First 100 hours in a gyro

loftus

Super Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2013
Messages
1,046
Location
Ponce Inlet, Florida
Aircraft
Aircam
Total Flight Time
700 hours
I just added up my log book on a whim and it came in at exactly 100 hours with 414 landings. It's taken longer than I would like, starting at Wauchula in Feb 2013 with a couple of rides from Dave Seace in the Dominator and then with Des Butts at Bensen Days 2013 in the MTO. Like most activities one enjoys in life, it's mostly about the great people I've met - so here's my people story.
I got the bug for gyros from diving and photography friend Jean Tresfon who flies a Magni M16 in Cape Town, South Africa. I encourage folks to take a look at his Facebook page, to see some magnificent aerial photography from his gyro of the spectacular Cape coastline. I researched gyros online and actually had a hard time initially finding a local place to learn to fly. Finally found Wauchula and Jim the airport manger put me in touch with Rick Martin who invited me out, and that's where the adventure began. First rides with Dave Seace, rides and training with the ever patient Des Butts - a little tedious getting it done between going back and forth between Houston and Florida for training. Ordered my MTO, and started the build at Des's place in Houston last December, then finished it at Wauchula. Then the tedious wait to get it registered and the DAR inspection done that took until May. In the meantime a great time at Bensen Days 2014 where I met Craig MacPherson and his assistant Pam Voller. Got some great experience in more 'seat of the pants' gyro flying from Craig, and Craig and Chris Lord signed me off to add a gyroplane rating to my PPL. Met lots of great people at Bensen Days including Vance Breeze who has been a great encouragement since we met. Got to know all the Morons a lot better as well, including Slo Joe, Bud et al. Chris and Farmer Jim. My story was a little more complicated because the FAA could not find my original medical exemption for my weak left eye, so I had to set up an additional sign off with Jay Tevis from the FAA which was planned to be done at Craig's place. Of course the day before I flew to Craig's place in Dallas, the FAA informed me they had found my original exemption and the sign of was not necessary. Anyway did one more day of fun flying with Craig at his farm south of Fort Worth, Texas.
But once again I was in a bit of a conundrum. I had not yet soloed in a gyro, and particularly in my own machine. My gyro 38KT is now certified sitting in Wauchula and I am legal and signed off with a gyro add on to my PPL, but no certified instructors around to be there when I finally take the plunge and solo.
So spent a few weekends just taxiing and wheel balancing, flying a little in my gyro with Dave Seace, and contemplating what to do next. Finally just decided to bite the bullet and with some of the best advice I've yet obtained in gyro flying from Slo Joe, to paraphrase because Slo Joe talks pretty slow as you know - 'Remember you don't have to land as long as you have enough gas. If it does not look right and feel right when you are coming in on your first solo landing, just go around. And if it does not look right the next time, just go around again, and so on.' So I think Slo Jo and Rick Martin were there on a day when the winds were calm and all looked good. I took off, flew a little west of the airport, did some turns and stuff then headed back. Remembering Slo Joes advice I did a couple of low runs along runway 36 and then one practice almost landing, and then settled her in on my first solo landing. Not perfect, not too bad. The world did not shake.
So it's been fun since then. A bitter sweet departure from Wauchula when I had flown off my forty hours to fly 38KT to her new home in Deland with hangar mate Larry Kurtzdorfer. Some tail vibration problems isolated to an out of balance prop and rectified with Gabor's help. Larry is a perfect hanger mate, a Vietnam veteran Huey flier, instructor and obsessive about detail. And then of course there is the one and only Gabor Kovacs. Gabor is one of those guys who will do absolutely anything for his friends, his detractors of course find him opinionated to say the least, but having shared a hangar now with him for 6 months, it's clear he knows his stuff. And Gabor is only the lesser part of the Kovacs couple, Gyorgi being the major force. So now about 50 hours of flying in Deland, with lots of great experience in a very busy traffic pattern (sometimes too busy), flying with Larry and Bernice in his beautiful Calidus, Gabor backseat a lot of the time, Gordon T always opening the hangar and flying some backseat as well. Flying New Smyrna Beach, St. Augustine, Merritt Island, Wauchula, Zephyrhills, Williston - each a little adventure in it's own right with their own little story. A flight to Sebring, sharing a room with Larry and Bernice, and the Rotax maintenance course. Then a bigger adventure to Scott Essex's Birthday bash in Georgia, Larry and I flew the 4.5 hour flight in 3 legs. Great weekend and again met some great people including Scott and Mary and others. A minor mishap to the gyro while parked necessitated leaving the gyro there, and getting a ride home with Gabor. Then had to return two weeks later to pick it up. Thanks to Hendrick Grobler for the loan of his trailer and Larry for insisting on doing the road trip with me. So now the gyro is flying great, very smooth, trims she flies hands off easily for 15-20 seconds or more with a half inch or so of stick shake. So for me the first hundred hours have been about great flying and learning. Learning to fly, practicing, and learning about my machine and gyros in general. But the first 100 hours has been as much about meeting great people and making new friends. In addition to those mentioned add Greg Spicola, Abid, Animal, Mad Muz (internet only), Gerald Keasler (Gyro Gerald). Thinks to all the folks on this forum who have helped, some more ornery than others - of course Birdy comes to mind. Looking forward to lots more fun at KDED with Gabor, Gyorgi, Larry, Bernice, Gordon and all the other visitors. Behemoth (II) is looking good for her maiden flight.
Looking forward to many more hours of hopefully safe flying, and many more adventures and new friends.
 
