Doug is willing to do what it takes.

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,310
Location
Nipomo,California
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Givens Predator
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2400+ in rotorcraft
I often hear complaints from people about how far they have to travel for gyroplane flight instruction.

I am proud to be a part Doug’s Gyroplane Adventure.

As I remember it I gave Doug from Michigan a flight in a Cavalon to San Luis Obispo, CA and his wife a flight back to Santa Maria Public airport in 2015.

Apparently he enjoyed himself because in 2016 he purchased a second hand Sport Copter II.

Someone told him it would be quicker and cheaper to get a fixed wing private pilot rating and then add on a Private Pilot, Rotorcraft-Gyroplane Rating.

He did well on the knowledge test and busted airspace on the flying part of his fixed wing practical test. This is not unusual with the number I have heard thrown around being a 65% pass rate. I failed my Private Pilot Rotorcraft-Gyroplane Practical test. Doug did not retest.

For most getting private pilot certificate as a primary student (no other pilot certificate) is a long and challenging odyssey that most do not complete.

Doug got some local training but the instructors had full time jobs and so were not able to spend the time to get him up to speed.

Doug sent his Sport Copter II back to Scappoose for some upgrades.

Doug trained in Costa Rica in a very different gyroplane with Guido.

He went to Florida to take some gyroplane lessons from Greg and apparently they got along because Greg agreed to fly the Sport Copter II with Doug from Scappoose, Oregon to Zephyrhills, Florida to finish his training and then fly with Doug back to Ann Arbor, Michigan when he had finished up his training.

No, Doug is not retired and all of this had to be accomplished on a challenging schedule.

The first attempt at the cross country flight was stillborn because the aircraft needed some more work.

The second attempt in March of 2020 made it as far as Santa Maria, California (KSMX) where we discovered the Magnetos had been mistimed causing the IO-360 to overheat.

Coastal Valley Aviation got her timed correctly solving the overheating challenge but Doug and Greg had run out of time so they left the Sport Copter II in my hangar.

Covid 19 came along causing further delays and Greg and Doug returned to Santa Maria, CA May 25 for their flight to Florida

They spent several days training at KSMX and I spent some time giving Doug Flight Instruction in his aircraft as well. Greg and I have found that sometimes hearing a concept in words from a different instructor may get a point across.

They launched from SMX May 25th on a very challenging schedule and arrived at Tampa North, FL (X39) June 7 after lots of adventures and Doug continued his training with Greg and soloed June 11.

When they flew back up to Ann Arbor June 16 Greg was still not finished with Doug’s training.

Greg went up to Ann Arbor for another several days and felt Doug was almost ready to take the Practical test for Private Pilot, Rotorcraft-Gyroplane with Dayton who was going to fly up from Texas to administer the test.

Greg and Doug both felt I had had some success smoothing off some of Doug’s rough edges so we came up with a plan.

Doug would fly down to Mentone, Indiana for the Popular Rotorcraft Association Convention and Greg and I would work together to push Doug over the finish line imagining six hours of flight training over three days.

When we felt confident Greg would sign Doug off for the practical test.

I would not sign Doug off without seeing all the maneuvers performed to practical test standards and we all felt there was simply not enough time.

As I was on my way driving from Santa Maria, CA to Mentone, Indiana I got a call from Doug telling me that Greg would not be able to make it to Mentone.

In my most professional tone I explained in detail why it was simply not practical to try to get me to sign Doug off for his practical test in three days.

I softened somewhat and told Doug we could give it a try knowing that it meant I would need to cut my drive short and miss two air museums I like to visit on the way to the annual PRA Mentone convention.

Doug would fly down and meet me at the Fulton County Airport in Rochester, Indiana (KRCR) because the wind was over Doug’s solo cross wind component wind limit at Mentone. I told him it would be a lot of work and expensive and without hesitation he agreed.

If there is a theme here it is Doug will go to any lengths to accomplish his goal of becoming a Private Pilot, Rotorcraft/Gyroplane pilot.

The next day I learned a friend of mine had been killed in a helicopter accident and his funeral would be held Thursday 7/30 about three hours from Mentone taking out another half day.

People often ask me about changing instructors as I have flown with forty flight instructors. I learned something from each of them.

The challenge for me is when I sign the form for the Practical test I am certifying that I have seen Doug perform to practical test standards on everything in the practical test standards. I cannot just use the log book entrees. I take this responsibility seriously.

There is also often a push at the end to make certain all the required log book entries are in place.

In short we had to do 40 hours of work in two and a half days.

When I stopped in Cuba, MO 7/26 I asked Doug to send me his solo cross country flight plan that Greg had tentatively approved and I suggested some changes to bring it in line with the FAA guidelines. Greg approved it with Wednesday’s weather update.

Wednesday afternoon Doug arrived at KRCR and we made some instructional flights and arranged for a hangar at KRCR. We then flew to the convention so Doug would be able to fly into the convention when I was at my friend’s funeral. They discourage low time pilots from flying into the PRA convention with its short, narrow runway and busy convention flying.

On the way over we worked on Doug’s radio work and navigation skills.

When we returned to KRCR we found the doorway to the hangar was about an inch too short to clear the rotor head so we secured her on the transient flight line.

I was wearing two hats, flight instructor and examiner and it was challenging to know which one I was wearing at the time. As an examiner I am just watching to see if Doug performs to practical test standards and as a flight instructor I am trying to help him to perform to practical test standards. I cannot wear both hats because I need to know he can perform to standards without my help for the examiner.

Greg had taught Doug well so most of the time I had my examiner hat on.

