GYRO's in the USA, EAB or something else?

blw2

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I feel like this is a stupid question but I'll ask it anyway.

In the US, are any of the common gyros certified? Are most experimental amateur-built? Somthing else with in the LSA world? How do the factory built models fit in?
I am not overly familiar with "light sport" rules which most of these seem to be.

I'm not talking about the plans built or custom one-offs and the very simple ultralight things....more like the AR-1, those by Autogyro, ELA, etc.

I'm coming from the fixed wing world, PPL with IR...and very rusty. I looked into Gyros a few years ago. I drifted away but have found myself back with interest.

I've been trying to find models that are available in the US. So many seem to be factory built in Europe, and browsing google I can't tell if some of them are even available here, and if they are available if they are available as kits, factory-built and certified, etc...

I'm interested in EAB as a project, and also so that I can do maintenance and modification work myself without having to get an A&P involved at every turn....by modification I mean changing avionics or other minor modifications....not Frankenstein redesign stuff... and doing the condition inspections, etc...
 
In my rambling I sidetracked myself.... meant to add, one of my primary reasons for asking the question, is regarding the possibility of buying an already flying aircraft used or new....and how that fits into the owner maintenance rules. Is it like what I know from the certified cessna/piper/beech/mooney world...or is it more like what an E-AB would be?
 
Most all the major brands are available in kit form and when user built meet the 51% EAB threshold. The original builder qualifies for the repairman certificate. When buying a completed aircraft the owner is not eligible for the repairman certificate.

I can't answer your question on certified aircraft.

Bobby
 
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Only three models have been granted Standard Airworthiness certification since WWII. (Avian 2/180, McCulloch J-2, Air & Space 18A, all with fully articulated 3-blade rotors.). None of those has been in production in the last half century

EAB kits dominate, some with builder assist programs. Those models sold as factory-built elsewhere do not generally qualify for that here. A couple models can be purchased as Primary category aircraft, but that makes them roughly counterparts to the Quicksilver GT500, not to the usual Pipers and Cessnas, and they are not permitted to be used commercially. There is no factory-built LSA option for gyroplanes.

Sport Pilot gyroplane privileges are common, as contrasted to a full Private Pilot - Gyroplane rating (still available, but less popular). SPs are limited to a "light sport" design definition, meaning fixed collective pitch teetering two-blade rotor, 1320 lbs max gross, no in-flight prop adjustment, etc.
 
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There is one manufacturer that has an aircraft or two that are “certified”. I think the certification may be different than the models mentioned above. Autogyro out of Germany has what was advertised as a “certified” machine. Their US dealer is out of Maryland. I know the price for the “certified” model is significantly higher than the EAB and for sure needs an A&P to work on it. I just went to their website and it says they offer models EAB and Type Certified (already assembled).

In my opinion not the best choice if you truly want to fly a gyroplane. These models are trained and flown as if you were flying a fixed wing with rotor beads, this is done son they are a cross country machine.

If you truly want to fly a gyro the way it was meant to be flown try other available models. They won’t be fully assembled from the factory new but, can be purchased second hand from the builder who registered and built them as EAB. These include: Dominator Single and Two Place (original company owner retired, heard new person had started offering parts and machines) Aviromania Single and Two Place (Machine is made in Cypress, Dealer is in Texas) , Gyro Technic Single place machines (rumored to be working on a two place right now) are a suburb beautiful work of art machine. They are made in Michigan. American Ranger made in Zepyrhills Florida offers a fine Two Place that is similar in configuration to the European models price point may be better since here in the states. There are plenty of others made here that don’t cost the price of a small house. Best to go to one of the regional fly-ins and take demo rides in as many as you can. There is one this coming weekend put on by the Carolina Barnstormers. They usually have a vast variety of machines there and truly ambassadors for our sport/ addiction. Don’t blame me if you become a gyro junkie.
 
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There is one manufacturer that has an aircraft or two that are “certified”. I think the certification may be different than the models mentioned above. Autogyro out of Germany has what was advertised as a “certified” machine. Their US dealer is out of Maryland. I know the price for the “certified” model is significantly higher than the EAB and for sure needs an A&P to work on it.

