Building Mariah Gale

Resasi

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I am not trying to fool anyone.
Just joshing with you Vance.

My father's comment to me, when I would state to him that I wanted to be a pilot like him, was, " It's just being a glorified bus driver."

My feelings later in life, and with the benefit of his logbook, were that he had lived pretty intensely through his wartime flying. Joined RAF at 17, first operational squadron fighting in the N African campaign less than a year later. Posted to Crete before it fell in the massive German airborne invasion, then sent across to Ceylon just in time to face the massive Japanese airborne attack on Columbo. Shot down on the 4th of April at 19 yrs old. Three bullets in his back one in the leg and one through his neck he bailed out, found and taken to hospital. Less than one moth later on May 3rd back in a hurricane cockpit and in action again.

He and others like him had lived on the edge in an environment where one could die anytime, and probably anything after that was pretty tame.

He certainly wanted me to find my own way, as I have wanted my own sons to do. One is now a airline Captain, the other a cop...who built an autogyro with me, and will at some stage, when wife, job and two babies allow, will start flying one.

What caused our father's to look to the sky Vance? Whatever it was I am pretty sure I got that gene, and would certainly venture you did too.
 

Vance

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Boys and their Fathers!

Boys and their Fathers!

Hello Jeff, that is an interesting thought but unlike my father.

He fought to point me in the direction he felt was best for me and I fought hard to resist the pressure.

It is my impression that my father approached parenting as he would testing an aircraft, push it until it breaks and then send it back to engineering (AKA Mom).


Hello Leigh, Your father sounds like a remarkable fellow.

So few people understand the concept of “press on regardless.”

I don’t know how I got the aviation bug, my father was a carrier but my sister didn’t get it.

My niece Clair has that spirit of adventure that may lead her to aviation.

She was very excited about her flight in the Predator.


As I get older I understand more about my father and we probably missed a great deal because of our struggles.

I ask him for help sometimes when things aren’t going well and I am out of ideas.

He would be over 100 years old so some of his ideas may be a little out of date but things seem to work out.

Thank you, Vance
 

KD>

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Thanks for the Detailed Response!

Thanks for the Detailed Response!

I will try to answer your questions. Please remember we are not engineers..."

It is your "insider" knowledge and thought processes I'm after. Actually, envisioning and building one's own craft is quite different than "just" engineering one! Virtually all aircraft are built off the backs of designs that came before them. It's their unique features that makes them special.

1. I have a builders log but the thread is the only narrative. The builders log is just about times and tasks with nothing about why.... An abbreviated version will be part of the book my wife Ed and I hope to publish about traveling across the country in an amateur designed and built gyroplane.

Just a thought and please take this as encouragement and not a critique...a travelogue is wonderful, they are a blast to read, and there are many of them to enjoy (not too many though....especially gyro-based). Actual books outlining the construction of a craft such as yours, the mistakes and changes (e.g. the Mooney empennage idea and change) successes and THOUGHT PROCESSES are rare AND invaluable to people who like to build aircraft...If you write both, I will buy both :whip:

2. I know very little about composites and have only had experience with E and S glass and Kevlar....The cost of the materials took my breath away and my ignorance frightened me so I retained the services of Martin Hollmann...

I join you in knowing very little about composites. I have made some relatively simple layups with vacuum bagging (no significant load bearing). As I discovered, anyone can make composites...but only wizards in the black art of composites should make load-bearing parts. My early test pieces had all sorts of obvious bubbles & de-lams. But the terrifying part would be the load bearing pieces with hidden de-lams. The woven fiber prices were as terrifying.

In my FW days I drooled over (I hope it cleaned off easily) Mr. Hollman's composite, super slippery and speedy heavy hauler, Stallion/Super Stallion with its elegant cantilevered wings and amazing performance. Cessna tried to build this numerous times, over many years, in metal (C210), never achieving its elegance. Having him on your team is an incredible advantage....I wish I had that kind of pull!!!

I asked about Spectra because I was trying to get some free advice about composites made from the stuff. It appears to be pretty amazing (though it does slip some in some applications) and have been thinking about it for my next project.



3. The cost is hard to quantify... $60,000 starting from scratch... I suspect if I had to pay my friends for their work it would be well over $100,000.

I was afraid you were going to say that...dayummit...can't get away from that price range...accck!

4. We are using elastomeric devices in several places... Where the fiberglass connects to the framework we are using bonded in phenolic bushings per Martin Hollmann.

