I agree the gyroplane accident rate is too high;

BEN S

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Then one that always gets me is after a fatal accident, everyone is quick to bring up medical incapacitation. I get it. But lets be honest, thats just not what really happened. If it was even slightly possible the number of medical "issues" would mean two things, gyro pilots as a whole are more likely to have medical issues and crash then other pilots, and we should be seeing plenty of heart attacks killing pilots as they drive cars and running off the road.
Which we don't.
So, as hard as this is to accept for the loved ones, the pilot screwed up or the rig failed in some way. Period. I'd lay the odds 80/20 on that.
Start from that perspective and we can maybe start to figure out why my friends and others are getting killed.
 

TyroGyro

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I think you'll find that only a tiny proportion of fatals are ascribed to medical issues. About 4%.
But they certainly do happen.
 

bryancobb

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Then one that always gets me is after a fatal accident, everyone is quick to bring up medical incapacitation. I get it. But lets be honest, thats just not what really happened. If it was even slightly possible the number of medical "issues" would mean two things, gyro pilots as a whole are more likely to have medical issues and crash then other pilots, and we should be seeing plenty of heart attacks killing pilots as they drive cars and running off the road.
Which we don't.
So, as hard as this is to accept for the loved ones, the pilot screwed up or the rig failed in some way. Period. I'd lay the odds 80/20 on that.
Start from that perspective and we can maybe start to figure out why my friends and others are getting killed.
There's literally VOLUMES of data on the inclusion of "pilot incapacitation" as a factor in small aircraft crashes. The trend at the FAA over the last couple of decades has been to LESSEN the medical requirements on pilots that don't do it for a living. As of right now, a rated general aviation pilot can legally fly a 6000#, twin-engine aircraft, and carry 5 passengers into the clouds at night, without any FAA Medical Certificate and with only Primary Care Physician "no apparent reason" concurrence (being eligible for Basic Med does require an FAA Medical once within past 10 years). Currently, the FAA is comfortable letting pilots diagnosed with severe depression fly for hire as long as it's controlled by one of the four approved meds.

The FAA would not have even considered adopting Basic Med if medical incapacitation made any noteworthy contribution to general aviation crashes. Simply put, the medical condition of pilots has a miniscule effect on accident statistics.

My opinion (worth zero cents) is that all gyros except the two type-certificated ones with rotor-heads similar to helicopters, are quirky, unforgiving aircraft that must be flown by extremely knowledgeable, well trained pilots, and even then the machine can put you in an unrecoverable flight condition. I would happily fly an A&S 18A or J-2 McCulloch or Groen, or any of the "golden age" tractors that have ailerons, rudders, and elevators, and a rotor that only makes lift, like the Pitcairn. For me, the Bensen-type tetering rotor head has some design features that make me run away.
 

Tyger

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The FAA would not have even considered adopting Basic Med if medical incapacitation made any noteworthy contribution to general aviation crashes. Simply put, the medical condition of pilots has a miniscule effect on accident statistics.
I think the only reason the FAA adopted Basic Med is because Congress basically required them to. I do agree with the second sentence, though.
 

JETLAG03

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@BEN S you put 80%-20% pilot- machine error/failure.

From what few details I have seen a machine failure seems to be extremely rare and probably much less than 20%.
Any data on that @Tyger

phil
 

Vance

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My opinion (worth zero cents) is that all gyros except the two type-certificated ones with rotor-heads similar to helicopters, are quirky, unforgiving aircraft that must be flown by extremely knowledgeable, well trained pilots, and even then the machine can put you in an unrecoverable flight condition. I would happily fly an A&S 18A or J-2 McCulloch or Groen, or any of the "golden age" tractors that have ailerons, rudders, and elevators, and a rotor that only makes lift, like the Pitcairn. For me, the Bensen-type tetering rotor head has some design features that make me run away.
I would not be a helicopter or fixed wing flight instructor because in my opinion the aircraft are so unforgiving of pilot errors and students make errors as they learn.

It is not unusual for me to read about a flight instructor being killed while instructing in helicopters or fixed wing aircraft.

I love instructing in gyroplanes because they are so forgiving of piloting errors.

The two gyroplane flight instructors I knew that died flying a gyroplane both had mechanical failures.
 

