Gyrocopter-Military Aircraft Encounters

NoWingsAttached

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If you've followed my threads you know that I have had some interesting military aircraft encounters. In Carrollton, I had my first encounter while returning to CTJ in my Air Command Tandem CLT with a vintage Huey, and Blackhawks were always coming and going from there, out of Dobbins in Marietta.

This year, things really heated up after moving to Savannah when I encountered and flew side-by-side with the famous B-17, "Nine-O-Nine", with only a hundred feet of separation in my Air Command Yamaha Tandem.

Then, as posted later in that same thread, I reported flying a Blackhawk pilot around Savannah in the Air Command Yamaha ("the Wicked") when we encountered a Blackhawk Lima in the air, and did several pirouettes from about 100ft radius apart!

That helo was on government time/fuel, and the Army tower reportedly asked the pilot, "WHAT are you DOING out there???" We all got a good chuckle out of that one, as we rotated around and around together, down to about 100 ft MSL.

Hardly a day goes by that I don't see Chinooks, Kiowas, and/or Blackhawks flying directly overhead at 150-200 ft when I am at my hangar here. We are in their routine flightpath from Hunter AAFB and another reservation just southwest of here, and they are required to fly over us at midfield to avoid problems with our GA operations.

http://www.rotaryforum.com/forum/sh...ight=close+encounters+of+the+b-17+kind&page=2

After leaving my hangar today, heading to a customer's job sight, I was passing Savannah International Airport when I caught sight of a dozen Norhthrup SF-5B Freedom Fighters landing, in pairs and threes!! GA and commercial flights were nowhere to be seen, so obviously there must have been a NOTAM in effect. I tried to find a good vantage point to watch them come in. (example photo below)



When I thought they were all finished, I left to get to work...when, just down the road a piece, I saw what looked to be two F-18 Hornets, with the twin tails angled apart, unlike the straight up twin tails of the F-15s. I pulled off to the side of the road, got my camera ready, and realized as they approached closer, these were F-22 RAPTORS! Just as I raised my camera to get some video, a semi pulled up behind me and I had nowhere to get out of his way, so although I enjoyed the sight of these bad boys landing in strong winds, at slow approach speeds, wobbling and correcting all over the place, almost on top of me just 50 feet high, I got no video to show for it.

I found the Driveway for Gulfstream, just around the corner, and pulled my Durango off the side of the road at the end of the RW approach, and did get footage of three F-16 (What I call the Porsche of the fighter jets) landings.

I'll post some pics and vidz.

Thought some of you might like to share in my latest military aircraft close encounters, once again.

It got me thinking while driving home tonight: I wonder how many other gyrocopter pilots we have out there who have had the pleasure of sharing close airspace with warbirds and military helos? I have never read anything else like these reportings on here, so I am beginning to wonder if this is only happening to me?

I hope some other gyro pilots have some stories to share about their encounters with military aircraft :plane: while flying their gyrocopters, even if this report today, about the fighter jets, is not a gyrocopter encounter.

:plane:
 

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MadMuz

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Wow, 100' is too close for my liking, when it comes to big things like that :eek:

Apart from when I was flying from Canberra airport in the ACT, here in Australia.... where you never knew what you would see as the airport was used by the military, and Jarvis Bay on the coast was another big military base...... but one flying encounter that is extremely memorable, was when I was flying between Jaspers Brush and Moruya in NSW, I was flying along happily at about 80kts ay about 500' and all of a sudden there was this loud whining and hissing noise.... I nearly snapped my neck looking up at the rotors and trying to see what the noise was, then I saw about 200 yards to my right was an F1-11 with its wings forward, nose up at about 30 degree angle... waffling along trying to do my speed :eek: the pilot was looking over at me so I waved, he waved back and gave the thumbs up, the guy in the back (navigator I guess) waved.... then he powered up and disappeared off into the distance.... anyway, my heartbeat finally got back under about 750bpm and I relaxed again, I was thinking to myself how funny it was that here I was in a home made whirly thingy that cost less than $10K to build, cruising at such a low speed.... and here is this multi million dollar military beast with all the bells and whistles and they were impressed looking at my pile of junk:lol:

So anyway, cruising along still, nice and relaxed and next thing I saw something pass me and then 'Bang' and honestly, if I hadn't had my seat belt on, I would have jumped fair out of my machine.... I nearly pooped myself bigtime and I think I said :censored: quite loudly ...:puke:

I just saw the glow of the motors and a stinking trail of exhaust disappearing into the distance.... it was either the same F1-11 circled back and come by to show me what his 'junk' could do, or it was another one.... either way, my poor ticker must have redlined for sure..... scared the absolute bejesus out of me.... I was on edge for a week after that.... pretty awesome tho :eek::yo:
 

rcflier

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Hi, nice story.

