Bush Wheels / Baloon Tires ? Off Airport

DavePA11

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Gotta keep rotor rpm up on take off or you can get rotor flap if you hit bumps on take off. Even small impressions across takeoff surface can cause a flap if you are not careful. Fixed wing with 31” tires are 100% better for bush flying than gyros.

Also, takeoff surface has to the flat with limited side to side slant otherwise hard to keep them straight on takeoff with heavy rotors on top. Probably fine in desert area in Utah, but not so much in around mountainous areas. You’ll have to land up hill too since trying to stop going down hill or on slant with heavy rotors isn’t fun.

Site picture landing off airport is much different than landing on runway so be prepared to take that into account too. Make sure you fly by unfamiliar terrain before landing to check for gopher holes, poles, wire, fences and anything else that can cause you not to be able to take off again.

If taking off off on beach make sure the slant towards water doesn’t make you drift and get a wheel in the water since it can flip you. Landing on wet snow with wheels can cause snow to pack up in front of wheels and cause issues. Tend to flip fixed wing planes. Not sure what would happen on trike.
 

Jason312

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DavePA11;n1143860 said:
Gotta keep rotor rpm up on take off or you can get rotor flap if you hit bumps on take off. Even small impressions across takeoff surface can cause a flap if you are not careful. Fixed wing with 31” tires are 100% better for bush flying than gyros.

Also, takeoff surface has to the flat with limited side to side slant otherwise hard to keep them straight on takeoff with heavy rotors on top. Probably fine in desert area in Utah, but not so much in around mountainous areas. You’ll have to land up hill too since trying to stop going down hill or on slant with heavy rotors isn’t fun.

Site picture landing off airport is much different than landing on runway so be prepared to take that into account too. Make sure you fly by unfamiliar terrain before landing to check for gopher holes, poles, wire, fences and anything else that can cause you not to be able to take off again.

If taking off off on beach make sure the slant towards water doesn’t make you drift and get a wheel in the water since it can flip you. Landing on wet snow with wheels can cause snow to pack up in front of wheels and cause issues. Tend to flip fixed wing planes. Not sure what would happen on trike.

Hi Dave,
Thanks for your input! I really want to make an educated decision and there just isn't a lot of info about off airport operations with gyro's.

So if I pre-rotate the rotor up to 200 rpm or above would it prevent rotor flap even when hitting bumps?

I have a lot of experience doing high and low recons of potential landing sites and watching for potential hazards such as loose debris, animals, holes, rocks, logs, fences, poles and wires from my time flying Blackhawks in the Army. I also used the acronym SSBAT which stands for Size, Shape, Barriers, Approach and Takeoff. It's definitely a necessary part of landing off airport. With gyro's I will also have to take into account the space needed for landing and takeoff roll.

I didn't realize a gyro would be harder to control on a slope than a fixed wing. I assumed you would just tilt the rotor into the slope to help maintain ground track. Perhaps the 2 vertical tails of the AG915 will be a great asset in maintaining ground track on sloping surfaces.

I definitely don't know gyro's! I don't understand how landing and stopping down hill would be any more difficult with a gyro than a fixed wing. I actually thought it might be easier in a gyro since the rotor could provide aerodynamic braking.

Thanks again,
Jason
 

DavePA11

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Jason - I flew the Sportcopter Vortex M912, and only sharing my experience. Others may have different to share. I owned a Cub with bigger tires, but not bush tires. Having the longer tail helped control the Cub on take off until airspeed was enough for control surface to become effective. I wasn’t able to take off in the Sportcopter on the same level of side slant as in the Cub. The nose had a tendency to slide down hill even though the braking system is very similar, but the nose wheel in SC is castering which I greatly prefer for safety. Also felt as if I was going to topple over with weight of rotor system above on steeper slopes.

The higher rpm will help prevent flap, but I can share one experience I had on take off. I flew off a grass field, and a pick up truck drove across the runway when grass was very wet. It dried leaving tire ruts, and just so happened when he drove over wet grass to go home they where evenly spaced the width of the truck so there were 4 sets of ruts each about 4 feet apart. I didn’t see these ruts on take off until it hit them, and it did start beginning of a flap. I immediately pulled power, and leveled the stick. The rotors were spun up to 200rpm, but assume the rpm may have dropped as the stick was pulled back on take off roll.

I wasn’t able to fly into the same spots as my Supercub friends with bush tires, but I could certainly land in much tighter places, but the hills were difficult on take offs. Also, 31” bush tires can go over much bigger obstacles than my smaller tires on gyro.

The M912 was great for short take offs, but still needed to be flat and clear of obstacles. There are some advantages with gyro over fixed wing, if there isn’t enough distance on take off to clear tree tops on hill you can do 180 and fly back to build up speed to take off the other direction on calm days. Had to do this once getting out of a farm field that when I landed slid down the hill to a flat spot. That would not have happened in Cub either. Maybe wheel span is wider?

