More fun flying The Predator.

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,206
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Glad to have you along Belair Frank!

Glad to have you along Belair Frank!

That is a very nice thing to say and it takes effort on your part.

Sharing the joy with friends adds to my joy; even friends I have never met.

People used to ask me what can you do with a gyroplane so I started writing about my gyroplane adventures. My flight to IZA was a perfect example. I found joy in the environment, the flight, the aircraft, the friends and the places. It started with three failed missions and turned into a wonderful, memorable day. I didn’t get what I wanted but I found by trying I got what I needed.

I try to go to as many gyroplane events as I can Jamie. I recommend that to anyone getting into the gyroplane adventure. I have befriended some remarkable people and learned a lot. I hope Frank takes your council.

I should be leaving for Mentone tomorrow morning. It is a little over 30 hour drive for me. I wont make Air Venture this year because I am short of funds because of some unexpected expense. It is a part of my gyroplane adventure.
 

FRANK'S

Super Supporter
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Messages
570
Location
ONTARIO CANADA
Aircraft
1975 Bensen B8-M A65 Continental
Total Flight Time
3
Franks Vance is usually at Mentone . Consider going someday.


I live in Ontario Canada 1/2 way from Montreal Quebec and Ottawa Ontario.
There is no way and time for me to make the drive with my work.

but maybe someday I will fly. well I wish. going for more test.
 

kyron

Newbie
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
36
Location
Encinitas
Have a safe trip to Mentone Vance.
I can't wait to have my own Gyroplane adventures.
My Vantasy is still for us to fly to Air Venture in my Cavalon.
I am grateful you are my CFI...I continue to learn so much from you everytime we talk.
Best,
Kyron
 

groundhog

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
Messages
450
Location
midland,on,ca
@ franks Yes a 12 hour drive must be planned . I would encourage you to take the time someday. Puts faces to names ,and the exposure to all things gyro including all the seminars is invaluble. Best done with a camper because there is complete facilities on site.Every kind of gyro you can imagine , but a small enough group to lend a family reunion air.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,206
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
A simple flight to SBP!

A simple flight to SBP!

I trained with a new to me student in his Cavalon till 8:00 PM Saturday so I was ready for a relaxing flight up to San Luis Obispo Sunday afternoon for lunch.

It was a little crowded in the hangar now so I spent some time rearranging things and worked on the latest design of the inflight adjustable trim using a linier actuator. It doesn’t do as much as an air system but it is less complicated.

It was warming up and I worked up a sweat doing the pre-flight on The Predator. I have had to clean up less oil since I found the leak at the back (magneto side) of the engine.

I love having such a nice gyroplane to preflight in such a nice hangar. For me it is aviation foreplay.

I did not find a single thing to fix or adjust after a half hour of careful inspection. I had two hours of fuel on board.

Lockheed Martin had AIRMET Sierra for low ceilings and mountain obscuration so VFR flight was not recommended along my route of flight. The briefer checked the satellite images and said it was mostly off shore but it was moving toward San Luis Obispo (SBP). There was a pirep for a 20kt wind shear on the approach to runway 29 at San Luis Obispo from a Piper PA28.

I love the sound of the Lycoming coming to life between the hangars. She stumbled a little before she settled into a nice idle with the sound reverberating off the metal hangars.

I checked the ATIS and the wind was 290 degrees at 7kts.

Santa Maria Ground; Experimental Gyroplane 142 Mike Golf at Mike with Xray, taxi to runway three zero.

After a pause ground came back: “Gyroplane 142 Mike Golf; runway 30; taxi via Alpha, Alpha eight.”

The wind sock told a different story as we taxied out. As usual the five windsocks were each blowing in a different direction. The two near mid field looked more like 260 at 12kts and the one up on the hangar looked closer to 210 degrees at 15kts, the one near 30 looked straight down the runway (300 degrees).

The magneto check went well and I worked my way through my pre-takeoff list.

“Gyroplane 142 Mike Golf, straight out approved; runway three zero clear for takeoff.”

