Gyro checklist Safety and runways

Bob Simmons

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2004
Messages
318
Location
Sulphur, La.
Aircraft
582 air command elite/ upgraded
Total Flight Time
60 hours in gyro's
Well guys…….about 4 months ago a friend ask me if I would fly my gyro at his ranch for a family reunion. He had ask me on several occasions to bring my gyro over and work a gathering with a little air show. I always told him I didn’t have time. It finally happened where I had some time to spend a day for him and brought my gyro over to his ranch and flew it for the crowd. They all thought I was some kind of nuts for flying what they considered to be a flying lawn chair. I was a celebrity that morning and I noticed people looking and staring and trying to figure me out…..it was fun to be cool.
My friend came to me later that day and ask if I would fly again. I checked my wind sock and there was a slight quartering breeze. I checked out my gyro and everything looked good. The temperature was around 92 degree’s and I was way above sea level because we were in a high. I cranked up my machine started up my pre-rotor as fast as I could get it. I slowly started rolling to capture the wind in my blades and increased my speed to get the maximum rpm and lift. The runway was a cut and leveled pasture for horses that had a few bumps and humps in it. I had to abort half way down the field because I wasn’t getting the lift I needed to safely come off the ground and safely climb to the elevation I needed to safely fly over a wire fence and electrical lines going to a house.
I had enough rotor speed to be able to pull back and slow down with out using my brakes. I turned around and taxied further back down the field to have a longer runway. The wind had died down.
I checked my brakes and my machine while sitting in my gyro. I feel this was one of the mistake’s that I made. The other was air density altitude and a short runway. It had gotten hotter and there was no head wind to give me the extra lift.
The bumps in the field could have been helpful in causing me to loose my hydraulic brakes. I should of got out of my gyro and looked harder at everything. I forgot about the shock a gyro takes during take off when using a field as a runway. I kicked in my pre-rotor again and took off down the runway. I got half way down the field and decided to abort again. I pulled back on my stick and it barely slowed me down. I had never captured enough wind to speed up my rotor blades. I stepped on my brakes and it was mush. I had choices to make and I chose the middle of the fence instead of trying to turn off or away from it. I don’t know if I would of tumbled over sideways or not. To me….that would have been worse than the fence.
Needless to say……..I crashed my gyro and I was very lucky not to get to banged up. I gathered up my broken gyro and went home feeling pissed and thankful that God that He allowed me to walk away from this. Dear Brothers and future gyro pilots.
I have finally found my adult mind to tell this to my friends. I have been carrying this shame and guilt around for to long and I have learned a valuable lesson . I hope by reading this little story that someone out there will remember all the important things I brought up when figuring out what happened and why it happened.
My good friends and mentors, Gyromike and Mike M. from Abbeville came over and looked at my broken gyro and gave me some motivation to get it flying again. I took it over to AIR COMMAND INTERNATIONAL in Caddo mills Texas and the Doug and John worked out a deal for me to get it airworthy. It may take a month, but its worth the wait. I do miss my gyro and the fly-ins and I will be back in action with a hard lesson learned and a story to tell about check list safety on your gyrocopter.
Sorry for taking so long to tell my story……. Bob
 
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GyroDoug

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Sep 23, 2005
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Layton, UT.
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Butterfly Super Sky Cycle
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Bob,

I'm curious to know what kind of fence you hit and what kind of damage it did to your machine. I am surprised that it didn't do something to you. How about some more details.

Gyro Doug
 

Dmorris

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802
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Somerset Kentucky
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I currently own an IFR Carbon Cub FX3. This is my 3rd Carbon Cub. Owned a Xenon, 2 TAF 2000's.
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Thousands and adding every week!
Bob,

I admire you for sharing your story.
 

Joe Pires

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Jan 16, 2006
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Geneva FL FD92
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Aviomania GS2.
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600 ish solo gyro and 190 ish two place
Oh crap Bob. Glad your ok and you still have the desire.
 

