M2 912 sport copter


Active Member
For off airport take off and landing on terrain that is not level you need independent brakes to assure directional control when nose is off the ground. It’s not possible with the trike type of braking system. I find free castering and independent brakes are much safer to prevent roll over, and provide the directional control on off airport surfaces.

Also is safer on crosswind take off and landing on paved runways allowing independent rudder and front wheel control. Hard linking rudder and front wheel is stupid in my opinion for crosswind operation since very easy to drop the front wheel accidentally on takeoff or landing for inexperienced pilots resulting in possible rollover. It would be interesting to have gyro pilots with trike system post if they dropped nose on takeoff with crosswind correction applied and tell how the gyro reacted... or on landing....

Wish more gyro manufactures would offer this type of brake system, and castering nose wheel. In the taildragger planes the tail wheel is linked to rudder controls through springs and this could be done on castering nose wheel.


FW and Gyros
they have chosen to go on using free castering nose wheels and differentials brakes saying that this what one
would expect from "real aircraft "
ok it is one choice , but not the only one , other gyros are real aircrafts as well
jm-urbani, have you flown any gyro with castering NW and differential toe brakes?
I have, and it's a great improvement over the commonly pedal-linked NW.
Both takeoffs and landings are easier, removing most risk of a NW tip-over.
It's very forgiving of sloppy landings, such as touching down with any crab, or wheelbarrowing.
The contrast with my RAF is night and day.


Junior Member
Kolibri, Haven't flown any american gyro despite I would have love to own a dom tandem.

as for the nose wheel system, I was just pointing out that saying that a real aircraft is an aircraft using a free castering nose wheel was exagerated do't you think ?

saying that DTA gyros, magni gyros, autogyros gyros, ela gyros etc are not real aircrafts because they have pedal linked nose wheels is not serious, one can say I hate this, I think ot is better etcetc ... OK why not ? but saying a magni (for example) is not an aircraft .. anyway

as for the choice , I don't totally agree with you, I am not saying I totally disagree.

when I am watching US gyro videos I tend to think that american landing technique is different from the french one (mabye Am I wrong)

First of all we always land engine idle (not thrust), it forces us to do a landing flare and when the gyro decides to touch down during the flare our speed is really close to zero making it impossible to tip over when the front wheel touches the grass or the tarmac

secondly we are taugth not to push the stick back ahead until the gyro stops moving

there is nothing touchy, this is simply the way we are landing because in the ultraligth law we are supposed to land idle in order to be able to land in case of an engine failure

thirdly, even if our nose wheels are linked to our rudder pedals , the wheels are placed 5/10 cm behind the fork leg , and in case the nw touches the ground before the gyro stops, the wheel will align with the trajectory unless on press had on the pedal, but is is really impossible

all of this simply get's to the result that we never suffer any rollovers caused by the hard link.

but at the end of the day I think you are rigth, self castering wheels are a better system

as i have no possibility of getting dual trainning on an american gyro I had no choice ... I had to keep the system I was educated on .. it would be stupid self teach myself

but I have copied the aircommand system :


the nose wheel has a couple of deegree of angle freedom, I don't kown how it will do
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FW and Gyros
Bonjour jm-urbani,

Your described landing technique (with a soft-linkage NW) goes a long way to avoiding tip-overs, so, bravo!
However, many gyros and their pilots are different, and they see more NW tip-overs.
A white MTO demonstrated one at 2017 Mentone.

I have chirped the NW of my RAF and felt it grab/pull, but avoided dumping over.
Some of that was a skillful recovery; the rest was luck.

I urge the castering NW to reduce the amount of luck one needs to stay safe.
Having made some sloppy landings in three Sport Copters, their difference really is amazing.
The M2 gear will probably be so forgiving that a chimpanzee could land it.
Jim told me that he's going to upload some close-up videos of (intentionally) bad landings, wheelbarrow take-offs, etc.

I was just pointing out that saying that a real aircraft is an aircraft using a free castering nose wheel was exagerated do't you think
They worded that in a rather jaunty way, I agree, and, yes, gyros are aircraft . . . but, in my opinion, some gyros are more "real aircraft" than others. Design, materials, performance, etc.

Flying in the Côte d'Azur must be a hoot. I rode motorcycles through there years ago; beautiful country!
Enjoy yourself, and stay safe!