I advanced the throttle slightly and pressed the pre-rotator button ready for the magic to begin.

The blades came up nicely and we were off quickly. I pulled the power back at 800 feet MSL (540 feet AGL) and continued a very shallow climb looking to see 1,300 feet over the bluff where we live.

The line of blue along the shoreline was missing and the fog chased me inland.

I love the visibility in The Predator and I could see Ed in the back yard waving. I circled around and waved back.

I have The Predator trimmed for about 55kts solo at my students request (they actually want inflight adjustable trim) and I just sort of rumbled along at about 50kts as I checked the ATIS for San Luis Obispo (SBP). Wind was 270 degrees at 12kts and runway two niner was in use.

I called the tower from 13 miles to the south west at 1,300 feet and they had me ident twice. There were two aircraft nearby and they gave me some traffic alerts. At four miles I heard; “Gyroplane Two Mike Golf proceed direct to the numbers; runway two niner clear to land.”

There was a Cessna on a left down wind that was “number two behind the gyroplane at your twelve o’clock, two miles; report in sight.” He never saw me till I was over the numbers.

I didn’t find the wind shear but on short final I saw the windsock mid field move to an almost direct crosswind of about 15kts and then slowly back just before I touched down.

“Gyroplane Two Mike Golf taxi directly ahead to restaurant parking on this frequency.”

I marveled at the joy I found in this simple flight as I filled out my log book and secured the rotor.

It had been a couple of weeks since I had eaten at the Spirit of San Luis and they treated me like the prodigal son.
 

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Monarchist

MTO Sport Owner
Joined
Apr 20, 2007
Messages
1,066
Location
Austin, TX
Aircraft
MTO Sport, R22/R44, Cirrus SR22-G3 Turbo, Bonanza B35-N (dead engine), Aurora Butterfly
Total Flight Time
800
Thanks for sharing Vance...they certainly knew you when I landed at San Luis Obispo last year. That restaurant was great, and I remember very well the satisfaction of ending the day there, waiting on my wife to show up in the Mustang convertible we had rented. The flight up from Santa Barbara was incredible.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,206
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Thank you for chiming in John.

Thank you for chiming in John.

I worry people suspect me of exaggerating about how well I am treated at SBP and the Spirit of San Luis.

My picture is on the wall in the bar and I have been on the airport calendar.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,206
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Back to Santa Maria.

Back to Santa Maria.

After a nice lunch and some good conversation I filled up The Predator and gave her a preflight.

All seemed good so I called Lockheed Martin and AIRMET Sierra was still in effect with little change.

I could see the fog just spilling into the Edna Valley and it seemed like a good excuse to go inland over Lake Lopez and down the Huasna valley to the Twitchell reservoir.

“Gyroplane 142 Mike Golf; right down wind approved, runway two niner clear for takeoff.”

Lift off was nice but I slowed from 1,000 feet per minute to 600 feet per minute climb at 60kts. I looked for a mechanical reason but mixture and rpm were good. Noise abatement suggests that I not turn right crosswind till over Tank Farm Road and I left the power in. I was almost ready to ask for a return when I turned downwind and started climbing at almost 1,200 feet per minute. The winds didn’t seem that strong and my ground speed was only about ten knots faster than my indicated air speed so I didn’t expect that kind of difference.

I was surprised to see 1,900 feet (1,600 AGL) abeam my takeoff point.

I had a better view of the fog and it reaffirmed my decision to go inland. I needed 2,000 feet to clear the ridgeline so I reduced power enjoying the effortless feeling of just rumbling along still climbing.

I reduced power further as I neared the hills and still continued to climb. I pulled her to idle and coasted over Lake Lopez all the way to the dam with the swish of the rotor being the dominant sound. I could feel the change in the air on my face as we rocked and rolled along in some turbulence over the lake.

It was a lovely mix of the sea air and the fresh water lake.

I added some power over the dam and continued to descend as the Huasna (pronounced Wasna) valley opened up before me.