Anyway, the single seat gyros are a blast to fly and extremely maneuverable. Just have to be careful not to exceed your skill set or gyros capabilities.... Definitely recommend gyro for helo pilot as much lower cost than helicopter with much of the fun. Where do you plan to fly the gyro? What gyro are you planning on buying?

Buy a bush plane with 31” or bigger tires for bush flying. Gyros are fine for flat farms.

Dave
 

Jason312

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Dave,
Thanks again for all the great input. It's awesome you have off airport experience in both fixed wing and gyro's.
I have about 1,700 hrs helicopter and only 125 airplane so I feel much more confident in rotorcraft than I do in fixed wing. I got my tail wheel endorsement about 8 years ago in a J5 cub but moved across country shortly after that and haven't flown tail wheel since.

I think I like the Airgyro AG915 (similar to Tercel,Xenon) with the 915 engine. There will be one here locally in the next couple months so I'll get to see it in person. The twin boom gives it more ground clearance and it has 2 rudders for greater authority. It's stance seems wider too but I don't know if that would help or not. It also seems to have the most room for baggage compared to other gyro's.

I like the maneuverability and slow flight of the gyro without the fear of stalling. However I would also like to be able to land at many remote areas for exploring, camping, fishing and hunting in the Utah and Idaho mountains. It sounds like a fixed wing would work better for that.
If I end up with a gyro I may have to limit myself to level landing sites and improved back country airstrips.

Maybe I should also look closer at aircraft like the Highlander, Kitfox and ch750/801. Like I said though, I feel more comfortable in rotorcraft.

Decisions....decisions.....

Thanks,
Jason
 

DavePA11

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Jason - There are a few gyro pilots out here in Denver area, but pretty sure they stay on paved runways. Once I find a nice Husky I can fly out to Utah and give you a flight in one. If your mission is exploring, camping, fishing, etc, then single seat gyro of course won’t work. I’m not familiar with the Airgyro, but found many of the side by sides are somewhat slow for cruise speed making longer trips more difficult. The Highlander would be a great plane. One thing nice about gyros and helos are they are much better in gusty conditions than fixed wing.
 

DavePA11

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Jason - Just looked at the Airgyro you mentioned on their website and looks like a nice gyro. Cruise speed is listed as 90mph so not real fast for longer cross country trips assuming 90mph is realistic cruise speed. However, many Supercub can only fly 95mph with the big 31” tires. Do you know if it can be flown with a door off? Are these in production now and can you get a demo flight? Let us know if you do.

How many hours do you have in a Blackhawk? We had some of these land at our local airport when I was back in MA. They are huge.
 

Jason312

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Good morning Dave,

The AG15 is basically the same as the Trendak Tercel or Celier Xenon but with the 915 engine. There are many of those models flying but I think there are only 3 flying delivered by Airgyro so far. I know one more will be delivered to a customer in Utah within the next couple months. Hopefully I can get a demo flight in it to get first hand experience.
Airgyro tells me the kits for their AG915 along with Trendak kits, Celier kits and Argo kits are all made by MBL and Manufaktura Lotnicza. Airgyro will be the U.S. based distributor for the kits.

I don't know what to make of the cruse speeds listed for gyro's. Take the Cavalon for example. The cruse speed is listed as 87mph however I talked to one person who claims to regularly fly the cavalon faster (115-120 if I remember correctly) without issue. However the VNE is listed at 103mph so I don't know what to think of all that.

The AG915 can be flown doors off. That is definitely a requirement for me. I hopefully will be doing some predator control for local ranchers plus I loved flying the Blackhawk with the doors off. However, for my wife and for winter flying I will want an enclosed cabin.

I have about 1,600 hours in a Blackhawk. They are pretty big. A light one is still around 12,000 lbs. and can be loaded up to around 22,000 lbs including up to 9,000 lb external loads. I miss their power but couldn't afford the fuel even if they gave me one. :)

Funny you mention a Husky. There's a 2004 A-1B about 1.5 hours from me that has a 1/3 owership available. I have considered looking into it further but it's stall speed is listed at 53mph and I'd like to go slower. I also think a gyro would be less expensive to operate. I'm not sure which would be more for insurance though.
Here is a link to that Husky.
https://classifieds.ksl.com/listing/54859483
 

schmoe90

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Jason, I find my Magni costs me less per hour to operate than my old Flightstar IISL, but the insurance costs are absolutely horrific - you might want to get some quotes before you start shopping for a gyro :(
 

Jason312

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schmoe90;n1143901 said:
Jason, I find my Magni costs me less per hour to operate than my old Flightstar IISL, but the insurance costs are absolutely horrific - you might want to get some quotes before you start shopping for a gyro :(

Great advice. I have a request in now. I also asked for a quote on a Husky. I've heard tail wheel insurance can be pricey too.
 

DavePA11

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Jason - I suspect the insurance rates vary based on time in type? The taildragger insurance went down a lot as time was built up without any accidents. I didn’t have any insurance on my SC, although always taxied where no one would walk up to it since it attracted attention and always afraid someone would walk into the rotor before it stopped. Avemco wouldn’t insure my gyro either.

