FAA drop test and Auto-Gyro GmbH

drjoe

drjoe
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
31
Location
bardstown ky
Aircraft
AUTOGYRO MTO SPORT 2017, SPARROW HAWK, BEECH BONANZA V 35B
Total Flight Time
2400
Good afternoon, I am not a fan of rumor or gossip ... hence my inquiry here is to squelch one -if it is false...
Is there anything to this hanger talk?
Due post impact fires, FAA recently requested a drop test of Auto-Gyro GmbH CERTIFICATED aircraft. AG completed the testing at considerable $ expense.
The tested AG aircraft- failed the test.
The FAA is considering an airworthiness directive.
thank you. Dr. Joe
 
Well there are several deficiencies in their designs they should really consider changing them. An experienced engineer who has a background in gyros may help. That is if they are willing to listen. It’s been my experience a company or individual whom has been successful is not open to criticism much less willing to change the design they believe to be superior even if it is proven to have major faults.
 
Why did FAA ask them to do the drop test again? I am sure drop test was done before the TC was issued the first time. So what was this drop test and why again? It must have been different than before. Maybe FAA figured that calculation of dead drop height were not up to snuff the first time but then that is shame on the FAA ACO for going with that the first time. Or is it a drop test for a new requirement for rotorcraft like post crash fires in helicopters and focused on fuel tanks security rather than landing loads and undercarriage.
 
My comments regarding AG failing a drop test and an impending airworthiness directive for certificated AG Aircraft are based solely on Hanger talk.

You all are an informed intelligent bunch of folks.That is why I brought it to the forum for confirmation or to squelch this rumor. No chicken little from me.

Number next -
The talk is that it is not the undercarriage, but a problem with fuel tank security.

Number next -More hanger rumor-
Newly arrived AG certificated aircraft are not receiving airworthiness certificates until FAA goes through its standard process based on these new findings .

Hope springs eternal.
Beyond what I’ve placed here- ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
My comments regarding AG failing a drop test and an impending airworthiness directive for certificated AG Aircraft are based solely on Hanger talk.

You all are an informed intelligent bunch of folks.That is why I brought it to the forum for confirmation or to squelch this rumor. No chicken little from me.

Number next -
The talk is that it is not the undercarriage, but a problem with fuel tank security.

Number next -More hanger rumor-
Newly arrived AG certificated aircraft are not receiving airworthiness certificates until FAA goes through its standard process based on these new findings .

Hope springs eternal.
Beyond what I’ve placed here- ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Yeah it is the fuel tank security for helicopters and helis catching fire on crashes that are requiring this then. FAA is applying the same thinking to these gyroplanes as they do to the helicopters. Not technically proper but that is what AG signed up for. Their gyroplanes more appropriately belong in LSA with MOSAIC NPRM.
Have there been consistent post crash fires in accidents with AG gyroplanes? I think more of Magni when I think post crash fires than I do AG if I am being honest.
 
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I heard this same rumor in the hanger today and met a new gyroplane owner (nice new yellow Calidus) that had his air worthiness application cancelled by the FAA recently until this gets resolved.

My very limited understanding of Autogyro certification in the US is that the FAA process (Title 14 Chapter I Subchapter C Part 27 ) was never followed directly. Rather, AGs rotorcraft are certified through a bi-lateral agreement between the US and the UK where if a type is certified in the UK, the US will accept that certification. Anecdotally, that is why I believe we sometimes see RotorSport UK as the manufacturer name in FAA databases, but I could be way off here since manufacturer names for the Cavalon in the FAA registry are all over the place.

Does anyone know if that is true or not? Or know how best to find out how Autogyro got type certification here?
 
I heard this same rumor in the hanger today and met a new gyroplane owner (nice new yellow Calidus) that had his air worthiness application cancelled by the FAA recently until this gets resolved.

My very limited understanding of Autogyro certification in the US is that the FAA process (Title 14 Chapter I Subchapter C Part 27 ) was never followed directly. Rather, AGs rotorcraft are certified through a bi-lateral agreement between the US and the UK where if a type is certified in the UK, the US will accept that certification. Anecdotally, that is why I believe we sometimes see RotorSport UK as the manufacturer name in FAA databases, but I could be way off here since manufacturer names for the Cavalon in the FAA registry are all over the place.