That is the same Primary Category that I mentioned above. It is a far cry from Standard Airworthiness. It can be sold fully assembled, but is not legal for commercial use. You can't, for example, sell rides to tourists in it.

"Certified", to people in the fixed wing world, usually means Standard Airworthiness, and that's the common expectation when the word is used generally in aviation, but that's not what you get with the Primary Category. No teetering rotor gyroplane has ever qualified for Standard Airworthiness.
 
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That is the same Primary Category that I mentioned above. It is a far cry from Standard Airworthiness. It can be sold fully assembled, but is not legal for commercial use. You can't, for example, sell rides to tourists in it.

"Certified", to people in the fixed wing world, usually means Standard Airworthiness, and that's the common expectation when the word is used generally in aviation, but that's not what you get with the Primary Category. No teetering rotor gyroplane has ever qualified for Standard Airworthiness.
Awe. They can however instruct in it?
 
For the US, all gyroplanes except AutoGyro Gmbh right now fall under EAB. Not counting out of production 1960's J2 and like.
These include gyroplanes like AR-1, Magni models, ELA models and so on.
AutoGyro has Primary Category Restricted certification for MTO 2017, Calidus and Cavalon. That means you can buy those factory built and use them for training and rental to students but not for commercial purposes like aerial photography or anything enhancement of a business as they are not standard category certification. These gyroplanes have to be maintained by an A&P and you cannot make any changes etc. on them as an owner and cannot maintain them yourself. They adhere to a strict schedule of maintenance.
EAB gyroplanes usually now a days have to travel to a location (in our case here in Zephyrhills) and spend a couple of weeks participating in building your machine. Most of it is all assembly with little fabrication. That usually meets the 51% threshold in the FAA Gyroplane EAB checklist. Note that if you are not already a gyroplane rated pilot, the Phase 1 (task cards or 40 hours) fly-off cannot be done by you. It has to be done by a rated gyroplane pilot. You cannot also take primary training while it is in Phase 1. With Task Cards based phase 1 available now, one can finish Phase 1 in about 20 hours. I know with our builder's assist for AR-1, I fly off the first 2 hours to make sure rotors are reasonably balanced and gyroplane is safe before giving it to the customer.

As a listed builder in the documentation, you have the option of making an appointment with your local FSDO to get a "Repairman Certificate" on that particular machine. This has to be done before the first annual is due. Usually in the appointment they will have you fill out a form an issue a certificate fairly easily and quickly. There are 33000 Experimental homebuilt aircraft in the US. Not many Primary category ones. Once Light Sport (Special Light Sport Aircraft) was released, the Primary Category cert made little sense because you really do not get much more with it than you get with SLSA. Gyroplanes though currently do not have SLSA thanks to old folks at Rotorcraft Directorate who do know jack about them and do not want to work any more than they have to. But MOSAIC will change that in 2025 and people will come out with SLSA and ELSA gyroplanes.
 
Thanks everyone, huge help. The cloud over this whole thing has almost lifted for me!

So just to make sure I got this right, My understanding is that with an LSA fixed wing, they can be bought factory built or they can be bought from a builder as an EAB LSA. In both of those cases, the new owner who did not build them can take a course to get a repairman's cert.

so, I understand that these two models from AutoGyro are available factory built as "primary category", and those can NOT fall under the same repairman's course rules.....so they are more like buying a used or new cessna...except that they cannot be used for commercial purposes. Do I understand that correctly?

In my browsing of different available models, I was under the impression that ELA and maybe some others were also available as factory-built....but the info on them isn't crystal clear to me with the translated websites that are generally low on detail anyway. SO I take it with all of those, they would either be available here in the US as a kit, or they just are not available at all here. Is that right?