I found the opposite with gyros flying slower than what the POH listed for cruise, but doubt the Cavalon cruises at 115-120??? I flew a Magni M24 which was nice, but cruise was very slow.

Blackhawk must have been a blast to fly. Probably $10k operating cost per hour? We had a fellow buy and build a Mosquito helicopter which was fun to watch fly although wouldn’t recommend one with two cycle engine as his failed twice.

I think flying gyro with four stroke engine is next best option for helo pilot if you have to pay for it yourself. Buying used might be most affordable and quickest path to flying a gyro. There are many nice used ones on Barnstormers now too. I like the AR-1, and would put some bush tires on it for off airport landing.

Maybe some nice 31”” tires on the mains and move the front wheel to the tail? Make a tailwheel gyro for off airport flying. Hint hint Abid.. Ha 😜
 

coyotekyk

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I am very interested in this thread. I live in the mountains.and I I have the airfield at 1 hour by car, so I often use a field near home that is only 150m long and really rough. When flying with the single-place, in a day with wind I had no problem to take off; but in a really hot day and without any wind it was more complicated, sometimes impossible. Now I want a two-seater that suits this type of flying. Speaking to a reputed person in this forum, he told me that using wheels of more than 45-50cm in diameter has no benefits, and that it was better to implement a suspension that would isolate the rotor from irregularities in the terrain. Anyway Jungleman´s Magni is incredible. I love it!
 

Mac

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26”””” inch Alaskan Bushwheels-Beringer ultralites $1445.00 per tire - standard tread Add $200.00 for heavy tread

26 lbs each
 

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Jason312

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Mac;n1143914 said:
26”””” inch Alaskan Bushwheels-Beringer ultralites $1445.00 per tire - standard tread Add $200.00 for heavy tread

26 lbs each

I was thinking these 26 Inch bushwheels because their cheaper and lighter. $995 each and 15.25lbs.

However I don't know what the difference between the two are other than price and weight.

One thing I worry about is lifting the mains more than the front wheel. That will cause the aircraft to sit more nose low on the ground and change how much aft deflection or angle-of-attack the rotor disc has for takeoff.

Jason
 

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Mac

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Hello Jason
Large difference in load carrying capacity. The tires I pulled up are made for a Cessna 206 with takeoff and landing weight of 3600 lbs. Tires you found have a combined load capacity of 1320; 660lbs per tire max.
Sorry for the confusion.
 

Jason312

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Mac;n1143924 said:
Hello Jason
Large difference in load carrying capacity. The tires I pulled up are made for a Cessna 206 with takeoff and landing weight of 3600 lbs. Tires you found have a combined load capacity of 1320; 660lbs per tire max.
Sorry for the confusion.

Thanks Mac,
That is a huge difference in load capacity.
I bet the ones you pulled up would be more puncture resistant but also may not flex enough to provide adequate cushioning for a light gyro.
 

waynep

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FYI, the now defunct "Backyard Flyer" started using beach/sand tires as a cost effective off road solution. I thought it was pretty creative economical and it worked. (The owner/engineer Gene passed away. The kids are just focusing on making propellers these days.)
 

Jungleman

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Sportcopter M912 set up with 26” Bushwheels performing well in New Zealand back country
 

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Resasi

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If you want bush/outback capability here is a video of the Trojan autogyro from Wagtail Aviation in South Africa that was designed from the outset for rough field operations.

They use it for policing their Game Parks and anti-poaching work

 

fara

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:).
So first just learn to fly gyroplanes and put in a couple of hundred hours on regular runways to be safe. Having airplane or heli hours is good but not that good.

Second, obviously gyroplanes can land in a few feet with good technique so landing isn't the big issue. But there is one exception to that. When you land or for that matter takeoff from a slanted field (where one main is higher than the other), the higher your CG is the more prone you are to tipping over especially with something up there that can tilt in all directions. So the higher the main concentration of the weight (pilot, passenger, engine), the higher your overall CG and the narrower the wheel stance on the mains, the more likely you are to tip over. This puts gyroplane designs like Dominator, Vortex at a disadvantage with pilot and fuel tank relatively higher up. The other thing that matters is you wheel stance width. Obviously the wider it is, the more resistant to tipping over it would be. In fact there is an engineering term defined just for this tipping over resistance that has in it the wheel stance and vertical CG. You can see the gyro model that's tipping over quite a lot (Cavalon) and its wheel stance width is quite narrow. It provides less resistance to tipping over and it shows in the insurance claims stats. In the application you are talking about here, that is quite important.

Just making the tires Bush wheels and tires is good but there is a catch. Obviously drag both on the ground and in the air. It will take longer to accelerate to 38 knots with such tires on the ground where a typical gyro to break ground. It also raises the CG off the ground. So a good compromise would be something like 25 to 27 inch tires. The front wheel and tire would have to be changed to match properly or it would not work well.

On tarmac these tires suck. They bounce up and down like a yoyo even with good landings. So there isn't an ideal solution for one that works everywhere
 

Resasi

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As always in life, we search for the compromise that best suits the situation we are looking for answers for.
 
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