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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,570
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
A great adventure well told Jeffery.

A great adventure well told Jeffery.

It seems like some pictures would help to round out the story.

Thank you, Vance
 

GyrOZprey

Aussie in Kansas.
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
3,053
Location
Whitewater KS
Aircraft
Butterfly Aurora N5560Z / Titanium Explorer N456TE & N488TE/ - trained in MTOsport 446QT/488FB
Total Flight Time
845
Great story -thanks Jeff.

Great story -thanks Jeff.

Thank-you for your reviewing your gyro-journey for us! While we follow your adventures & move to new base @ Deland since meeting you @ BD's & knew some of your story ... it was great to read the whole sequence!

Looks like fj ...may be starting an exciting new chapter in his tortuous quest to fly again ... in gyro! Maybe soon we will be free to publicize the whole tale along with the phoenix of hope & renewed enthusiasm ... rising from the ashes of his first 4 years gyro-fiasco!

My gyro-journey has been well documented here! I'm 3.5 hours away from my 100 milestone solo/PIC as of today ... 178 total gyro time with about 980 landings! ( I have never flown any other type of aircraft!)

Thanks for sharing your gyro-experience potted history here ... i hope this is the start of another :cool: thread encouraging others to jump in & relate their gyro-history too!

Lots of lurking newbies / wannabes ... would enjoy this kind of upbeat positive thread!

:whip:Come - on everyone ... Christmas challenge GIFT to all of the readers here .... follow Jeff's lead & write out YOUR potted gyro-journey!!! :peace:

THANKS again Jeff for kicking off ... what could be a five-star thread ... IF it catches :flame:!
 

Monarchist

MTO Sport Owner
Joined
Apr 20, 2007
Messages
1,066
Location
Austin, TX
Aircraft
MTO Sport, R22/R44, Cirrus SR22-G3 Turbo, Bonanza B35-N (dead engine), Aurora Butterfly
Total Flight Time
800
I've written about it before, but I'll give the Cliff's Notes version here.

I took my first gyroplane flight with Dennis Fetters in 1990 at Sun-n-Fun. I never knew anything about them before then. I came home and told my brother Dusty all about the "flying motorcycle", and we were both smitten.

Dusty found an Air Command 532 low-rider in Maryland and bought it for $4k. He worked with Helicopter Ed and put on a Subaru. Flying out of Pineville WV, a narrow valley airport, he never actually flew circuits with it, but would crow-hop up and down the runway a LOT, eventually reaching altitudes of a few hundred feet, then land. :)

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I moved to Texas and sort of lost interest in gyros for a while, and started taking helicopter lessons. I got my rating in February 2003.