JETLAG03

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@Vance "The two gyroplane flight instructors I knew that died flying a gyroplane both had mechanical failures." ouch!! that seems to blow my idea or mechanical fault being a minor part of the problem out of the water.

phil (de fer)
 

loftus

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There's at least one case of a gyro cfi and his student (used to be on this forum) that died in what I recall was a zero-g type event in the pattern. Not apparently mechanically related. I believe it was an ELA.
I think FW aircraft when trimmed out are inherently much more stable if pilot input is removed (at least temporarily) hence one finds autopilot systems frequently in FW, but rarely in gyros.
Most gyro's require continuous pilot input, so even temporary incapacitation or inattention can get one into trouble in most gyros.
 

Resasi

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maybe start to figure out why my friends and others are getting killed.
When we say pilot medical incapacitation Ben, what I think that means, is that driving a car in old age, is a bit more forgiving that flying a gyro.

A senior moment in a car may not have the immediate and slightly more consequential results than having that senior moment in a gyro.:)...or should that be:oops:.
 

Resasi

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Most gyro's require continuous pilot input, so even temporary incapacitation is quite a problem in most gyros.
And some I have flown I have felt would kill me in a heartbeat if I released my hold on the stick.

Unfortunately the one I most enjoy flying, because it is so agile. (that means extremely unstable!!)
 

Vance

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@Vance "The two gyroplane flight instructors I knew that died flying a gyroplane both had mechanical failures." ouch!! that seems to blow my idea or mechanical fault being a minor part of the problem out of the water.

phil (de fer)
The two instructor fatalities are over a 15 year period and both were friends and it appears to me they were both mechanical problems related to rotor control.

I have flown with 40 gyroplane flight instructors and probably know twice that many.

That is a lot of gyroplane hours and I have well over two thousand hours myself.

Most of the gyroplane accidents I see are pilot error and do not result in fatalities.

I know of other gyroplane instructor fatalities outside the USA but I don’t know enough about them to have an opinion on why.
 

WaspAir

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I would not be a helicopter or fixed wing flight instructor because in my opinion the aircraft are so unforgiving of pilot errors and students make errors as they learn.

It is not unusual for me to read about a flight instructor being killed while instructing in helicopters or fixed wing aircraft.

I love instructing in gyroplanes because they are so forgiving of piloting errors.
You should try sailplanes, Vance. There isn't much to go wrong. No engine failures, no fuel mismanagement, no fires, good instructional safety record, simple systems, lots of two-place ships available, no LODAs, easy to insure including student solos, quiet, and lots of fun. FAA permits solo at age 14.

P.S. No medical, no BasicMed, required, either. No Instrument training. Nice daylight stick and rudder without LSA weight/complexity or Sport Pilot airspace restrictions after an easy to get Private rating. (Glider add-ons are quick).
 
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DavePA11

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WaspAir - Isn’t landing off field due to lack of rising air on the riskier side of flying in a sailplane?
 

bryancobb

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I think the only reason the FAA adopted Basic Med is because Congress basically required them to. I do agree with the second sentence, though.
I thought the AOPA was the "muscle" that showed the FAA that Basic Med was a great idea?
 

bryancobb

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You should try sailplanes, Vance.
Sailplane pilots accidentally develop freakish pilot skills that powered aircraft jockeys never even think about. If I am on a commercial flight and learn that my pilot is a glider pilot, I know they are the best of the best and I am more relaxed. If an ATP Rating is the aviation PhD, then a Sailplane pilot is a PhD++.
 

wolfy

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WaspAir - Isn’t landing off field due to lack of rising air on the riskier side of flying in a sailplane?
Maybe that situation is probably one of the most risky situations, but one must remember also that glider pilots are the best at landing.
Sailplanes with there low sink rate and high glide ratio give you a lot of time to assess the situation and set yourself up.

wolfy
 

fara

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There's literally VOLUMES of data on the inclusion of "pilot incapacitation" as a factor in small aircraft crashes. The trend at the FAA over the last couple of decades has been to LESSEN the medical requirements on pilots that don't do it for a living. As of right now, a rated general aviation pilot can legally fly a 6000#, twin-engine aircraft, and carry 5 passengers into the clouds at night, without any FAA Medical Certificate and with only Primary Care Physician "no apparent reason" concurrence (being eligible for Basic Med does require an FAA Medical once within past 10 years). Currently, the FAA is comfortable letting pilots diagnosed with severe depression fly for hire as long as it's controlled by one of the four approved meds.

