Can't Shake the Bug!

rdt7

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Aug 1, 2019
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I am a fixed wing pilot who owns a Twin Cessna. I've got an ATP and 7,000 hours of small airplane fixed wing flight time (working against me with gyros, I know!). I flew with Barry a couple of years ago in Wadesboro, NC (picture attached - Hi Barry) and just took another ride at OSH this year in a Cavalon. I just can't shake the bug. I fell in love with Bensons as a kid and, man, have gyrocopters come a long way!

One of the things that appeals to me is that I might actually be able to build a gyro. I've always wanted to build my own airplane. In my twenties, I built the wings to a Steen Skybolt biplane but it took me two years and I realized I could either fly or build but not both. I chose to fly. The short building time for a gyro could eliminate that problem. And of course, flying low and slow in a gyro is awesome.

I've decide that the next step is to just get my gyroplane rating. Somewhere during that process I think it will become clear to me whether building and owning a gyro is right for me. I am looking for advice on instruction. I am not looking for "quick" or "cheap" but "good". Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated!
 

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ToddP

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Hi Bob,

Welcome t the forum. You've found the right place to keep the bug going. Lots of great information and people here to help you along.
 

Resasi

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Getting an instructor near you is a start. Contact the PRA for info.

Then start deciding if its a single seat or two seater you want.

Building your own and flying locally low slow and 'arial dirtbiking’ in a quick build, high quality kit, that is safe stable and agile I can personally recommend this kit. The GT-VX1 http://gyrotechnic.com

My son and I built the forerunner of this kit some years ago scratch from plans. He was a deputy sheriff and I was a retired pilot 16,000hrs+ so another less than satisfactory candidate, neither with any mechanical experience. We managed to build it and fly it and it was great fun. This was our initial ground testing and then first flight.

The GT-VX1 is a very refined upmarket kit version of that one but with precision parts, it would be a very easy and straightforward build, with all the parts there. With a folding mast it takes up very little space.

Be very careful, flying gyros is very addictive. It certainly was some of the most exciting flying I did in over 40 years as a pilot in various fields. Instruction, bush charter, oilfield support, airlines and executive.
 
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ultracruiser41

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Great news Bob!!!
Come on over anytime to keep that bug a buggin’ !!!!!!!!!!!

Barry
 

rdt7

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Aug 1, 2019
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Charlotte, NC
Update: Just returned from two days at GyroLife/Auto-Gyro at the Bay Bridge airport in MD. Had four great hour-long lessons with Bob Snyder in a Cavalon. He is a fantastic instructor. Knows his stuff but also has a rare quality... a sixth sense about where a student is and what he needs next.

First lesson was cruise flight which is pretty easy for a fixed wing pilot. Then we did "wheel balancing" in preparation for takeoffs, followed by "hops" ...liftoffs, level, and land. The last lesson was touch and goes. I have a long way to go but it was enough to convince me that I can learn to fly a gyro safely. There are some similarities to fixed wing flying but enough differences to make it challenging. And of course, it's a hell of a lot of fun! Heading back in a few weeks and hopefully will get my Sport Pilot gyroplane rating before year end. After that, who knows - those new Cavalons with the 140 HP 915 IS Rotaxes and a constant speed prop look nice!
 

All_In

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Way to make it happen, Bob.
You are going about in the right way.
 

Brian Jackson

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Update: Just returned from two days at GyroLife/Auto-Gyro at the Bay Bridge airport in MD. Had four great hour-long lessons with Bob Snyder in a Cavalon. He is a fantastic instructor. Knows his stuff but also has a rare quality... a sixth sense about where a student is and what he needs next.

First lesson was cruise flight which is pretty easy for a fixed wing pilot. Then we did "wheel balancing" in preparation for takeoffs, followed by "hops" ...liftoffs, level, and land. The last lesson was touch and goes. I have a long way to go but it was enough to convince me that I can learn to fly a gyro safely. There are some similarities to fixed wing flying but enough differences to make it challenging. And of course, it's a hell of a lot of fun! Heading back in a few weeks and hopefully will get my Sport Pilot gyroplane rating before year end. After that, who knows - those new Cavalons with the 140 HP 915 IS Rotaxes and a constant speed prop look nice!
Congrats! Love hearing reports on new training. And thank you for the insight into Mr. Snyder. You mentioned the training was in MD, which is about 3.5 hrs. from me, and I will be looking for an instructor. Do you know if he is a member of this forum by chance? Cheers.
 

Steve_UK

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I'm not a pilot but have been lucky enough to fly in Mi-24 Hind, Mi-2, Mi-17, Lynx HAS3, Gliders, GA
Brian some insight into Gyro Life on their Facebook pages - busy training pilots

 

rdt7

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Charlotte, NC
Just an update: I have not been back to Stevensville since my first group of lessons. They have had a series of issues with their aircraft and are just busy in general. I do want to continue my training there so I'm just waiting for an opening. I will post again after my next set of lessons.
 

rdt7

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Charlotte, NC
Update: spent Monday and Tuesday of this week back in Stevensville and got another 4 hours of instruction for a total of 8 so far. Things finally began to click for me. We mostly did takeoffs and landings with some low passes scattered in. Bob has me doing a "two stage" takeoff where we apply partial power first to do a wheel balance for a few seconds and then apply full power. What I like about his teaching is he pretty much let's me fly and doesn't talk too much which has allowed me to get comfortable with the sight pictures, and other cues. I did alarm him once when we landed in a stiff wind and the gyro started to back up on the runway after stopping. I applied the brake and he reacted strongly....I'll never do that again!

We have more practice to do on normal maneuvers and then, of course, emergency maneuvers. I'm thinking another 5 to 10 hours or so but I'm in no hurry. I'm just really enjoying the process. Who knows where it will lead.
 

ultracruiser41

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EXCELLENT PROGRESS !!
 

Resasi

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Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
Sounds as though it is going well. The main thing is that you are enjoying it, and that you are getting on with your Instructor, sometimes personalities clash which can get in the way of progress.

Do not worry unduely about slow progress. I got my intial PPL in three weeks when I was 17. The gyro PPL took two years. Weather, Instructor availability, despite attending nearly every weekend, and the number of students he had at the time, but the group was great, I learned simply from being around them, and, conscious that certain inbuilt flying reflexes from thousands of hours fixed wing were unhealthy in gyros.
 
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