Do people build anymore?

Brian Jackson

Platinum Member
Have folks quit building gyros in the last 10 years? I think in general, societally, we've moved away from being garage tinkerers. I don't know of any neighbors with even modest workshops anymore. I had an interesting phone discussion with a well respected member here a few months ago where this topic came up. The 'Builders Corner' on this forum used to be frequented and updated quite often. I post occasionally, as do 1 or 2 others, but activity there has diminished to a trickle. I'm wondering if other builders just don't post here anymore or if this is the trend as we move further into a culture of Facebook "life-hacks" rather than learning new skills.


Dave Bacon
I saw this as a problem when they came out with the eurotubs. Just go buy yourself a nice new shinny machine and not have to know how it works. It was taken the gyro culture in the wrong direction I think, but you cant stop progress. I am still building, but one of the few. My 2 cents.


Gold Supporter
I finished my fourth gyro around the end of September and am flying it now. I'm helping Jeff Halash build his Hornet in our hangar, and I stop by and talk to Curtis Scholl on his Bee from time to time. I used to post my builds on the Pile o' parts thread but switched to posting progress on my Facebook page for the last build.


Junior Member
I'm still waiting on a hardware set from StarBee. Whenever I get hold of Dana, he promptly disappears again. It takes years...

For my Gyrobee build I have:

NOS 503 SCSI engine (I just gave it new wrist pin bearings, gaskets etc.)
NOS 23' Skywheels rotor
Used rotor head
New Calumetair seat tank
New Warp Drive 3 blade 60" propeller
Almost all aluminum for the frame
Instruments - even a radio

But I can't get that hardware set nor anything else from StarBee....

I would rather buy parts i know will fit, but it seems impossible.



Brian Jackson

Platinum Member
Well this is encouraging :) Glad to know there is activity, and the infrequency of build threads on RWF isn't necessarily an accurate reflection of the state of affairs. Haven't Facebooked in many years so I'm bound to have missed a lot.

I do like the daring and romanticism of building a ship from skill and know-how, I think that may have been part of the attraction for me, poring over antique issues of Sport Aviation in my youth, and marveling at these wonderful creations given life by sheer determination. Though my build is entering year 3 of the allotted 18 months max., I have to step back from time to time and see the bigger picture. There's perhaps 2,000 photos documenting each step of construction though I've only posted a miniscule fraction here. Have gotten some very good guidance by Jake, Doug and others here as a result.

I would expect the proliferation of kits and certified AC to steal a large chunk of the scratch-builder population, and perhaps that partly explains why the Builder's Corner here on RWF has been relatively quiet. Though I am guilty of infrequent posting of progress photos (will do better from now on), I do miss the days when there were almost daily updates on people's builds. I will start by posting more of my own and maybe encouraging others to as well.


Gyroplane CFI
Most of the gyroplanes flying in the USA are amateur built.

Building from a kit is still no small task and lots of skills are learned.

I find the care and skill that goes into many of the builds an inspiration.

Most I see have significant builder additions.

There is perhaps less repetitive basic fabrication with a kit than scratch building.

I feel there is no less thought and energy to building a gyroplane from a kit compared to scratch built.

I have a lot of respect for anyone who builds and flies their own gyroplane scratch built or kit.


Sling-Wing Pilot
I still have a couple of projects in the works, an ultralight and a 2 place, Since I have finished the dominator. I have not been posting any build pics since my time has been so sporadic over the last couple of years, maybe as I get closer to finishing I will post a build thread, that way people can read it without having to wait 6 months for something new to happen. :)


Active Member
Scottie, I went to my first Oshkosh last year and was just blown away by the amount of building activity in the FW world. Granted many are from kits, but even then the kits required much more actual basic building skills then what is required to assemble most Eurogyro kits.


Comm Rotor Gyro, ASEL
Just curious: how many people willing to build a gyro “from scratch” have already built a car or motorcycle “from scratch”, especially one that’s street-legal (i.e. equivalent to an EAB aircraft)? I don’t mean RE-build - I mean the same level of metal work, etc as one would do for a gyro strictly from plans. I don’t see a lot of people making even off-road vehicles “from scratch” yet the number of people willing to do so for an aircraft, although still a small number, still surprises me. The cost of being wrong is a lot higher for the latter, it seems.

Personally, I love to tinker and I love to fly but I have a healthy respect for the risks of flying so I personally choose to satisfy the urge to tinker in any big way on things outside of aviation.

So I don’t mind the barbs tossed here about building one of the eurotubs. In fact, I’d contend that having done it in the factory surrounded by guys who build them every day gave me a level of understanding about the craft a solo plans-builder would have a hard time equaling. I asked a lot about design, maintenance, what else has been tried, failure modes, etc.

Regardless of how you get into a gyro, GET GOOD TRAINING before you fly alone!!!

Just me...



Sling-Wing Pilot
I used to build motorcycles, I have a couple custom One off chopped bikes. I have restored cars swapped engines all that stuff since way back in the 1980's.
Aircraft are a little bit different animal for sure. YES training is paramount, it is worth 10 times the cost when something goes wrong and you have been trained to deal with it.