All of this for me is mostly just academic knowledge since my dream is to build...I want a project for a few reasons, some of which may not even be real in this case of a gyro.... (keeping costs down and for spreading the initial purchase price out over time). Even still, I like tinkering and making stuff, and I'd like a project.
Still, I suppose the possibility of finding a used already flying example wouldn't be ruled out completely. Might be cheaper, and if I can get a repairman's cert that might even work out better for me.

and @MikeBoyette..... yes, that does sound like something I should get on my calendar! At this point I don't know for sure about a gyro for my 'mission'. They appeal to me for a few reasons but I still have a ton of questions.
My mission, as I see it now, is some cross country for travel...visiting other places
but if I'm honest with myself I realize the majority of my use would be either local flying or just short-ish cross countries for day or overnight and weekend type trips....so the low and slow thing still works, even though a little faster might be better
I'm drawn to gyro's for the low and slow 'sport of it', economic operation, and relatively low cost of entry and maintenance
but probably more so because of my understanding that they do well in rougher air as opposed to LSA's and even other smaller lower-ish cost fixed wing certified fixed wings. Pretty much all of those things have extremely light wing loading.

I'm instrument rated PPL, so in many ways a fixed wing might make more sense for me...especially when I think about the primarily only two negatives that I'm seeing with with most of these gyros.... well actually three
slow cruise
lack of baggage space. They all seem to have enough useful load, just no place to put it.
the inability for even LIGHT IFR to break through a thin layer, to get out when visibility is a bit short, or whatever....
 
Thanks everyone, huge help. The cloud over this whole thing has almost lifted for me!

So just to make sure I got this right, My understanding is that with an LSA fixed wing, they can be bought factory built or they can be bought from a builder as an EAB LSA. In both of those cases, the new owner who did not build them can take a course to get a repairman certificate.
No Brad

You can only get a repairman's certificate for:

An EAB you built

An ELSA you own

Jim
 
An ELSA not an EAB can be signed off by an owner on annual who has taken the 2 day course. An ELSA is an exact copy of a SLSA counterpart. The 2 day course definitely does not impart on you the actual knowledge to do the annual.
Gyroplanes currently do not have a SLSA. Thus they only have EAB.
Not that EAB in gyroplanes is too difficult. It takes about 80 hours of build with a builders assist program to be listed as a builder and get that Repairman cert.
You are correct about the rest. Why don’t you call me on a weekday and we can talk and I can guide you. (813)-786-8290. You should not shy away from an EAB gyro. With builders assist you will be getting a pretty close a factory built like aircraft.
But for light IFR you need to stick with an airplane. There is not even a legal way to fly any IFR in a gyroplane by FAA. You simply can’t. That is definitely not gyroplane territory. We have both gyroplane an airplanes to offer. For fun and bush flying the Recon. It in its standard configuration with smaller tires and trigear will cruise at around 100 knots burning 5.25 gph. Has 600 pound useful load and up to 100 pounds of baggage. 28 gallon fuel tank. We also have a fully composite 50 inch wide cabin AJ Sport that is being tested to be a SLSA (also can be ELSA) which is based on licensed Flight Design CTLSi. Comes with dual Dynon HDX and autopilot. Those maybe more appropriate for you. I don’t have to sell you just a gyroplane But anything appropriate for your mission is what you should get.
 
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blw2 - you are fortunate to live right next to one of the best gyro manufactures in the US. Go buy an AR-1 from Abid and you can do the maintenance on it while also having local support. American Ranger is the best at supporting their customers from first hand experience. One of the safest gyros too. Also provides training so you don't crash it. Easy decision if you live in Florida.
 
For overnight and weekend trips, maybe a bit of light IFR, a touch more speed, carrying a little baggage, as you described, you can't beat an old Cessna 150/152. Cheap to buy, operate, insure, and maintain, while every A&P on earth knows how to fix them and can get parts anywhere immediately

Gyroplanes are great fun, but what I hear from you screams Cessna to me for utility and long term satisfaction.
 
that I'm seeing with with most of these gyros.... well actually three
slow cruise
lack of baggage space. They all seem to have enough useful load, just no place to put it.
the inability for even LIGHT IFR to break through a thin layer, to get out when visibility is a bit short, or whatever....
Gyros are not practical at all. Only for fun flying. Consider Sky Ranger airplane or the new fixed wing Abid will be offering if you want something more practical. Add its crazy expensive to insure a Gyro too if you can even get insurance now.
 