Does anyone know if that is true or not? Or know how best to find out how Autogyro got type certification here?

AG certification basis is not Part 27. It is not a regular type certificate. They used Restricted Type Certificate (Primary Category) where the basis is suggested by the manufacturer. FAA puts it out for comment and if there are no objections, the manufacturer suggested basis is accepted. They used BCAR Sec T as the basis. FAA accepted it with a small change. But in addition FAA very surprisingly allowed them to just submit paperwork of testing done based on UK engineers for RotorSport and they did not have to repeat the calculation with a DER (Designated Engineering Representative) for the FAA. That is a giveaway from FAA and I am not sure why they were so lenient with that in this case. With Primary Category restricted TC you can basically use it for training and rental if maintained properly by an A&P but other than that no commercial operations are allowed. I know some in the AG family try to say differently but the fact is you cannot do any other commercial activity with that cert and that is why only 2 or 3 companies had used it (QuickSilver GT500 and Rans) and decided to not continue to do that after SLSA came out because there was no point unless you were using it for 4 seat aircraft models.
But recently FAA is asking all helicopter manufacturers to show that their fuel tanks do not burst or catch fire if dropped from a certain height. I guess they have asked AG to also comply with that and they are failing. In fact I do not think without a pretty substantial change they have much of a chance of passing it as far as I know what is being asked but AG could provide more accurate info to their customers stuck in limbo right now.
 
AG certification basis is not Part 27. It is not a regular type certificate. They used Restricted Type Certificate (Primary Category) where the basis is suggested by the manufacturer. FAA puts it out for comment and if there are no objections, the manufacturer suggested basis is accepted. They used BCAR Sec T as the basis. FAA accepted it with a small change. But in addition FAA very surprisingly allowed them to just submit paperwork of testing done based on UK engineers for RotorSport and they did not have to repeat the calculation with a DER (Designated Engineering Representative) for the FAA. That is a giveaway from FAA and I am not sure why they were so lenient with that in this case. With Primary Category restricted TC you can basically use it for training and rental if maintained properly by an A&P but other than that no commercial operations are allowed. I know some in the AG family try to say differently but the fact is you cannot do any other commercial activity with that cert and that is why only 2 or 3 companies had used it (QuickSilver GT500 and Rans) and decided to not continue to do that after SLSA came out because there was no point unless you were using it for 4 seat aircraft models.
But recently FAA is asking all helicopter manufacturers to show that their fuel tanks do not burst or catch fire if dropped from a certain height. I guess they have asked AG to also comply with that and they are failing. In fact I do not think without a pretty substantial change they have much of a chance of passing it as far as I know what is being asked but AG could provide more accurate info to their customers stuck in limbo right now.
Thank you. I will chat with AG.
 
Thank you. I will chat with AG.
I think only Cavalon Pro is VTC (Verification of Type Certificate) from the UK since UK is on the BASA list (Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement). Everything else is Restricted Primary Category TC here basically using BCAR Sec T as the certification basis. We all know they complied with BCAR Sec T before in UK via RotorSport which is the Manufacturer of Record in the UK system (not AG Gmbh) and that is why all Primary Category certified models in the US show RotorSport UK as the manufacturer and not the German company. The German entity is considered an approved assembly supplier and RotorSport UK considered Manufactuerer/Integrator of Record.. No surprise there.
 
BCAR Sec T, under 'General T561' says the fuel system needs to withstand an upward or downward load factor of 4.5 (if I'm reading that table correctly). Curious what load is experienced in the drop test.
 
BCAR Sec T, under 'General T561' says the fuel system needs to withstand an upward or downward load factor of 4.5 (if I'm reading that table correctly). Curious what load is experienced in the drop test.

Almost any fuel tank secured a little will pass BCAR Sec T honestly. These load factors are not a big deal. In a forward crash, in ASTM standard for airplanes they require fuel tank and engines to hold 12 G acceleration for example without coming off or apart. I do not think FAA is asking for a specific load factor. They are asking for a drop test from a certain height. The load factor experienced by the fuel tank will be based a lot on the undercarriage and other mounting mechanisms used. Better undercarriage and mounting will reduce the load factor experienced by the fuel tanks.
 
