I Learned about flying from that...


Gold Supporter
Jul 2, 2007
London/ Kilifi Kenya
Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
The importance of a good pre-flight briefing.

Some time ago I had a friend who I will refer to as Bob who lives a long way away find a way to stop by Santa Maria on a road trip.

The picture is not Bob and Bob is not his real name.

And lo and behold ‘Bob’ was I...if I am not mistaken Vance, on flight which I thoroughly enjoyed and certainly a top gyro flight for me.

If not, then someone else followed my mistake with the mike button, but pretty sure I was the one, much to my chagrin. It was unfortunately easy to inadvertently press

The episode with the mixture is an old but good one, if you do something that results in matters getting worse...reverse what you did. My mistake in not putting to rich for TO.

Luckily my first instructor was a very experienced Instructor from RAF Central Flying School, ie an Instructors Instructor who delighted in 'fan stops’ every lesson, and in a variety of ways. Later on quite near the ground just after TO, just to keep me on my toes.

It was very good training and really sharpened one up to something happening in one the the most critical phases of flight. Thing is to keep calm and, if all else fails, keep control, fly the machine, and land in the most suitable area you can find.

You remained very calm, and I do not think either of us was going to die, unless me of embarrassment if I had not had a restart, we had good spots ahead. I had had so many of those it was almost like a repeat of my initial training, and, as I practice those a lot in my gyro flying as well.

I think almost every flight can be a learning process. I think there remains a large amount of learning by my mistakes because few flight are completely perfect, and most will contain something for me to reflect on.

Enjoyed the ribs later as well.
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Junior Member
Dec 22, 2005
Cornwall, UK
G-BVDJ Cricket gyro
Total Flight Time
112 hrs fixed-wing, 200+ gyro, & too many to remember on gyro-glider
Being busy elsewhere I haven't done this for a while, but as this one happened 19 years ago today and still hurts, I hope it might make someone stop and think before it’s too late.

I haven’t flown many gyroplanes other than my Delta-J. I’m a naturally cautious character in any aspect of life and I think this has helped me survive situations in the air that, were I more confident in my abilities, may have had different results. I’ve never assumed that just because I can fly my bird, I can hop into any other gyroplane and take it up – and I would never forgive myself if I damaged someone else’s machine.

When faced with a new gyro, I like to taxi a bit, two-wheel-balance and hop a little to get the feel of it first. Strapped into a grumbling B8V for the first time, its more natural seating position was fine, but the twist grip throttle and strange wobbling motion of the airframe in synch with the prop felt very strange. It took a good half dozen trips down the runway before I began to get in tune with the beast, but even then I wouldn’t fly it. Another Cricket seemed different again, although it was wearing a 582 and had a similar layout to my own bird, it was like starting from scratch. However, the circumstances in which I flew my first ever new single-seater (Magni M18) didn’t allow me the chance for a few ground runs, despite which I managed to make a reasonable job and returned it in one piece – with great relief all round! I sometimes wonder if I’m too cautious.

In 2001 I was back at Henstridge airfield, when my mate Keith appeared in the circuit with his B8V. I was delighted. Keith had started off on the gyro-glider with me a few years earlier and had returned after obtaining his own machine to learn the important ground work, before basing himself near Henstridge to complete his training. Recently qualified, I hadn’t seen him fly the Bensen before and was very happy to see him make a nice approach and landing.

After catching up with each other, we made for the hangar where several students were preparing their machines for training. Despite his low hours and very recent qualification, Keith seemed to have assumed the role of test pilot and began confidently jumping into various other gyroplanes and steaming off round the circuit in them, obviously loving every minute. This activity continued over the weekend and I was concerned to spot him porpoising quite badly several times and actually run one machine off the runway into the grass, although he was steady and competent in his own Bensen.

I was worried that he was letting his confidence outweigh his experience – surely he should’ve corrected that PIO – he had been very good on the gyro-glider. But he seemed to be having such a good time and the other students were obviously happy for him to fly their machines, that I kept quiet and thought that perhaps it was me who was taking the wrong approach.

How wrong could I be. Just five days later in someone else’s machine, Keith fell out of the sky. No mechanical defect was found. He was only 50 years old: a lovely guy with a great sense of fun and everything to live for. He left his wife and two sons behind – and a big hole in many peoples’ lives. Please think of your families and don’t try to run before you can walk. Don’t be a Keith.


Aussie in Kansas.
Aug 8, 2011
Whitewater KS
Butterfly Aurora N5560Z / Titanium Explorer N456TE & N488TE/ - trained in MTOsport 446QT/488FB
Total Flight Time
BRAVO. Shirley!