Timchick

Tim Chick
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Sep 15, 2004
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Panama City, Florida
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Sport Copter Vortex, 582 Greyhead
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Bob,
There's nothing to be ashamed of. The important thing is you're OK and you'll be back in the air. Sorry we won't see you at Bensen Days.
 

SgurlEd

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Mar 10, 2008
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Nipomo
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Mark Given Creation Called "The Predator"
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Ask Vance's log book
Bob,
It takes alot man to tell a story like that and share it with everyone. Think about all the people you are helping to not make that mistake. Nothing worse than being Cocky and think that nothing could ever happen to you. You get high marks from me. Espeshally to get back up on that horse and ride er' again...Good for you!
SgurlEd
 

NoWingsAttached

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Columbia, SC
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>350
I hate when that happens. My broken AC is still in my garage...you're not the only one who makes mistakes.
 

animal

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Deleon Springs Florida.
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Hillman Hornet N8063D
Bob sorry to hear about your Gyro, glad you are ok. any idea what took out the brakes? was it a line? hope you get flying again soon.
 

Peanut

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Joined
Oct 31, 2003
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92
Location
Louisiana
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Dominator 582
Bob,

No need to feel ashamed! We all love ya, no matter what. Glad you're OK and hope to see you at a fly-in soon.

:usa2:
 

dragonflyerthom

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May 24, 2006
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Arkadelphia, AR
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RAF 2000 GTX SE
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183FW 132Gyro
Bob

Glad your O.K. Hope to see ya at another flyin. I really enjoyed our talk last time. BTW I have missed your posts.
 

Bob Simmons

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2004
Messages
318
Location
Sulphur, La.
Aircraft
582 air command elite/ upgraded
Total Flight Time
60 hours in gyro's
Bob,

I'm curious to know what kind of fence you hit and what kind of damage it did to your machine. I am surprised that it didn't do something to you. How about some more details.

Gyro Doug

Hey Doug......To answer your questions: It was a wire fence at about 5 feet tall with a strand of barb running over the top. It didn't cut me, but the fence raked my legs pretty bad and my feet where swollen for a couple of weeks.
1. My nose gear folded into the wire fence but didn't brake off. Air Command installs round tubing into the 1 inch sq. tubing of the nose gear. The round tubing bent and kept the nose gear together. I think this is a great safety device for this gyro. The 6061-t6 aluminum 1 1/2 inch main wheel structural supports are very rugged. I really like how this aircraft held together during the crash into the fence. I didn't want to second guess anything, so I brought it to the experts to look it over and replace any and all of the damaged parts.
I had the old style brakes on my gyro and replaced the plastic tubing with copper tubing. I feel like the copper tubing work hardened at the tubing feral and cracked and leaked at the fitting nut. Thats my opinion on my brakes loosing their hydraulics while using a bumpy field as a runway. I should of replaced the plastic tubing with plastic tubing. Anyway, I am getting new wheels and a new brake system. a new rotor head, folding mast, keel, 68" prop, 25 feet rotordyne rotor blades, new rudder and horizontal stabs and whatever else it takes to make my gyro airworthy.
 

giro5

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Mar 19, 2006
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Farmington, New Mexico
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prev- citabria,AA1b, fun racer
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400 GA, 50 trike
Glad you were not injured seriously and still are getting your gyro fixed.

Once I worked for a now defunct trucking company that hauled gasoline and diesel. They repaired the truck brake lines with copper tubing. It wouldn't last a day. They would tell you to just mash the line off an go on and finish your deliveries. I didn't last long at that company. Anything concerning brake lines is the wrong application for copper tubing. The plastic tubing we use on our racing gokarts brake lines seems to hold up good in a pretty rough application.
 

Harry_S.

Gold Supporter
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
5,649
Location
Ocala, Florida
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RAF2000
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2000+ hrs.
Hi Bob,

Welcome to the fraternity/brotherhood of those that have trashed a machine and walked away from the experience with a lesson learned. A bit of pain, anguish and a bunch of dollars but hopefully, we're better...in other ways, because of it.

I for one, appreciate seeing those cow pastures, when I'm airborne, as an emergency landing spot if needed, but not as a takeoff field.

