Not for build purposes" is likely an attempt at a legal disclaimer. IOW, "use at your own risk."

When facing an "age related" time factor, stay VERY aware that older folk require many more repetitions of a motor-skill task to learn it than do teenagers. The psych people talk about "brain plasiticity" -- a fancy way of saying that, in middle age and beyond, your body is not in an efficient learning mode. Adjust your expectations, understanding that this phenomenon WILL slow your progress. Be patient and brutally honest with yourself.
Thought that might be the case - thanks for the warning Doug although I am well aware of the vagaries of AGE!

I.E. "The older one gets - the better one "was"!!!

60+ years of (various) motorcycle riding has taught me to Know thy self reasonably well.

Instead of buying another bike, I thought I might like to try something completely new like Gyro kiting!

Helped a friend (back in about 1970) trying out a gyro (Bensen I think) that he had bought disassembled - unfortunately it did not end well but it waxed my deeper interest!

Started looking up the internet to see how the Gyro world is today - simply amazing - He (the friend) was on the right track - just isolated from suitable support at the time.

My friend was (and still is) a very competent and reliable fixed wing pilot.

Thank you for the reply.
 
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