CalumetAir Inc / Wunderlich's Flex shaft prerotator

gyroplanes

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A little over 11 years ago, my good friend, Dick Wunderlich passed away. Dick designed and manufactured his version of the flex shaft prerotator after school hours, in his metals shop class. Dick graciously allowed our chapter members to share his shop on Thursday nights. I was building my first gyro in 1974 and made frequent use of his knowledge and shop. Gyro or not, I spent at least 10 years of Thursday nights at his school shop and later, his home shop (after he retired). Valentines day 2007 Dick died in his shop, in his chair, of natural causes.

After 43 years of friendship with this genius, I could not help but learn an awful lot from Dick. Dick's widow, Linda, was concerned about the future of his gyro business, I offered to help as I was well acquainted with his shop, practices and customers. Two of our younger club members stepped up to help me.

Adam Helwich and Nick Costa helped me fill Wunderlich's existing orders. Linda came in the shop one day and said that she, and Dick's children, would like me to buy the business. without thought or hesitation, I agreed.

11 years later I realized, I wasn't going to get to enjoy my "Golden Years" as the business was a 7 day a week enterprise and I just had just turned 70 years old. Adam called me recently and was looking for some gyro building advise. I asked him if he was interested in continuing the business, he replied no... as did Nick, who was with Adam that night working on their third or fourth gyro project.

Several days later, Adam called and said YES. After a long discussion with Nick, they both decided to eventually take over CalumetAir Inc. I will remain a partner until the total transition is complete, I expect it to take many months.

We will do our best to make the transition seamless, so there is no need to "panic order" parts and supplies. I / we are currently making parts together and will have a supply on the shelf during the moving of the machine shop equipment from my place to theirs.

Nick and Adam have been club members for around 10 years now and have served the chapter well. Both men have built and flown several gyros and participated in our club's successful "Monster Gyro" project.

Adam is self-employed as a financial advisor and Nick is a machinist of many years. I have no doubt that the future of the company is in good hands, and will be. We will beat Mentone to introduce the boys to those that have not yet met them..

I may now have the time to enjoy my boat and resume work on my Barnett gyro (among other projects). I will post here (probably more often than lately) to report on my gyro stuff.

As of the last year or more I have been behind in the business and never got to catch up during the "off season" My sincerest apologies to my customers that experienced longer than usual delays in their orders. I especially apologize to Gary Goldsberry who finally gave up on me. I sincerely hope Gary hasn't given up on our friendship.

I will keep you informed on the day to day progress of the transition and any down times of more than a day or two.

It has been my pleasure to work with the gyro community I so love. The duty to the Wunderlich product and love of my gyro friends kept me going far too long after my real retirement should have begun. I hope to fly my completed "Barney" at Bensen Days and Mentone for years to come.

Thomas "Tommy" Milton p.s. If you have not read it here yet, My DAR was renewed by the FAA last week.
 

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gyrojake

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Awesome Tommy !! Now you could find some time to ship the Mc hub bar !!!!!!
 

CLS447

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Adam & Nick.....thanks for helping continue the fine tradition that Tommy has kept alive !

Could you guys tell me more about the lightweight flexshaft that I will be needing soon ? Pics please. I need to get my measurement & decide on a type.

Thanks again Tommy !
 

scottessex

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Congrats to everyone involved, Thanks Tom for making the effort for the last decade, and Thank you Tom for not selling the business to "just anyone" where it will just go away, (think dragon wings) Thank you Adam and Nick!
 

Vance

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What fun!!! I wish you all the best on your next chapter.
 

GyroCFI

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Great knowing you all these years Tom and I really appreciate your contributions to the gyroplane world!
 

gyroplanes

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Thank you all, I couldn't be happier. I am still the head honcho for some time. (until we make the smooth transition) Business as usual with training and organizing along the way.
I just sent out seat tanks today, one to Denmark. I am heading to the shop to make more parts to keep the shelves stocked.
 

gyroplanes

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CLS447;n1134083 said:
Could you guys tell me more about the lightweight flexshaft that I will be needing soon ? Pics please. I need to get my measurement & decide on a type.