Almost any fuel tank secured a little will pass BCAR Sec T honestly. These load factors are not a big deal. In a forward crash, in ASTM standard for airplanes they require fuel tank and engines to hold 12 G acceleration for example without coming off or apart. I do not think FAA is asking for a specific load factor. They are asking for a drop test from a certain height. The load factor experienced by the fuel tank will be based a lot on the undercarriage and other mounting mechanisms used. Better undercarriage and mounting will reduce the load factor experienced by the fuel tanks.
Thanks! Yes, I was just curious how the FAA drop test translates to load factor/G forces in this instance. What's the general wisdom here? Is this a reasonable FAA request or will logical appeal sway the FAA to change the requirement of AG?
 
Thanks! Yes, I was just curious how the FAA drop test translates to load factor/G forces in this instance. What's the general wisdom here? Is this a reasonable FAA request or will logical appeal sway the FAA to change the requirement of AG?
It is a reasonable request of FAA for helicopters. They burn up left and right. From what I have seen so far so does Magni. But I have not seen AutoGyro or AR-1 have a tendency to burn up almost 70% of the time in crashes so ...
 
I just got the call from the seller about this regarding my Calidus. AG is trying to appeal the ruling from what I understand. The next determination is at the end of the month. I've decided to opt for a kit build now, which I'm looking forward to. If I get anymore info, I'll pass it along.
 
I am a customer waiting on a type certified MTOSport. The Company has been up front with us and has kept us updated every two weeks by Zoom with attendance by AG GMBH Co-CEO. Here is what we are being told:
- FAA previously took the position that Helicopter Fuel Crash law did not apply to gyroplanes. 16 primary type certificates were issued between 2020, when law went into effect, and Dec. 2022.
- In Jan. 2023, the FAA denied the 17th application, on the basis that compliance with the helicopter crash drop test was not shown. Company did not have any warning that this would happen.
- We have been shown the drop tests - Company has shown all customers who wish to see it. 50 feet drop from specified angles is required. This generates G forces in excess of 20Gs on fuel tank. AG can easily comply with the UK 4.5g standard but no current gyroplane could pass the 50ft US FAA standard for helicopters.
- Initial drop tests of the tanks themselves were positive. However, later drop tests with the aircraft in flight configuration, with fuel tank loaded and engine installed, have failed in obvious fashion. Because of engine positioning, engine falls through the tank and causes fuel to expel even with pressure relief device installed. Any current modern gyroplane required to fall from 50 feet would meet the same fate, but those are not type certificated so compliance is not required for them.
- Compliance not currently possible without a redesign which could take months or years. AG has been up front with us about this.
- Company is undergoing a type certificate appeal, arguing that the law should not apply to gyroplanes as post-crash fires in gyroplanes are not a significant problem like helicopters, which crash differently. Results of appeal should be available soon.
- Company is working with customers on options for resolution of individual orders should type certificate appeal fail. FAA has indicated it will approve experimental exhibition certificates where customers are willing to take those as a solution. I am currently negotiating with the Company on my options. If things go right and I am satisfied I will let you know. If I am not satisfied I will also let you know.
 
