Have gyro and PB-3. Need External Tachometer


Experienced Gyroplane Pilot
May 24, 2007
Nexø (Denmark)
Auto-Gyro MTO Sport 914 (upgraded MT-03)
Total Flight Time
32 as PIC
I bought a Smartavionics PB-3 just to read in the manual I need an external tach sensor to balance my rotor.
But there is no explanation as to what kind. What do I need? DIY or buy one? The Smartavionics shop has none.


Erik there should be a tacho with the PB3. post a photo of everything you've bought.
The manual is on line on their website.
It's a pity you didn't ask before spending money.
It's some time since I used a PB3 and I just remembered that if the guy who sold it to you only bought it for propellers it probably wouldn't have an external tacho. The PB3 has an internal tacho for props. If you want to balance rotors you'll need an external tacho so send an email to Mark Burton of Smart Avionics and he'll sell you one.
Mike G
Hi Mike - thank you for replying.
Don't have pity on me...:)
I bought it because the price felt right.
And I wrote Mark Burton, who sold me a tacho sensor.
It's on its way across the borders as I write this.
So all is well.
Erik I was talking to Mark and he said he was sending you a tacho.

If you understand what you're doing from the manual but have a few questions about details ask away. If you're lost and need a complete training session let me know and we'll try a training session over the internet. I've done a couple like that, they're a bit cumbersome but seem to work.
Hi Mike. Thank you for the offer - I'll certainly ask if in need.

I had two reasons to be in a hurry:

1. Brexit will very soon make buying UK stuff more expensive and time consuming.
2. The one who will borrow my balancer can then teach me how to use it - smart, eh?

He is trying out the Gyro-Tech blades and reports they are more efficient than the alu blades.
Shorter ground run, faster climb and slower landing speed. But right now he has vibrations in flight.

I am shopping for a new rotor and I suppose I'll go with Gyro-Tech. So his experience will be invaluable.
But it'll take a while, as it's an insurance issue.

My MTO having the 914 with an AeroProp could be a real hotrod with those blades.

So you found someone who knows how to use a PB3 but hasn't got one. That should be interesting.

With a colleague we tried a Gyro tech rotor, that I have in the hanger from some testing I did for them, on his Eclipse to compare with his Averso rotor. We didn't do anything scientific he did a quick flight with it and then we realised that they had different blade pitch settings so a comparison made no sense. Perhaps your friend has a similar situation and isn't comparing apples to apples.

Keep us up to date with your progress.

Mike G
Hi Mike. Thank you for your interest.

No, he doesn't know how to use it - yet! But I'm sure he'll learn quickly.

Better take-off performance, better fuel economy and lower landing speed - if anything is different, so what?

Unfortunately my instructor (who had damaged my rotor) destroyed any useful possibility of an upgrade.

He promised th insurance company he'll find another used type 1 rotor for the insurance - like he's working for them!!

Working for them against me - thanks a bunch! I was given a choice of another rotor or 1300 Euro.

Had he offered twice that amount, I would've taken it and paid the rest myself. But I have to pay for instruction and fuel.

Your instructor damaged your rotor and is screwing you with his insurance!!!! I think I'd get another instructor.
He's really a nice guy. I just think he's acting stupidly ...
There are some other instructors, but they have jobs and families - and there are other students also.

I may have to bury my anger and be nice....

I decided to go with the money. Because I really lust after the Gyro-Tech rotor.
And want to be friends with my instructor.

I thought the insurance was getting off too easy, but the more I thought about it,
the less I wanted another old Type 1 rotor. They are not that popular.

My old rotor can fly with the small damage and there are two time limits to choose from.
Auto-Gyro say 1500 hours and in the UK it's 700 hours. As my Hobbs meter reads 532 hours,
maybe it would be a good idea to just have a new carbon rotor ready.

It just gives me a good gut feeling to get a carbon rotor.

Thank you for the support,

Your instructor damaged your rotor and is screwing you with his insurance!!!! I think I'd get another instructor.
I did.

I got my gyro's flying permit yesterday. Yee-haa.

And this sunday (6/6) my new instructor and I will fly it through most of Denmark to his hangar.

I really hope the rotor is suitable - indications are it may not be (too low RPM)....

If it is not, then we'll have to use the old rotor....

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I'll know this sunday...

Someone else with Rotortech rotor on a Cavalon reports 240 RPM - way too low.

My rotor has slightly wider blades (215mm vs 200 mm) and the recommended rpm is 320 - 390, with 430 as max.

My instructor will test it.

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As it was, my instructor had to fly it home alone, because we had headset/radio issues.
And there were a few other snags. But now all is well - only issue is vibrations.

Last week-end I had 7½ tacho hours, flying and balancing on the mains.
But the rotor RPMs are right where they should be. Phew, I was so worried.

My instructor took the gyro to 190 km/h. No worries, but a lot of wind passing the windshields.