The FAA would not have even considered adopting Basic Med if medical incapacitation made any noteworthy contribution to general aviation crashes. Simply put, the medical condition of pilots has a miniscule effect on accident statistics.

My opinion (worth zero cents) is that all gyros except the two type-certificated ones with rotor-heads similar to helicopters, are quirky, unforgiving aircraft that must be flown by extremely knowledgeable, well trained pilots, and even then the machine can put you in an unrecoverable flight condition. I would happily fly an A&S 18A or J-2 McCulloch or Groen, or any of the "golden age" tractors that have ailerons, rudders, and elevators, and a rotor that only makes lift, like the Pitcairn. For me, the Bensen-type tetering rotor head has some design features that make me run away.

That seems like you have very little to no actual experience flying gyroplanes like Magni, MTO, AR-1, ELA etc.
They are not quirky or unforgiving. Coming from other categories of aircraft, they are at the same level of skill required as trikes (in fact trikes require more reflexes and strength if flown in mild turbulence than gyroplanes) and LSA airplanes.
It is however true that more and more older pilots are flying or getting into flying gyroplanes. With that will come problems we find with older drivers or older pilots in all categories.
In short I disagree with your point about flying gyroplanes and I am not sure if you have enough actual first hand experience to make that statement. May be you do but if you do, I am lost at how you come to that conclusion.
 

fara

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There's at least one case of a gyro cfi and his student (used to be on this forum) that died in what I recall was a zero-g type event in the pattern. Not apparently mechanically related. I believe it was an ELA.
I think FW aircraft when trimmed out are inherently much more stable if pilot input is removed (at least temporarily) hence one finds autopilot systems frequently in FW, but rarely in gyros.
Most gyro's require continuous pilot input, so even temporary incapacitation or inattention can get one into trouble in most gyros.

I think you are thinking of the Spanish or German CFI who died in an apparent side slip in an ELA. I don't know if they ever found the exact cause f it but there was some chatter about mast possibly cracking or something. Not really sure. ELA has had structural welding problems with sugaring not using back purge or solar flux on stainless welding which is a must in aviation welding where applicable.
I agree that gyroplanes do require hand on the stick much more than other categories even if the inputs are easy and with less effort. I can see in an incapacitation or senior moment that could be an adverse issue more quickly than others.
 

fara

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@Vance "The two gyroplane flight instructors I knew that died flying a gyroplane both had mechanical failures." ouch!! that seems to blow my idea or mechanical fault being a minor part of the problem out of the water.

phil (de fer)

I know about one mechanical fault causing fatal accident and that was right from the start from amateur built assembly. The bolt connecting the cyclic to the pitch was not secured and worked itself out. Obviously if you do something like that in any aircraft, you are doomed.
 

WaspAir

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WaspAir - Isn’t landing off field due to lack of rising air on the riskier side of flying in a sailplane?
If you become a bold cross-country pilot (not at all an issue for the instructional regime or for local flying), you will face landouts, but you pick your spot well in advance and there is no surprise involved so it is less risky than you might think. Once in a while somebody does a little aircraft damage after touchdown when they find an obstacle surprise in an unimproved field, but it is generally not a big bodily injury risk. Gliders have amazing glide path control with spoilers and/or flaps and they land slowly, using little room. You fly from landable field to landable and it's not a big deal. In primary instruction, you stay within a few miles of an airport so you can always make it back. Training aircraft have glide ratios of about 30:1 more or less and single seaters much better (45 to 50 is fairly common). You have LOTS of choices in range from any reasonable cross country altitude (we fly them much higher than gyros, too).

The only unique traing risk is "kiting" on the launch, pulling up the towplane tail and scaring the tow pilot (who will release the rope if you frighten him too much). It is an easy error to avoid and to teach avoidance. We also practice ad nauseum what to do if the tow rope fails. The dreaded 180 to return to the runway that makes airplane pilots turn pale is a nonevent with a big glide ratio, and my 14 year old students can handle it from 200 feet without stress.
 
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