Junior Member
@ Kolibri,

Good that you could visit the cote d'azur, It has changed over the years to get from a quite place, deserted in the winter ( crowded in summer) to an hyper commercial place with many events takin place over the year.. Im an old bear wishing to retire in the Aples mountains ... in fact I am too young to retire but if I could ..

I am planning to spend 4 days in the states in the end of june, if I manage to get all arrange soon enough I will attend the Chicago Nascar race with my son ( an old promise when he was 5 and watched the famous film "cars").

I had promised him to attend a Rodeo in Texas ... it is good to fulfill one's promises (((-:

As for Nw the example shows how much classic we all are... it takes long before we change anything of our habits and gear that works

for me it must be psychological in fact... with a free castering nose wheel I fear not to be able to stay on the strip axle when I put on all the watts .. with a tal tail I imagine it is not possible an even safer ... tell me ... self teaching myself to build and use this king of gear is what stopps me

I imagine that if Sport copter company has chosen this kind of system it must be ok, an I trust you when you say it is great

apart from landing how does it behave during taxiing ? ...

the landing style I was speaking about is not difficult ou touchy , and not there to avoid tips over, we are even not aware of any danger of tip overs using our NW type ...

no accidents caused bu this type of Nw is documented in the BEA accident reports and I had never heard of this kind of potential problem before I read thing here a couple of years ago

but again , I will change to a free castering system when I have time .
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FW and Gyros
for me it must be psychological in fact... with a free castering nose wheel I fear not to be able to stay on the strip axle when I put on all the watts
With a pedal-linked NW, on take-off one must be very careful to balance on the mains and not drop the front (and risk a tip-over).
This may be generally difficult for new pilots, and difficult for experienced pilots during gusty days.

Such is not an issue with the castering NW, and, in fact, Vanek's T/O technique is to at first lightly tap the NW during the roll as he balances.
This helps to finesse the power/pitch coupling. (Obviously, this should not be done in an RAF, etc.)

apart from landing how does it behave during taxiing ? ...
Taxiing couldn't be easier with such maneuverability, and SC gyros can turn 360s within their wheelbase.
Pedal-linked nosewheel gyros, however, have a much wider turning radius, and some can't even 180 within a taxiway.

I will change to a free castering system when I have time .
The design trick is to avoid shimmy (like a shopping cart/trolly).
SC developed their own method, and it works well.
(Before the mid-1990s they had had a semi-castering NW, but Jim went to full castering after watching a botched landing tump over the gyro.)

You've a fun USA trip planned, and I hope you even get some flying in over here!

Eric S

Junior Member
My RAF with the Sparrowhawk mod is "semi-castering" with spring loaded tension. It's a steerable nosewheel, but if I tap the front wheel during takeoff it will track straight even if I have rudder input for a crosswind, just like my Sport Copter Vortex. It works well and I think all Sparrowhawks are designed this way, but I'm not sure about Stock RAFs. No differential braking on my Sparrowhawk though, so it won't turn around as tight as my Vortex.

I talked to another pilot who also bought a RAF with the Sparrowhawk mod and on his the nuts on the nosewheel springs were screwed down tight forcing the nosewheel to follow the pedals during rudder input. That's a recipe for a rollover in a crosswind or if not completely stopped before touching down the nosewheel after landing.



FW and Gyros
Eric, your Sparrowhawk has many safety improvements over the RAF, kudos!

The stock RAF has springs in the linkage, which if adjusted correctly, do help a bit -- although there's no safe crosswind rudder usage with NW on the runway. I am very careful when returning to my RAF after flying castering NW gyros.

I believe that many runway and taxiway excursions were at least exacerbated by pedal-linked nosewheels.
Several incidents were outright caused by them, such as OY-1025, ZU-RGU, N571UJ, and G-CIAT.

Perhaps the pedal-linked nosewheel will later be analogous to the design-preventable "HTL" issue.
There is already a corrective trajectory with trailed-link semi-castering NWs (Sparrowhawk, AR-1, TE).
Most gyro mfg. will eventually catch up with 1995 Sport Copter, lol.


Junior Member
@ Eric,
thanks for your imput about semi castering steering system, on my post #23 I have shown a picture of the semicastering système I have buit after a picture of an air command gyroplane.
I don't know if the springs will be stiff enough to steer the wheel when I want to turn while taxiing, I am also wondering if the springs will be compressible enough to allow the wheel to move in the good direction
if you get a chance I would appreciate a picture of the RAF/sparrowhawk nw steering system