How frequently do gyro engine-outs occur? Also, flying over water...

IWantaGyro

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I'm a newbie thinking about getting a gyro (obviously I'll take lessons to make sure it is something I want to pursue), but I'd like to know how frequently you have experienced/witnessed an engine out.

The reason I ask, I live in an area with bodies of water around 5-10 miles wide, and the prospect of an engine going out in the middle of a lake doesn't seem too appealing...

If it's rare, I can accept that, but if it's like 1 out of every 25 flights....yikes.
 

Tina

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I'm a newbie thinking about getting a gyro (obviously I'll take lessons to make sure it is something I want to pursue), but I'd like to know how frequently you have experienced/witnessed an engine out.

The reason I ask, I live in an area with bodies of water around 5-10 miles wide, and the prospect of an engine going out in the middle of a lake doesn't seem too appealing...

If it's rare, I can accept that, but if it's like 1 out of every 25 flights....yikes.
HI Doug,

Your profile does not say where your located?

I think it depends on what kind of engine. Some are more reliable then others. I have a Rotax 582 and I never had a engine out in 70 hours but have heard they can for one reason or another. I am always prepared for a engine out and trained to land safely.

So saying that I would never and I mean never fly over a large body of water. I would fly off the shore and maybe in ward to the water if I am high enough to to be able to land on safe ground if needed.
 

[email protected]

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Hi !

I can only fully agree with Tina: it depends on the motor and - as always in real life - circumstances You can influence or not.

I personally have only experience with Rotax 912 and 914 in gyros and I personally did not experience one single failure in 300 hrs. of recorded flight time.

At our homebase in Hungary/LHFM with 20 gyros of different make (MT03, MTsport, Magni M16, Magni M22, XENON, ELA 07S) all equipped with Rotax 912/914 in 2 years with a cumulated flight time of more than 2000 hrs. we had 3-4 incidents of a motor out in flight.

Two times the oil filter loosened in flight and went off ´cause it was not secured (or sabotaged) forcing an emergency landing. No casualties, not even slightest injuries.

One time the fuel-pump quitted forcing an immediate landing after T/O.

One time the motor quitted after T/O ´cause gyro was exposed to full sunlight and heat for hrs and a gas bubble plugged the gas-lines. Immediate landing took place, nothin´happened.

Other reported incidents not at our homebase that came to my knowledge: two guys accompanied an Off-Road-Rallye in Northern Africa with a MT03-gyro 2005 and they were filled up with Diesel instead of Auto-Gas by accident and had a harsh landing on rocks. No injuries.

In Germany pilots forgot to switch on the fuel-pump 2 (Rotax 914) causing 2-3 emergency landings after T/O (pilot error!).

Positive example: Otmar Birkner, the manuf of the MT03 and MTsport, went together with 3 other MT03s (Rotax 912/914) and special tanks (148l) all around Australia 2007 (7.000 miles) with no single engine out. Only incident: one fuel-pump was leaking in one gyro and had to be replaced.

Summary:

2-stroke air-cooled engines are more susceptible to failures than 4-stroke water-cooled because mostly of thermal problems in hot and humid weather conds. This is why Hirth-engines of older make have a "bad taste" here in Europe although it is mostly a cooling air intake design-problem by the aircraft manuf and/or lack of proper maintainance rather than by the motor itself.

In most serial prod. gyros (2-seat) You will find Rotaxes 912/914 like in most other ultralight and light aircrafts (FW) which are the market leader with an outstanding safety record for their reliability. But they are also the most expensive ones (actually there is NO single argument for a prizing triple or double the prizing of a SUBARU EJ-engine that was ORIGINALLY BUILT AS AN AIRCRAFT-MOTOR AND ONLY LATER TRANSPLANTED INTO CARS !!! which is mostly unknown and mostly thought to be vice-versa !)

To prevent In-Flight-failures of the engine by pilot error (having not done a meticoulous preflight-check IS a pilot error!) You have to check engine before flight:

1. any parts (oil-filter, tubing, radiators, wires, ign-plugs etc.) fixed and secured? No loosening parts ?

2. any leaks observed ? (this is why You have to CLEAN Your gyro carefully before flight thus enabling You to see upcoming leaks BEFORE they cause engine-failures.)

3. enough lubrication-oil ?

4. tanks filled properly for planned flight ?

5. before start-up of the motor: are both ignition-circles switched on ? Is fuel-pump 2 switched on ? CHECK !!!

6. Proper warm-up of the motor before flight (in this phase LISTEN to Your motor: it speaks to You. After 20-30 hrs of flight - like in a car - You will know how the motor has to "feel" and sound.

7. Check ignition-circles

In-Flight: check motor parameters (oil-temp, cooling-temp, PSI, exhaust temp) regularly, again: listen to Your motor ! In most cases (NOT IN ALL as You can read on this brilliant forum !) Your motor will tell You when it starts to feel not "healthy".

In most cases the pilot´s senses are finer than the instruments, so if You feel that Your motor does not feel well better not T/O or do a planned out-of-apt- landing ("security-landing") to check. (very easy with gyros!)

So I hope I could have given You some trust in motors but always have in mind: there is NO flight-engine in this world that could not quit suddenly and there will never be ! In gyros this is mostly no problem ´cause it is easy to do a safe emergency landing (as discussed in another thread concerning tree-top and water-landings) but it will always be YOUR responsibilty to plan Your flight-path every single minute in a way to provide safe emergency-landing.