I brought about 1/2 sq. yard of 1/2" Sorbothane with me from America. Why I like it is that it conducts vibration and shock like Vermont maple syrup mixed with butyl goo...I used it to isolate a vibration table I built for my previous lab and couldn't believe how well it worked. As a bonus, it won't conduct sound either. I have only seen it used in a few aircraft...I'd like to know why it isn't used in all of them? I haven't been able to find an answer.

B. A two place tandem tractor gyroplane powered by a Continental IO-470 of around 260 horsepower. The goal is a 130kt (150 mile per hour) cruse speed and a solo climb out around 3,000 feet per minute.
These are both is the doodle stage of design.

Ahhh...tractors....not knowing anything about gyros, I find tractors irresistible...every R&D instinct in my feeble mind screams for me to build one. Their only downside (I can imagine...I don't 'know' this) is some reduced visibility...I can live with that...but, I really, really want to build and have one...really bad! I hope you will make your design and construction details available...I would even volunteer some time to do some research, etc. in my ignorance, I have already been doodling a few "ideal" shapes. More in a side-by-side configuration and handling the increased frontal profile with an extended nose and a composite stealth-type body. Who knows if it would fly? :wacko:

We don’t really design anything because we don’t know enough...We do not know enough to do a structural analysis...


My guess would be that, with your suite of friends, your "designs" could be made real without you being an engineer or a scientist.


He likes Ed a lot so I suspect he took a closer look than he claimed.

Hmmmm.... :suspicious:



Ed and I are planning of wearing personal parachutes.

Yes, I read that in another thread and am very impressed at your concern for safety. I'm a bit of a safety pest myself and respect it in others. ALWAYS better some safety (not false safety though) than no safety. I will get my non-parachute-based, low altitude recovery system to you eventually... if I don't blow myself up first! If you use it, your craft will never fly again but you probably will. :rapture:

Again Vance, I thank you for efforts, time and consideration. I have not been on this forum very long but I have already learned quite a bit from you and a couple of other folks. I am very grateful and hope to eventually make some sort of tiny contribution to gyro technology one day to somewhat help pay off my debt to you and the others who have taken the time to discuss issues and answer my inquiries.

Best Regards,
KD
 

Vance

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Contribution to the forum

Contribution to the forum

Hello KD,

Your asking questions helps me learn as I try to understand your questions and find a way to communicate what I imagine is the answer.

The cost question is a good example. I suspect that I didn’t understand the reason behind your question based on your response.

Mariah Gale is expensive because I am using an expensive rotor system, over $10,000, an expensive engine, typically around $16,000, and expensive propeller, typically around $2,200, and expensive radios, instruments and transponder, over $10,000.

Just the big bits are around $38,000.

The S glass and the materials to build the mold for the body and empennage will probably be over $5,000.

4130 steel and welding supplies are not cheap.

It is 760 road miles or 598 if I fly to Greenwood where we are building the airframe.

It is 270 road miles to Hollister or 260 miles if I fly.

I expect to commute more than 40,000 miles during the build and that is not cheap.

Because of the mission things get more expensive. If we were going to fly 50 hours per year and stay out of class Charlie airspace there is no reason for a transponder, a low hour injected Lycoming, an expensive body, an expensive propeller or such an expensive panel. I could do without the Garmin 695 and the fancy radio. If she was lighter I could use a much less expensive rotor system.

I feel that a nice gyroplane can be built for something in the neighborhood of $20,000.

This is a bunch of old friends having a big adventure and the money spent is not high on the list of priorities. I love having an excuse to visit my friends and sharing the excitement of progress on a shared challenge.

See, I learned something working on a better answer to your question; my estimate of $60,000 is probably short so you are already making a contribution to the forum.

I suspect you are not the only one who wondered about the cost of Mariah Gale.

Dick Mann, a famous motorcycle racer answered the "how much does it cost?" question much better than I with; “How much do you have?”

Thank you, Vance
 

StanFoster

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Vance- I feel it would be far more expensive not to build what you really want to fly. You know what you want and the $ is not dictating the terms. Way to go! Stan
 

KD>

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Hi Vance,

Well, I'm glad my questions occasionally benefit someone other than me. The cost breakdown is very helpful. I think your doing this project the way you have, will produce not only a superb craft but something that will be far above the average homebuilt.

I can use some of your cost numbers to estimate what it might cost me to build one (I don't have your sort of human resources here and it will take me another year or two to recover financially from the move to Australia (it is unbelievably expensive....totally blew me away when all the cost numbers came in). However, I can at least now start looking around for parts.

I HAVE to build a two-seater, I really do not have a choice. My fiancee's backing is critical (in more ways than one!) and she more or less demanded that unlike my last plane (1+1 design), anything new I build will have to have a true, dual control, two-place capability. I agreed.