I am a customer waiting on a type certified MTOSport. The Company has been up front with us and has kept us updated every two weeks by Zoom with attendance by AG GMBH Co-CEO. Here is what we are being told:
- FAA previously took the position that Helicopter Fuel Crash law did not apply to gyroplanes. 16 primary type certificates were issued between 2020, when law went into effect, and Dec. 2022.
- In Jan. 2023, the FAA denied the 17th application, on the basis that compliance with the helicopter crash drop test was not shown. Company did not have any warning that this would happen.
- We have been shown the drop tests - Company has shown all customers who wish to see it. 50 feet drop from specified angles is required. This generates G forces in excess of 20Gs on fuel tank. AG can easily comply with the UK 4.5g standard but no current gyroplane could pass the 50ft US FAA standard for helicopters.
- Initial drop tests of the tanks themselves were positive. However, later drop tests with the aircraft in flight configuration, with fuel tank loaded and engine installed, have failed in obvious fashion. Because of engine positioning, engine falls through the tank and causes fuel to expel even with pressure relief device installed. Any current modern gyroplane required to fall from 50 feet would meet the same fate, but those are not type certificated so compliance is not required for them.
- Compliance not currently possible without a redesign which could take months or years. AG has been up front with us about this.
- Company is undergoing a type certificate appeal, arguing that the law should not apply to gyroplanes as post-crash fires in gyroplanes are not a significant problem like helicopters, which crash differently. Results of appeal should be available soon.
- Company is working with customers on options for resolution of individual orders should type certificate appeal fail. FAA has indicated it will approve experimental exhibition certificates where customers are willing to take those as a solution. I am currently negotiating with the Company on my options. If things go right and I am satisfied I will let you know. If I am not satisfied I will also let you know.

The requirement is not concerned with what happens to the engine or mast or rotor or undercarriage. Those have different requirements. They are looking for fuel tanks to not leak fuel and catch fire. So the test is not about the gyroplane but just the fuel tank drop test unless the design incorporates protrusions that in a crash could come into the fuel tank. (See the actual requirements quoted below):
I do not understand the positioning of the engine reference you made. Is the engine breaking and falling into the fuel tank?
The issue with the appeal may become that if FAA actually researches gyroplane crashes world wide in the last 5 years, they will find quite a few examples of Magni gyroplanes catching fire after a crash. In one instance in France a year or so ago I think, the pilot and passenger were even alive, trying to get out of the gyroplane and died due to the fire their Magni caught. Just on this forum if you can search for accidents you will find them. Magni is not AG but if the argument is made for gyroplanes in general someone at FAA may bring that up. Perhaps they should present fleet accidents around the world in AG and the incidents of fires and their percentage as an acceptable alternative means.

"
Unless other means acceptable to the Administrator are employed to minimize the hazard of fuel fires to occupants following an otherwise survivable impact (crash landing), the fuel systems must incorporate the design features of this section. These systems must be shown to be capable of sustaining the static and dynamic deceleration loads of this section, considered as ultimate loads acting alone, measured at the system component's center of gravity, without structural damage to system components, fuel tanks, or their attachments that would leak fuel to an ignition source.


(a) Drop test requirements. Each tank, or the most critical tank, must be drop-tested as follows:

(1) The drop height must be at least 50 feet.
(2) The drop impact surface must be nondeforming.
(3) The tank must be filled with water to 80 percent of the normal, full capacity.
(4) The tank must be enclosed in a surrounding structure representative of the installation unless it can be established that the surrounding structure is free of projections or other design features likely to contribute to rupture of the tank.
(5) The tank must drop freely and impact in a horizontal position ±10°.
(6) After the drop test, there must be no leakage.


(b) Fuel tank load factors. Except for fuel tanks located so that tank rupture with fuel release to either significant ignition sources, such as engines, heaters, and auxiliary power units, or occupants is extremely remote, each fuel tank must be designed and installed to retain its contents under the following ultimate inertial load factors, acting alone.

(1) For fuel tanks in the cabin:

(i) Upward - 4g.
(ii) Forward - 16g.
(iii) Sideward - 8g.
(iv) Downward - 20g.
(2) For fuel tanks located above or behind the crew or passenger compartment that, if loosened, could injure an occupant in an emergency landing:

(i) Upward - 1.5g.
(ii) Forward - 8g.
(iii) Sideward - 2g.
(iv) Downward - 4g.
(3) For fuel tanks in other areas:

(i) Upward - 1.5g.
(ii) Forward - 4g.
(iii) Sideward - 2g.
(iv) Downward - 4g."
 