AFAIR, the two-seater F-5 is called a T-38 Talon.

Just to be completely OCD :lol:

Cheers
Erik
 

SandL

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do you get concerned about their wake ?
I'm thinking that a chinook flying over the top of a gyro, whould the wake swat the gyro from the sky ? We have many low level herculese flying around my location, the wake created worries me a little. when in my garden I can feel the wake of about 10-15 kts for a few moments after they fly over at low level apx 350-500 ft.
are there any reports of a gyro being kicked from the sky by wake turbulence ?
 

joe nelson

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Hi, nice story.

AFAIR, the two-seater F-5 is called a T-38 Talon.

Just to be completely OCD :lol:

Cheers
Erik

Erik,

The F5E&F are both two seaters as is the T38 trainer. There are some differences between the two like the F5 has a longer nose for radar and guns.

The F5 in the picture is a Spanish aircraft from their fighter lead-in school.
 

Vance

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My observations about a UH-60.

My observations about a UH-60.

Then, as posted later in that same thread, I reported flying a Blackhawk pilot around Savannah in the Air Command Yamaha ("the Wicked") when we encountered a Blackhawk Lima in the air, and did several pirouettes from about 100ft radius apart!

That helo was on government time/fuel, and the Army tower reportedly asked the pilot, "WHAT are you DOING out there???" We all got a good chuckle out of that one, as we rotated around and around together, down to about 100 ft MSL.

Thought some of you might like to share in my latest military aircraft close encounters, once again.

It got me thinking while driving home tonight: I wonder how many other gyrocopter pilots we have out there who have had the pleasure of sharing close airspace with warbirds and military helos? I have never read anything else like these reportings on here, so I am beginning to wonder if this is only happening to me?

I hope some other gyro pilots have some stories to share about their encounters with military aircraft :plane: while flying their gyrocopters, even if this report today, about the fighter jets, is not a gyrocopter encounter.

:plane:

My experience with flying The Predator around a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter is the Black Hawk creates a lot of turbulence near the ground from the rotor downwash and has significant wake turbulence.

Based on my observations; for me less than 1,000 feet would be too close.

I have not flown around a UH-60 in Puff and would still want significant clearance.

Regards, Vance
 

WaspAir

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I, for one, do NOT like to have near encounters with military aircraft. While I was instructing at a gliderport in Colorado years ago, an A-7 flew over at high speed and clipped one of our gliders, sending it into a spin (they recovered and landed with wingtip damage). The A-7 pilot never saw the glider, didn't realize that he had just blasted through an intensive glider area right over the gliderport, and didn't know he had hit anything. His ground crew found the glider's wingtip wheel embedded in his wing leading edge. A few years later, while in the pattern at another gliderport, I had a C-130 pass below me at high speed, again right through a high traffic area. I'm happy to look at them at airshows and to let them play in their MOAs and hope they stay as far as possible from any place I'm going.

Picture of an A-7 and a C-130 for those who don't know the types:
 

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NoWingsAttached

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My experience with flying The Predator around a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter is the Black Hawk creates a lot of turbulence near the ground from the rotor downwash and has significant wake turbulence.

Based on my observations; for me less than 1,000 feet would be too close.

I have not flown around a UH-60 in Puff and would still want significant clearance.

Regards, Vance

Yeah, I wouldn't want to get too close to one one the ground in a gyro, or in its wake either! I was the center of a circle, the UH-60 flying around us at about 120kts, and I just kept my nose pointed at him, flying in a much tighter circle, keeping him in front of us and in sight.

If you are comfortable flying as close as 1000 feet, that still qualifies as a close encounter. Have you been in the air with any, or was your experience while only on the ground?
 

Vance

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Yeah, I wouldn't want to get too close to one one the ground in a gyro, or in its wake either! I was the center of a circle, the UH-60 flying around us at about 120kts, and I just kept my nose pointed at him, flying in a much tighter circle, keeping him in front of us and in sight.

If you are comfortable flying as close as 1000 feet, that still qualifies as a close encounter. Have you been in the air with any, or was your experience while only on the ground?

I have flown right closed traffic on runway 30 when a UH-60 was practicing out over the numbers of runway 2 more than 4,500 feet away.

I could feel the turbulence as I drew abeam.

His altitude made a lot of difference.

If I was above him I felt the turbulence a lot less.

Climb out was his phase of flight that appeared to me to create the most turbulence for me.