I have been looking at some kits and, so far, have not seen a tractor out there in kit form that I would like to build and own (the Little Wing is fairly inexpensive....and my apologies to the designer...but to me that is one ugly aircraft...sorry). It looks like the builder changed his mind mid-way through building a FW. I do not know if the Phenix will ever be marketed as a kit and, if so, would it be affordable?

When I built my last plane, I was able to scrounge a lot of parts and saved big bucks doing so. Plus, at Sun 'N Fun I was able to get in on some great deals on new instruments (then it was "Grand Rapids Technologies") that I bought for a 10th. of what they cost now. I don't think finding engines will be terribly difficult (my last one was $3.5k) but I am really concerned about the rotor system. I DON'T want a "discount" OR "Used" system unless I can be absolutely certain that it is in pristine condition.

Anyway, thanks for the information. Please keep us (me?) informed on your progress with the tractor. Maybe when I am ready to build a full-sized tractor, a kit will be available.

Regards,
KD
 

MarkG

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Hey Vance it's been a while and was just wondering if there are any updates???

Happy Thanksgiving!!!
 

Vance

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A Funding interruption.

A Funding interruption.

Hello Mark,

January of last year we ran out of money.

I imagined incorrectly the funding interruption would be short lived.

I underestimated how tight we had stretched things.

The Harley Davidson motorcycle business has been hard hit by the recession.

Our income is based on point of sale software for running aftermarket Harley Davidson shops.

More than half of my customers have gone out of business in the last three years.

I have cut expenses as much as possible. I am down to two full time support people and a part time administrator.

I am even flying less to save money.

I hope we have turned the corner in the last month. November is the first month we have been able to reduce our dept.

Just the last week I sent Mike and Jim emails suggesting we may be able to resume work as soon as April. Jim is ready and Mike is very busy now. April will not be good timing for Mike but the biggest part of the job is finished.

Once she is built we need to save the money for the trip so it looks like spring of 2014 is as soon as we could leave and 2015 is more likely.

I will be 66 then. I feel a lot of pressure to get going before I am too old to enjoy it or have some unanticipated health challenge.

I will start posting again as soon as we make some progress.

Mariah Gale and the trip of a lifetime are never far from my heart.

The Hollister, Watsonville, Santa Maria and Cable air shows are also part of the process and I continue to work on my commercial gyroplane pilot license.

I have searched unsuccessfully for a sponsor.

I even considered selling The Predator to fund Mariah Gale.

Thank you, Vance
 

Resasi

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Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. Pax ArrowCopter
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100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
Vance how well you encapsulate the constraints you face, and extension of the timeline to your dream. I empathise strongly.

I too feel I am racing time in the attempted sale of my house in Kenya to fund my dream machines and fly the country in great detail one last time. Having lost my licence, livelihood and passion once, then regained it after some years, the delay seems interminable. The possibility of a recurring health problem that would clip my wings for ever, ..only too easy.

The recession has hit Kenya, the run up to the up coming election has created an instability in the tribal structure with escalating tensions and sadly violence. This effects tourism and income. Having returned home a few days ago and seen exorbitant rises in various government charges as they try to pay for their bloated Parliament, and an MP pay structure that is out of touch with reality, I am not reassured.

My house here was the result of a dream of a large family holiday home by the sea. With daughters-in-law from UK and USA who have visited, loved the house but felt uncomfortable with the heat, insects, and security here, I realise that my Kenya born sons who love it dearly will not be returning. The dream of designing and building the home was realised...that of my children and grandchildren visiting, increasingly increasingly unlikely hence my decision to sell one dream to finance another.

The paths to dreams can be winding, strewn with pitfalls and obstacles, sometimes they have to be scaled to fit in with reality and likely possibility, but oh how much sweeter that can make them when achieved, or the realisation that the journey was so much part of that process.
 

Vance

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A grand adventure has its own pace!

A grand adventure has its own pace!

I find one of the hardest things is to recognize when a dream is not working out and change course.

I am sorry your dream house isn’t working out.

I built my 3,000 foot shed and then lost it as part of a fiscal explosion brought on by a challenging marriage.

I used to find joy in just sweeping the polished concrete floor and oiling the machines.

I loved that it had a real bathroom with hot water and a big heater.

I had it plumbed well for air and electricty.

I live on the same block and drive by it every day.

I thought I would never marry again and yet here I am happily married to Ed.

I see no reason to stop chasing dreams just because I don’t catch them all.

An adventure of this magnitude has a pace of its own.