Sling-Wing Pilot
I used to build motorcycles, I have a couple custom One off chopped bikes. I have restored cars swapped engines all that stuff since way back in the 1980's.
Aircraft are a little bit different animal for sure. YES training is paramount, it is worth 10 times the cost when something goes wrong and you have been trained to deal with it.


Loose Unit
I'm building a single seat EA81 powered gyro. It should be on its wheels next week. Tinkering is half the fun. Plenty of locals here that build vehicles, mainly hot cars and jet boats.

Doug Riley

Platinum Member
My Bensen was the first object I built out of metal. Before that, I banged together shacks and treehouses out of scrap lumber and raw logs. I skipped the motorcycle thing and only gradually learned about car mechanicking.

The post-WWII culture of "Dad smoking his pipe while tinkering in his hobby hut" has definitely gone the way of tailfins on cars. Heathkit is gone, Radio Shack is gone.

You could write an interesting pop-sociology book about why - - the evaporation of good-paying blue-collar jobs, the passing of the hard-scrabble Great Depression ethic, the scarcity of people who grew up on farms, digital distractions, instant delivery from Amazon, 9/11 and the rise of unfocused fear, blah, blah. Great stuff for a late-night dorm room bull session.

The FAA's amateur-built regs, a relic of that bygone era, have become a loophole through which uncertified, but factory-finished, aircraft can be sold as "kits." They're really complete aircraft, knocked down for shipping and reassembled by the user. As long ago as the original Air Command, you could put one together in paint-by-number fashion over a weekend, popping precut and pre-painted parts off a series of large blister cards and bolting them on.

A person who completes one of these "kits" has a better understanding of his aircraft than someone who just writes a check and turns the key. In fact, you can argue that drilling the holes in the tubing yourself doesn't add much to the education you get with an assembly-only "kit." Still, it's not quite as immersive as Paul Poberezny sawing and welding salvaged 4130 into an original-design tube-and-rag biplane. That was the sort of project that the amateur-built regs were aimed at.

There will always be some scratch-builders (some for the personal rewards and others to save a buck), but it's far more of a quaint curiosity than it once was.


Junior Member
I am finishing a Tandem, inspired by a dominator tandem,

It is impossible to register a kit in france if the kit maker did not officially publish a kit resistance file before french flying adminsitration, otherwise I would have bougth a kit from ernie..

as i defintely wanted a high profile dominator like gyro, I had to do it myself ..

all is finished except the fairing ( don't know if it is the rigth word), apart from this every parts are finished and I need to find a week alone in the garage to assemble the upper parts (upper parts of the mast and rotor head and the control parts) ... but as I have an other gyro I spend only one week end out of two in the garage

it is constructed using aluminium round tubes ( like the famous deluc gyros, well famous in france), nothing is welded, I have machined everything myself exept the all the plates that I had watter cutted in cnc ( very cheap) you just have to rectify a couple of things that need to be accurate on those plates

the engine is a 912 uls ftted with a pagotto turbo kit ( only 6300 euros) it gives you 120 hp and it is certified in germany ( I don't mind but is is encouraging)
I am only mentionning my home buit becaus of this topic otherwinse I would not have

the rotors are an averso rotor, the rotor head is also an averso one built in montelimar ( france ) my planet Gyro, I already use the 2 on my gyo, it is zéro vibes, as a fixed wing aicraft

people need to know that it is still possible, and more then this that it has never beeen as easy as today ( with free CAD programs and cheap chineses lathes ans millings) to built a gyro
just a few photos, again not to show off,

there is absolutely nothing fantastic in this construction I only hope it will fly correctly coz like Chuck Beaty says, anyone can't make anything fly using a bensen type rotor

I am not an engineer

the next batch of pictures will be the flying bird ( I hope at least) in a couple of months [IMG2=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","src":"https:\/\/\/u\/f32\/18\/97\/98\/06\/img_5740.jpg"}[/IMG2]


Gyroplane CFI
She looks beautiful jm-urbani!

I see lots of nicely executed details.

Thank you for sharing the fun.

I am sure you know this and am only mentioning it for others.

The Dragon Wings are very light and heavier blades will need changes in the layout to achieve an acceptable thrust line to center of gravity relationship.


Junior Member
Hi Vance,

you are rigth to remind me and all that the rotor weigth has to be taken in account as for the vertical position of the center of mass,

I use to think ( long time ago) that as the rotors are flying they had no weigth which is not the case, jean claude could explain all of this

Thx for you compliments , but let's wait and see how she will fly

it is not a dominator copy, the dom has only been a source of inspiration along with the principle "taught" by Chuck Beaty, Jean Fourcade,

nothing compares to a real dom in my opinion,

of course I have taken in account every element weigth an location in order to locate the center of mass sligthy under the prop center of revolution
the averso rotors are 38 kg heavy and the head weigths 7 kilos,