Thanks again Tommy !
A few years ago I found a new flex shaft housing that is much lighter and far more flexible. I have been testing the housing on several gyros that fly a lot. The housing is also used on a very popular gyro brand and they have had it as standard for several years. The new housing requires a different technique of assembly and we have that mastered. The new housing will probably become standard on Wunderlich prerotators soon.
 

Adam H

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Thanks for making that announcement, Tom and thanks for the confidence you've shown in Nick and I. We are both very excited about taking over the prerotator business and carrying on the Wunderlich legacy. We also have a few new product ideas that I think many members here will be very interested in. Stay tuned for more info on that, I'll be sure to post an announcement here when we are ready to do that!
 

dabkb2

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Thanks' Tom for all you have done. You have been a big part of the gyro community for a long time and helped us keep our gyros flying. It sounds like you have made a good choice, and CalumetAir is in good hands.
Now it's time to get building and have some fun.
 

Wop Genius

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Adam H;n1134138 said:
Thanks for making that announcement, Tom and thanks for the confidence you've shown in Nick and I. We are both very excited about taking over the prerotator business and carrying on the Wunderlich legacy. We also have a few new product ideas that I think many members here will be very interested in. Stay tuned for more info on that, I'll be sure to post an announcement here when we are ready to do that!

Thank you Adam, I second that notion. I don’t post much on the forum, but have been a member here, and passionate about gyros, for a long time. Adam and I are very excited to get this ball rolling, and have been working together on gyro projects for about 15 years. I have no doubt that this will be as successful as our previous collaborations.

Nick
 

All_In

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Thank you Tommy for all you do and have done for our community.
And thank you Adam & Nick for continuing.
 

eddie

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I have just received a new housing and flex shaft from Tom and the housing is smaller in Diameter than the RAF one,

it looks like it will improve the stick pressure for me as its also more flexible, its a nice slick looking housing.

I have been wanting to wind my RRPM up past 200 and a new housing with a larger radius is required as the stock

housing was really bent into a small radius because of the excessive length This new housing looks like the answer

to a couple of small problems.
 

Cresco750

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Hi Tom, I tried sending you a PM but I kept getting a message that your PM message quota is maxed out?
 

gyroplanes

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Cresco750;n1134519 said:
Hi Tom, I tried sending you a PM but I kept getting a message that your PM message quota is maxed out?
Sorry, I hardly get on the forum once a week these days. Even though I am selling the business, I am working harder than ever making parts and training (bad word) the new guys.
 

gyroplanes

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I promised to keep you all posted on the progress of the transition. Nick & Adam have a new home for Calumet***** (not positive what the new iteration will be called). The boys have anew office and shop location around 20 miles south west of Lansing. The business will have a new phone number and web site (both to be announced) I will still answer the current number and e-mail as I have no plans to change them. The transition is moving smoothly as we attempt to stock the shelves with new parts and assemblies (components). I am looking forward to flying my Barnett when finished and I plan to sail around Lake Michigan some day. I will be at Mentone and plan to attend Bensen Days. The KBFF has always been on my mind as well, I sure would like to trailer my gyro there for some desert flying.
 

gyroplanes

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Another progress report. Things are going well, very well. Orders keep coming in from around the world, and I keep filling them. Nick is machining more parts in quantities to keep the orders flowing during the move. I do not for see any halt in production during the move. I do occasional inspection work for club members. One of our members inquired about an electric start kit for his new MAC Bensen. I thought it would be a good time to document the installation. It turns out the gyro is none other than Dave Prater's Iron Rooster. You remember the gyro that consistently won the PRA convention Slow Flight Contest. Dave called me the other day and we ruminated about the old days. Dave said he misses the gyro world and will try to make it to Mentone this year.
 
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Gyro28866

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It is good to here the "Ole Rooster" is still crowing; I figured she got dismantled and sold off.
 

gyroplanes

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Gyro28866;n1135006 said:
It is good to here the "Ole Rooster" is still crowing; I figured she got dismantled and sold off.
If I get the MAC Starter system installed, I might bring the Prater gyro (with owner's permission) to show off the starter system.
 
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