When he departed the area ATC changed me to left closed traffic and I could still feel the turbulence about two minutes later and almost 1,500 feet away. There was not much wind that day.

I would advise staying well away from any large helicopter while flying a gyroplane.

We also have an occasional visit from CH 47s and Cobra’s.

We have a lot of large helicopter operations at SMX for the off shore oil platforms.

The large helicopters takeoff from taxiway Hotel; probably more than 2,000 feet away from the threshold of runway 30 and I can feel the turbulence in both The Predator and Puff.

I have flown right closed traffic on 30 when a UH-60 was practicing out over the numbers of runway 2 more than 4,500 feet away.

I could feel the turbulence as I drew abeam.

His altitude made a lot of difference.

If I was above him I felt the turbulence a lot less.

Climb out was his phase of flight that appeared to me to create the most turbulence for me.

When he departed the area ATC changed me to left closed traffic and I could still feel the turbulence about two minutes later and almost 1,500 feet away. There was not much wind that day.

We also have an occasional visit from CH 47s and Cobra’s.

We have a lot of large helicopter operations at SMX for the off shore oil platforms.

The large helicopters takeoff from taxiway Hotel; probably more than 2,000 feet away from the threshold of runway 30 and I can feel the turbulence in both The Predator and Puff.

I would advise staying well away from any large helicopter while flying a gyroplane.

Regards, Vance
 

Vance

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I forgot the UH-60s belonging to the border patrol.

I forgot the UH-60s belonging to the border patrol.

The border patrol flies a couple of UH-60s into Camarillo (CMA) for lunch and it is easy to feel their departing down wash and wake turbulence even several minutes after their departure on calmer days.

On windy days the turbulence seems to not last as long although it may just be that I feel it less because of the turbulence from the strong wind.

I can’t out climb a UH-60 so it is hard to avoid the takeoff wake turbulence.

I have refused several takeoff clearances behind these two UH-60s.

On a calm day I like to have at least three minutes for the air to settle down.

I am surprised that flying that close to a Black Hawk didn’t disrupt your flight path.

ATC at SMX is diligent in their separation,;not so much at CMA.

Neither would like the maneuvers you describe inside their class D airspace if I understand you correctly.

Whenever I have mock dog fights with anybody I do it well outside the class D airspace.

Regards, Vance
 

Doug Riley

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Flying into the rotor downwash of a heavy helo will produce a negative G event -- that is, the rotor's disk angle of attack will go negative. Control will reverse, coning angle will reverse.

Different gyro frame and rotor designs have different levels of tolerance for this kind of abuse, but it is a scary prospect for any gyro.
 

MadMuz

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Wing tip vortex and wakes off heavy FW are equally as risky, if not more so, because you cant see it and it lingers.... so if you are flying along happily and one of the big heavies passes you.... you'd better head away from where it was (don't parallel its track) or else get ready for a possible, not so fun ride :eek:
 

GyroCFI

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flight test encounter

flight test encounter

when I was taking my flight test to become a CFI down in Little Rock, the military was training for the Grenada invasion. Every couple minutes there would be several C-130's at treetop level going to a drop zone only a mile or so from the airport. So I was doing a tight turn for the examiner at like 2000' when something just didn't look right so I rolled out of the turn, when I noticed a pair of C-130's below us and a pair above us, by only 500 feet. neither myself or the examiner saw them prior to entering the turn so he felt that the pair that flew above us must have popped up to our altitude for some reason.

I also had a guy messing around in an AT-6 Texan at our airport while I was training someone. As we were on final for the grass runway, this guy came flying down right above the hard surface runway and peeled off for a tight turn... unfortunately it was directly at us. I actually had to pull the power and go into a tight diving turn to get out of his way.

That little maneuver of his cost me a student. I confronted him about it later when he parked by the gas pumps.. he didn't even see us.
 

GyroCFI

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I hope you filed a report with the FAA?

I called the FAA but they said it would come down to my word against his, and they probably wouldn't take any action against him unless there was damage to either aircraft.
 

Timchick

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There's a military event going on in Savannah right now with lots of different aircraft types showing up. An Air Force friend of mine is there. Those were T-38's Greg saw.
 

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rcflier

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Hi Joe.

Thank you for correcting me. I didn't know there were so many kinds.

Cheers
Erik

Erik,

The F5E&F are both two seaters as is the T38 trainer. There are some differences between the two like the F5 has a longer nose for radar and guns.

The F5 in the picture is a Spanish aircraft from their fighter lead-in school.
 
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NoWingsAttached

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When I was at Airventure this year I walked off the distance to the B-17 there to determine how close we were actually flying together, the 909 B-17 and me, in Savannah. It was more like 300 ft.
 
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