The requirement is not concerned with what happens to the engine or mast or rotor or undercarriage. Those have different requirements. They are looking for fuel tanks to not leak fuel and catch fire. So the test is not about the gyroplane but just the fuel tank drop test unless the design incorporates protrusions that in a crash could come into the fuel tank. (See the actual requirements quoted below):
I do not understand the positioning of the engine reference you made. Is the engine breaking and falling into the fuel tank?
The issue with the appeal may become that if FAA actually researches gyroplane crashes world wide in the last 5 years, they will find quite a few examples of Magni gyroplanes catching fire after a crash. In one instance in France a year or so ago I think, the pilot and passenger were even alive, trying to get out of the gyroplane and died due to the fire their Magni caught. Just on this forum if you can search for accidents you will find them. Magni is not AG but if the argument is made for gyroplanes in general someone at FAA may bring that up. Perhaps they should present fleet accidents around the world in AG and the incidents of fires and their percentage as an acceptable alternative means.

"
Unless other means acceptable to the Administrator are employed to minimize the hazard of fuel fires to occupants following an otherwise survivable impact (crash landing), the fuel systems must incorporate the design features of this section. These systems must be shown to be capable of sustaining the static and dynamic deceleration loads of this section, considered as ultimate loads acting alone, measured at the system component's center of gravity, without structural damage to system components, fuel tanks, or their attachments that would leak fuel to an ignition source.


(a) Drop test requirements. Each tank, or the most critical tank, must be drop-tested as follows:

(1) The drop height must be at least 50 feet.
(2) The drop impact surface must be nondeforming.
(3) The tank must be filled with water to 80 percent of the normal, full capacity.
(4) The tank must be enclosed in a surrounding structure representative of the installation unless it can be established that the surrounding structure is free of projections or other design features likely to contribute to rupture of the tank.
(5) The tank must drop freely and impact in a horizontal position ±10°.
(6) After the drop test, there must be no leakage.


(b) Fuel tank load factors. Except for fuel tanks located so that tank rupture with fuel release to either significant ignition sources, such as engines, heaters, and auxiliary power units, or occupants is extremely remote, each fuel tank must be designed and installed to retain its contents under the following ultimate inertial load factors, acting alone.

(1) For fuel tanks in the cabin:

(i) Upward - 4g.
(ii) Forward - 16g.
(iii) Sideward - 8g.
(iv) Downward - 20g.
(2) For fuel tanks located above or behind the crew or passenger compartment that, if loosened, could injure an occupant in an emergency landing:

(i) Upward - 1.5g.
(ii) Forward - 8g.
(iii) Sideward - 2g.
(iv) Downward - 4g.
(3) For fuel tanks in other areas:

(i) Upward - 1.5g.
(ii) Forward - 4g.
(iii) Sideward - 2g.
(iv) Downward - 4g."
I’m afraid the appeal will likely have nothing to do with technical details but rather about statutory text. Hopefully I’m wrong. I may have details wrong about the test - just relaying the bits I thought I heard. MOSAIC can’t come fast enough - but with an administrator who does not know what ADS-B is, who can tell when that will happen.
 
I’m afraid the appeal will likely have nothing to do with technical details but rather about statutory text. Hopefully I’m wrong. I may have details wrong about the test - just relaying the bits I thought I heard. MOSAIC can’t come fast enough - but with an administrator who does not know what ADS-B is, who can tell when that will happen.
On the plus side, he can recognize and airplane when he sees one and has ridden on them. So there's that... LOL
 
I’m afraid the appeal will likely have nothing to do with technical details but rather about statutory text. Hopefully I’m wrong. I may have details wrong about the test - just relaying the bits I thought I heard. MOSAIC can’t come fast enough - but with an administrator who does not know what ADS-B is, who can tell when that will happen.

FAA's delays in reference to gyroplanes and in execution of MOSAIC is truly a work of art in itself despite a mandate from the Congress. Because they do not know enough about gyroplanes, they think is a reason to halt a whole market segment. Hopefully this will change soon.
 
I’m afraid the appeal will likely have nothing to do with technical details but rather about statutory text. Hopefully I’m wrong. I may have details wrong about the test - just relaying the bits I thought I heard. MOSAIC can’t come fast enough - but with an administrator who does not know what ADS-B is, who can tell when that will happen.
So we learned today that the FAA granted the appeal and has reissued the type certificates! It determined that the helicopter crash fuel safety statute only applies to helicopters and not to gyroplanes.
 
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