For big water-areas - as Tina already pointed out - that means to fly close to the coast line and/or in case of crossing the area to do it at it´s narrowest landmark at a safe flight-level according to the glide-ratio of Your gyro (in general 1:3 - 1:4 which means if the water crossing is 3 miles You have to fly 1 mile high)

Last: do not build up fears and do not try by force to find arguments against gyroing ! THERE IS NONE ! It´s the safest and most enjoyable aircraft in the world (again: if flown properly). Once You are an experienced gyroist (after 100 hrs. recorded flight time) NEVER loosen Your discipline at preflight check and in-flight. Most pilot-error-accs occur then ´cause of "routine". There is no "routine". Every single flight is unique and wonderful even after 1000 hrs. !

Angelo
 

Kewlwill

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Read more of this forum and you will know why gyros are the safest.
Enjoy reading!

Cheers!

WILL
 

dragonflyerthom

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Here most of the gyros are built by the pilots who fly them. We really like building them. Then flying them. You need to keep them up and inspect them before each flight. You will notice if you ever go to a fly in that the motors and airship are kept very clean. This is to make it easier for the walk around pre and post flight. There are 25, 50 75, 100 hour inspection where you take things apart and there is the annual if you have a N numbered gyro. An engine out can be a non event if you watch where you are going and enough altitude to land where you want. I personally fly from field to field and avoid the wooded area except when I go higher than five or six hundred feel. Like one poster said the glide ratio is important when you are over wooded areas or water.

Gyroing is what you put into it then you can get out of it. It is really like flying like a big bird. Attend a flyin or two then decide if being a gyro pilot is for you. Hey it may not be.
 

greg spicola

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Where is Hart? Are there Swamp Lizzards in these Lakes?
 

jcarleto

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Well, technically speaking, you aren't really supposed to fly over the lakes beyond your aircraft's glide range (which is basically straight down for a gyro) if there is a way to get to the other side by flying around. I always consider the possibility of an engine out even with a type-certified fixed wing. I quote Lewis Gulley, "If you can't land on it, fly around it."

That said, you can mitigate the risk of an engine out by choice of engine, careful maintenance, religious preflight inspection and careful monitoring of a good set of engine instruments. Some, but very few engine failures give no warning at all.

*JC*
 

gyro

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sounds like you need a pontoon gyro....:~)
 

IWantaGyro

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Thanks for the wealth of info.

I've been reading up on gyros and watching youtube clips and it looks like such a blast.

But what triggered my question was watching this youtube video of an ultralight pilot having to quickly make an emergency landing when flying over water and trees. I realize ultralights are much different than gyros (and probably use different engines??), but I could envision a similar scenario happening in a gyro.

I live (or rather am moving to) Minnesota btw. It sounds like sticking to the shoreline and religious engine upkeep is the way to go.

Thanks again.
 

Tina

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I have seen this Video before it is a good one to watch and learn from. This guy does a great job taking you with him on this trip where he has a engine out and what dangers can await you and how sudden it can happen. Looking at where he was flying your surprised he did so well landing it and not killing himself. :first:

P.S. Lucky he wasn't in a gyro!
 
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birdy

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Doug, it depends mostly on your maintainance and care of the engine [ and useing the rite fuels/oils].
My little time in the air is as follows;
462 rotax 2stroke- 360 hours without fail
ea81 soob- 12 engine outs in 300 hours, [ yes, it was a heap of sh1t admitadly]
ej22 soob- 200 hours without fail
rotax 912 80hp- 2200 hours without fail
rotax 914-1200 hours without fail
rotax 912 100 hp- 700 odd hours so far, without fail.


You'll get wot you pay for.
Theres no substitute for quality.
 

GyroRon

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NEVER FLY OVER SOMETHING YOUR NOT PREPARED TO LAND ON......

If your going to fly over water alot you need to look for a different type of aircraft, something made to takeoff and land from water.
 

Fl90

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I'm an excellent swimmer, and was a paid alligator hunter.....I fly over water, sometimes. I even flew over water with my MAC, once. Flew over a herd of cows with the MAC once, sheer luck that the ones that didn't run when I came down were far enough apart to land between. It seems they don't scare as easily when you're quiet.

"NEVER FLY OVER SOMETHING YOU'RE NOT PREPARED TO LAND ON"

read that, understand it.......it's a good rule.

Phil
 

TJMay

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All the above is good advice but, ....never fly over anything you can't land on.
 

James

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I know my answer is going to be contriversal, but I fly my gyro like I fly my airplane. If I am going from point A to point B, I fly in a striaght line. I have flown with other gyro pilots on cross countrys where we were supposed to stay together, and I lost site of them. Upon landing, I would ask them "Where did you go, I lost site of you". Their answer would be something like " Well, I went to five thousand feet". I would ask why and they would say "In case my engine quit". I don't even like to fly my Cessna that high if I can get out of it. I hope I don't have an engine out, which I know could happen, but I also hope I don't have one in my Cessna either. I have had plenty of engine outs when I flew the 2 strokes, I guess they happened at the right time, because my landings were good. Right now I am flying an all stock Subaru EA82 direct drive on a Bensen type gyro. As I am flying either machine, I do look for good places to land in case of trouble.

James Lee
Gallatin, TN
 
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