Thursday we were up at six and flying before eight.

We worked on some maneuvering that Doug felt unsure of and found some ways to tune up his flying a little. I felt Doug was doing great and a second flight made me feel more confident still. We did a little work on his sight picture and the application of power entering a steep turn.

We worked on Doug’s radio communication and discovered a misunderstanding about airport procedures.

We worked on more aggressive application of power on takeoff to better manage Mentone’s 2,500 foot runway.

Doug continued to practice as I headed out at 2:00 for my friends funeral and I was glad I made it a priority. It is easy to underestimate the impact the loss of a loved one will have and I shared some tears with his widow. I was back in Rochester a little before midnight and my roommate, Paul had arrived up.

Friday was crunch day. I put on my examiner hat and during the preflight we discovered the paperwork on the aircraft was incomplete. We went out flying for a bit and then settled down in the pilot’s lounge to work on Doug’s log book, paperwork and knowledge.

I would have to do the same thing with any client I was signing off to take the practical test. It is just a little harder to check things on another flight instructor’s syllabus.

We still needed to go over Doug’s knowledge test and correct the incorrect answers. Fortunately there were only three questions he had missed.

I documented our ground instruction and made the appropriate log book entries.

The final two hours of our twelve hour day were spent dealing with the FAA’s somewhat difficult website.

In the morning I needed to sign off Doug’s solo cross country flight back to Ann Arbor and I was so tired I did not get the wording correct.

Doug flew back to Ann Arbor Saturday morning in weather that I would not recommend and I was depending on his aviation decision making to stay safe.

He called me when he arrived and then again when he found the missing paperwork.

Wednesday 8/12 Dayton had me clean up the solo cross country endorsement.

Thursday, 8/13 Doug called and told me he had passed and was now a Private Pilot, Rotorcraft-Gyroplane Pilot.

I talked to Dayton and he felt Doug was well prepared and promised to send me a detailed report.

What a grand finale for a five year aviation odyssey.

Doug’s daughter had given him a captain’s hat three years before that he had used more than once to remind him to stay focused on the goal and I love the picture of Dayton handing the hat to Doug making the dreams come true.

I had just as big a smile when I learned of Doug’s success.
 
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Resasi

Gold Supporter
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7,790
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London/ Kilifi Kenya
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100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
There certainly are a couple of additional lessons that a number of us have learned with the gyro experience. Patience and persistence.

I distinctly remember following your quest on the Rotary Forum some years ago Vance and they were up there is spades.

Not all our dreams pan out but some certainly do.
 

GyrOZprey

Aussie in Kansas.
Joined
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Whitewater KS
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What great story ....as you well know ....Jim & I can truly relate to this long drawn out process with absolute determination, perseverance & focused ambition it takes to become a certificated gyroplane pilot ...especially as in my case as a primary student .--- first rating goal of PPR-G!

However there is none better than YOUR story .....as a TBI survivor with ongoing challenges ...powering through your initial rating challenges and after clocking many hours ...went on to become a full CFI ...against all odds and many nay-sayers!

Your challenging gyro-pilot & CFI journey and empathy with others embarking on this long & often frustrating goal ...gives you some unique gifts that are under rated & appreciated in our community!

Thank you Vance for your inspiration and contributions to OUR community!(y)(y)(y)
 

JEFF TIPTON

Senior Member
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DICKSON, TN
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Vance; one question.

There was a question that the student required a a high performance endorsement as the Sport Copter is more than 200 horsepower.

Were we correct in that it was not required, as it only applies to airplanes?
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,310
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
I did not make the log book entry for inflight adjustable propeller and more than 200 horsepower and Dayton did not ask for it.

If Oklahoma City doesn’t kick it back I will assume we guessed correctly.
 

WaspAir

Supreme Allied Gyro CFI
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
4,757
Location
Colorado front range
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Bell 47G-3B-1 / A&S 18A / Phoebus C, etc.
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stopped caring at 1000
Vance; one question.

There was a question that the student required a a high performance endorsement as the Sport Copter is more than 200 horsepower.

Were we correct in that it was not required, as it only applies to airplanes?
There is no endorsement for complex, high performance, or taildragger gear for gyroplanes, as the requirements in 61.31(e), (f), and (i) are explicitly for airplanes. Likewise, if you find a multi-engine gyro or fly one on floats, no additional rating is needed as those classes are only in the airplane category. Helicopter pilots also need no additional endorsements or ratings for multi-engine, retractable, or amphibious. No type rating is required for a gyro, even with a tubojet engine, unless it exceeds 12,500 pounds.

If you could find a pressurized gyro capable of flying above 25,000 feet, you would need the 61.31(g) endorsement as it applies to "aircraft". Don't laugh too loudly at that idea. There is at least one pressurized glider that fits that bill, the Perlan project sailplane, which has recently been above 76,000 feet (surpassing the published service ceiling of the U-2 spy plane) while flying in mountain wave currents downwind of the Andes.

Night vision goggle operations require an endorsement under 61.31(k) for all aircraft, including gyros. That might actually be fun.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,310
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
There is no endorsement for complex, high performance, or taildragger gear for gyroplanes, as the requirements in 61.31(e), (f), and (i) are explicitly for airplanes. Likewise, if you find a multi-engine gyro or fly one on floats, no additional rating is needed as those classes are only in the airplane category. Helicopter pilots also need no additional endorsements or ratings for multi-engine, retractable, or amphibious. No type rating is required for a gyro, even with a tubojet engine, unless it exceeds 12,500 pounds.
That is how we interpreted it too J.R.

A CFI at the event was quite certain it was required.
 
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