two of the certified versions of the Cavalon popped up in the FAA new registrations data just the other day - 10th May 2024

N23WM s/n RSUK-V00578 ( ie Cavalon #578 )
N54BC s/n RSUK-V00579 ( ie Cavalon #579 )

both brand new and both registered in California
 
@Abid, thanks for your offer!
I remember seeing the Recon at Sun n Fun this year. I didn't put two and two together that it was the same company as the AR-1 which I was already familiar with. I was on a mission to get someplace with my son, but it did catch my eye and I stopped for a look. only took a single lap around it though...I liked what I saw but my impression at that point was that it was close to what I would like but maybe a little small and I figured that the wing loading would almost certainly be low. Looked to be more of a stol machine than a cruiser. Oh, and also the fabric covering....I've always (but maybe wrongfully) thought that those would be less than ideal for long term outdoor tie down. Hangars around here are pretty much built out of unobtanium. I'll definitely give it another look though!! What is it's wing loading for the recon?

That hangar thing is another pro for the Gyro....at least based on my hope and assumption. Seems like I might be a little bit more likely to find someone willing to share a hangar since the fuselage is so small... seems like it could squeeze in beside quite a lot of things.

and yeah @WaspAir...I'll admit to having that thought pass through my mind. The 150/152 series is quite light for wing loading though. Still something like that could check a lot of boxes for me. Biggest drawback though is that I'm daydreaming about retiring in a year or two and taking on a build project.....well, that and the fact that I would be able to do nothing to it in the future unless I magically find a way to get an A&P cert.
 
Gyros are not practical at all. Only for fun flying. Consider Sky Ranger airplane or the new fixed wing Abid will be offering if you want something more practical. Add its crazy expensive to insure a Gyro too if you can even get insurance now.
I've been seeing that mentioned here about insurance..... and yes, that is unfortunate about insurance. Is that true across the board, can't even get liability coverage?

And I've been wondering that too..about practicalities I mean. Certainly, that's true for all those open-frame designs.... but I've been wondering more about the ones with actual bodies..some even enclosed...like Abid's AR-1. It seems though that most aren't set up for the cargo/luggage space well. Also, I've done a bit of research looking up N numbers for various models and then searching for tracking history on flight aware...just to get an idea of actual real-world cruise parameters...and the clear majority of flights by all of them are local, rarely or even never leaving their home airports.
 
I've been seeing that mentioned here about insurance..... and yes, that is unfortunate about insurance. Is that true across the board, can't even get liability coverage?

And I've been wondering that too..about practicalities I mean. Certainly, that's true for all those open-frame designs.... but I've been wondering more about the ones with actual bodies..some even enclosed...like Abid's AR-1. It seems though that most aren't set up for the cargo/luggage space well. Also, I've done a bit of research looking up N numbers for various models and then searching for tracking history on flight aware...just to get an idea of actual real-world cruise parameters...and the clear majority of flights by all of them are local, rarely or even never leaving their home airports.
Liability insurance was available for most pilots flying gyroplanes the last time I looked about a year ago.

Flight aware seems very hit or miss, I would not make a judgement based on their data.
Cross country just depends on the pilot.
A friend and client of mine flew from Florida to California in an AR1 and from California to Oshkosh in his Kallethia.
A nearby CFI has flown his Magni from California to Oshkosh twice.
A friend of mine in Florida has Flown a Sport Copter II from Oregon to Florida to Michigan.
A friend of mine has flown her Cavalon many long cross country flights.
I have flown a Cavalon on many thousand plus mile flights.
A typical flight for me in The Predator, an open Tandem is around 200 miles although I have taken several 900 mile flights.
I had a friend visit all 48 contiguous states in an RAF.
It all depends on what you like to do.
Most gyroplanes don't like to cruise faster than 90 knots so it may not be the best choice for someone in a hurry.
One of my favorite flights is only 22 nautical miles direct and I usually make it into a 90 mile round trip flight and find great joy in it.
It appears to me all part 91 aviation is just for fun despite the strange fantasies people have.
 
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