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It wasn't until the PRA convention at Waxahachie (2002?) that my interest in gyros started to regain steam. I had gone there to see the Helicycles and Rotorways, which were hovering and doing circuits. But it was the gyro guys who were ripping up the skies.

I starting looking at various designs but nothing really jumped out at me. Then one day I stumbled upon a YouTube video of Larry Neal doing stop-and-drop landings with the Monarch. THAT interested me...the ability to land vertically in an emergency was a great idea.

So eventually I sold my BMW 1200GS :)Cry:) and sent $5k to Larry for the first collection of parts, which I summarily sent to Dusty.

Long story short: chaos with work and family delayed the completion of the gyro for several years. Eventually, it was completed in 2012, but before I could even so much as taxi it I had to sell it to fund starting a new business.

aurora.jpg

In the process of helping Larry take pics and video of the Aurora in flight, I met Desmon and got to fly in his MTO. Wow, was I in love!! But thought that it would always be out of my price range.

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Well, my business started off really well and at the first opportunity I put in my order for a shiny new 914-powered MTO Sport. It finally arrived on July 26, It was finished 6 days later, and signed off by the DAR shortly thereafter. I started logging flight time on it mid-August.

Barely 4 months later I have 106 fun-filled hours, most of which are cross-country. I have felt the spray of waves crashing along the Texas coastline, I have seen Enchanted Rock from a perspective seen by almost no one, I have flown with friends at the Anahuac fly-in, I have chased deer in open pastures. In short, I have done things I never dreamed I'd be able to do with aviation.

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The best part is, I'm just getting started!!

LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

-John
 

GyrOZprey

Aussie in Kansas.
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
3,053
Location
Whitewater KS
Aircraft
Butterfly Aurora N5560Z / Titanium Explorer N456TE & N488TE/ - trained in MTOsport 446QT/488FB
Total Flight Time
845
AWESOME John....

AWESOME John....

OK .....THAT's what I'm talking about ... come on - one & all ... jump in & tell - YOUR gyro-journey ... hard to top John's ... with the GREAT pics also!

But what a GREAT Chrissy present to ourselves!

Let's make this thread ROCK!!!:yo:
 

loftus

Super Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2013
Messages
1,046
Location
Ponce Inlet, Florida
Aircraft
Aircam
Total Flight Time
700 hours
Some pics along the way

Some pics along the way

It seems like some pictures would help to round out the story.

Thank you, Vance
Here are a few pics along the way. I know I've posted flying pics and videos before. Starting with a pic of me after my first flight in Dave's Dominator. followed by Des's MTO during training with him in Florida. Bernice, Larry and Slow Joe up to some shenanigans in Wauchula. Gabor flying-back seat, more Morons in Wauchula, Gabor unsure of which way we had to go on our way to Merritt Island, and yesterdays gathering in Deland - the finger was for Greg Spicola who was supposed to show but did not. Finally, flying on my favorite route along the beach at New Smyrna Beach.
 

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MadMuz

Newbie
Joined
May 1, 2014
Messages
1,091
Location
Landsborough, Qld, Australia
Aircraft
Open Gyro, Grumman AA5, Cessna
Total Flight Time
350
Congratulations Lofty.... reaching 100 hours is a great milestone... it is when you learn how much there is still left to learn:twitch: (ie: you learn how little you know) but you have reached a skill set that allows you to learn more each flight and understanding in more depth what you are learning.... rather than just doing what you remember the instructor telling you to do....

Chris.... please stop mentioning fire :flame: and ashes and stuff.... FJ just cremated some toast (bigtime) and the smoke has nearly cleared from inside the house :rolleyes: At least he could easily reach the smoke detectors to shut them up :painkiller::usa2::lol:

Have a great, safe next hundred hours Lofty, and the hundred after that....and the hundred after that....:yo:

Oh, and for you :tape::censored: who that cant see that Gabor Kovaks is one of the finest quality human beings (that I have had the pleasure of knowing...unfortunately only electronically.... for now) and continue to not welcome him here for ridiculous reasons.... well, you are robbing this site of the knowledge, wit and charm of a great American.... Your loss!:rolleyes:
 
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