I continue to make some progress each day; just not on my timetable.

We still have a lot of work to do and a lot of money to find.

I am grateful to be on such an adventure even if the book never comes to fruition.

I am grateful that I have you as a friend Leigh and your empathy and support mean a lot to me.

Thank you, Vance
 

04 Marine

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There are many Routes to a Dream

There are many Routes to a Dream

Vance,

There is more than one way to achieve a dream. As I have read your various posts I am always intrigued by your ability to spin a yarn, tell a story, relate a trip or any of the many descriptions of telling a story. Perhaps it's time to write and self publish a book dedicated to the building of a dream and the route(s) by which you arrived at where you are.

I would most certainly buy it!
 

Vance

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Thank you for the kind words Glen!

Thank you for the kind words Glen!

I practice to learn to write a book about our adventures here on the forum and my friends here help guide me by commenting on the posts. I love to read the things that touched their heart and it is often not what I intended to express.

Part of the reason for the book is to have an excuse to do all the work necessary to bring the elements together and have big adventure.

I like to have something I am working toward.

Maria Gale is stalled now for funding and part of the adventure is finding a way to resolve that.

I recently went through the exercise of planning the modifications that would allow the mission to be completed in The Predator. She needs another ten gallons of fuel, some places for luggage and front suspension with a bigger nose wheel for off airport landings.

The Predator is a fine machine and I am proud to fly her but it is simply not the same as designing and building a gyroplane and flying her across the country.

I am pleased with the progress on this adventure even if it is not happening on my fantasy schedule.

The air show element is a wonderful addition and the notoriety we have been receiving will be helpful in securing an agent and give him ammunition to secure a publisher.

The scope of the adventure continues to grow in ways I could not have imagined before I took the first step of the journey.

My days are filled with this adventure and very few go by without some sort of progress.

I have much to learn and I am a slow learner.

The sun is shining and the skies are blue so Ed and I are off to fly to San Luis Obispo for lunch.

This is part of the fun.

Thank you, Vance
 
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MarkG

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Vance

Sorry to here about you customers going out of business.... It has been slow in the aircraft maintenance business too. Everyone has cut back on flying and everything except what is required to maintain their aircraft. We used to do 5 or 6 avionics upgrades a year and now lucky to get one. Hope things turn around soon for everyone....... I have a friend that just bought a 2 year old Harley V Rod with about 8K miles..... Nice looking bike!!

You and Ed have a Very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!!!
 

Jazzenjohn

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It's coming up on a year since there's been a post on the Mariah Gale thread. Anything happening Vance?
 

Vance

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Mitigated but not resolved.

Mitigated but not resolved.

Hello John,

My funding interruption has been mitigated but not resolved.

I am having a challenge getting the team at Corbin’s back together. Mike wants me and the composite expert together with the mold maker and his layup guy. I have had challenges making this happen.

I am hoping that when the motorcycle business slows down a bit in the winter that I will be easier to get everyone’s attention.

Her frame is sitting on the floor in my hangar and I occasionally sit in her and dream.

We are at the point of attaching the main gear and locating the rotor head and until we know how much the empennage weighs those things are stalled.

I continue to work on my commercial license and expand my gyroplane knowledge.

I just changed the oil and lubed the teeter bearings on The Predator at 1,412.8 hours. Fortunately she seems to be holding up well. I work on her for less than one hour for ten hours of flying.

I continue to make a little progress each day and I am getting closer to writing a book about my recover from my traumatic brain injury and saver the Mariah Gale cross country trip for a second book. It is hard to imagine the book generating money but it may help me find a sponsor and it will be good practice.

I recently had dinner with Ira McComic and he made a compelling case for just writing about becoming a pilot after being told I would never speak in complete sentences, stand unassisted or manage any complex task. I feel the journey going from that low point in my life to the joy and freedom I find in the sky as a gyroplane pilot is a useful metaphor. He is not the first to suggest it. He has written several books and offered me to self publish. Ed is in favor of the idea.

My biggest fear is my health will not hold up until Mariah Gale is finished and tested enough to make the trip. So far I feel pretty good as I come up on my 65th birthday next July. Tomorrow is promised to no one.

My second trepidation is that the publishing is changing so fast there may not still be a market for a coffee table book.

Now and then I try to imagine a gyroplane I would rather have and Mariah Gale is still at the top of the list.

Our mission is peculiar and in my opinion there is no other gyroplane that is as well suited to our mission.

As I was driving to Fort Worth I was watching the airports on my GPS and fantasizing about flying Mariah Gale across the country.

Thank you, Vance
 
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