Posting your experience will hopefully help other gyro pilots to think again about attempting operations with questionable fields or conditions. Thank you.


Cheers :)
 

RockyMeLad

Curmudgeon-in-Training
Joined
May 27, 2004
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1,175
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Las Cruces, NM
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Desert Bee (Gyrobee)
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Bob,

Thank you for sharing. I know it's difficult, but hopefully we can learn from another's mistake. Glad you're OK, and will fly again. :)

Looking to next years BDs.
 

Greg Mitchell

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Mar 8, 2004
Messages
1,959
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Australia
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Butterfly Monarch 582
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200 hrs
Been there, done that. You being OK is all that counts Bob, that and getting back in the air. It's a shame many others never post. That's big in my book Bob.

These are tough little kits but that's enough destructive testing for both of us.

Good luck Mate.

Mitch
 

CLS447

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Oct 30, 2003
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Reading, PA
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Air Command 503 & Air Command SxS /EJ2.5
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Aprox 400 gyro
Sorry Bob, I did not know ! Crowds & cameras & crappy runways can get you !

Did you fly to his ranch from your airport?

Did it roll over ?

How fast were you going? Did you have time to cut the ignition ?

Hope it all works out.
 
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Bob Simmons

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2004
Messages
318
Location
Sulphur, La.
Aircraft
582 air command elite/ upgraded
Total Flight Time
60 hours in gyro's
Bob,

No need to feel ashamed! We all love ya, no matter what. Glad you're OK and hope to see you at a fly-in soon.

:usa2:

Thanks Peanut,
Miss you Brother. I heard you got your machine flying. I can't wait to see it in action. Bob
 

Bob Simmons

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2004
Messages
318
Location
Sulphur, La.
Aircraft
582 air command elite/ upgraded
Total Flight Time
60 hours in gyro's
Sorry Bob, I did not know ! Crowds & cameras & crappy runways can get you !

Did you fly to his ranch from your airport?

Did it roll over ?

How fast were you going? Did you have time to cut the ignition ?

Hope it all works out.

Hey Cris,
1. Did you fly to his ranch from your airport? No, I loaded it up on my trailer and brought it over to his ranch.
2. Did it roll over ? Yes, It hit the fence and the nose gear bent down into the fence causing the gyro to poll vault over the fence and hitting the ground upside down. It broke a rotor blade, bent the redundant mast, and damaged the rotor head assy. I would like to say that the redundant mast is a great safety device and didn't snap into. It handle a lot of load of the crash.
3. How fast were you going? maybe 10 to 15 mph. It was enough to cause the gyro to hit the fence, bend the nose gear down into the fence, flip over and land on the rotor blade and mast. I feel the rotor blade cushioned the fall, because it acted as a spring to dampen the crash. Only one blade was damaged. They were 25 foot sky wheels.
4. Did you have time to cut the ignition? Yes, as I can remember. I had 60 inch warp drive blades on my propeller and broke one and put a little dent in one. It was a 3 blade propeller assy. I believe the broken one came from hitting the rotor blade as I hit the ground.

Cris, I believe all the safety devices built into my gyro saved me. Me using copper tubing instead of the original plastic tubing was a bad idea on my part.
I think back when I was trying to save a buck and some time and did it my way instead of replacing with the original hardware. Bad plan.
I don't want to make the same mistake twice, so I am letting the experts check out everything before I call it an aircraft again. Thanks for asking old buddy. You heading to Bensen Days this year? I wish I could swing it. New job.....New rules. Bob
 
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RSKeller

Newbie
Joined
Dec 15, 2007
Messages
14
Location
Oriental
Aircraft
Dominator
Total Flight Time
180 hours
:angel:Those of us that fly gyros are all subject to the same basic fact, anyone of us can have the unexpected happen at any moment ! You survived, you told your story and anyone who doesn't respect you for that, you probably don't want to know anyway. Get back into the air and temp fate once more, you aren't living if there isn't a degree of danger! Also remember, You probably have never met anyone who hasn't made a mistake or two, have you?

Robert Keller
 
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