I could feel the heat rising out of the valley and some of the gusts had the feel of the cool ocean air. It seemed like the perfect altitude as I circled around with some hawks.

I followed the river, mostly dry and it soon narrowed. I reminded myself of the nearly invisible single wire that is strung across the canyon between two black wooden poles and stayed a little high.

I checked the SMX ATIS and checked in with information Bravo at 2,000 feet.

“Gyroplane 142 Mike Golf; traffic at your one o’clock maneuvering at 3,000 feet, altitude unverified.”

I pulled the power back and searched the sky. I found the traffic and it appeared he was at 3,000 feet and maneuvering in a most unpredictable way. I let the tower know I had traffic in sight and was to make a base entry for runway three zero and report three miles.

I wasn’t ready for the flight to end so I slowed down to 45kts enjoying hazy view of the Santa Maria Valley. Before I could report I was cleared to land. There were soon four more aircraft inbound from three different directions so I picked up the speed. Number two couldn’t find the gyroplane despite three reports of my location. I touched down and was off quickly.

“Thanks for your help Vance; taxi to parking via Alpha, Mike and monitor ground. Have a good evening Vance.”

I don’t know how they do it. Two more aircraft were inbound by the time I crossed the hold short line and he still has time to thank me wish me a good evening.

It took me a while to get over my afterglow and it was fun to see the toy packed hangar. The Cavalon should be a short guest but there is no telling.

I worked to put a lesson plan together for a high time fixed wing pilot flying up from San Diego on Tuesday and staying for three days at the Radisson.

Life treats me well.
 

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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,206
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
A smokey flight to San Luis Obispo.

A smokey flight to San Luis Obispo.

I have been doing a lot of training lately so my recreational flying has diminished.

Most of my clients would prefer I not described how they nearly killed us so I only write about it in a general way.

A client cancelled and I was going to fly to Camarillo for lunch but there is a large fire temporary flight restriction north of Santa Barbara making the only route east along the 101 through the Gaviota pass. There are many reasons that the winds can be particularly challenging through the pass and they were predicting 24kt winds. I checked the weather before leaving home and thought about a plan B as I wandered across the fields.

A simple flight to San Luis Obispo seemed appropriate. The smoke from the fire takes away from the beauty but not the magic.

My normal gate at the airport is broken and they are digging holes everywhere to repair the pavement. The gate I am using opens very slowly giving me time to appreciate the access I have to this magical airport and our hangar.

Pre-flight took a little longer looking for landing gear damage and adjusting things for me in the front seat.

Leidos (formerly Lockheed Martin) had AIRMET Sierra in effect for ceilings below 1,200 feet and mountain obscuration but my route of flight looked good.

The Predator fired right up and quickly settled down to a steady idle. I checked the ATIS and the wind was straight down the runway at 11kts.

I worked down my pre-takeoff list. Oil pressure in the green, lean for taxi, alternator on, GPS on, seat belt secure, helmet secure, set altimeter, activate spot, transponder to standby, check for 1200, and call ground for taxi instructions. It may not seem reasonable; I have become even more focused on my lists since I began instructing. I don’t know if it because I am trying to set a good example or if I am more embarrassed as a CFI when I forget things.

Either way I take pleasure in knowing everything is done when I cross the hold short line.

The ATIS was fifty minutes old so I asked ground for a wind check. 300 degrees at 16kts was the response. I asked for a taxi to runway three zero.

The magneto check went well, I switched the transponder to mode C, taxied up to the hold short line and switched to tower frequency. “Experimental Gyroplane One Four Two Mike Golf holding short of runway three zero at Alpha eight, ready for departure, request straight out to the North West.”

“I have a tanker on a four mile straight in Vance, no delay; Experimental One Four Two Mike Golf, runway three zero clear for takeoff.”

The blades came up quickly as I rolled to the centerline and I was off in less than 100 feet.

It all felt kind of slow motion and dreamlike without the distraction of a student. I still talked myself through the takeoff procedure and complimented myself on a smooth lift off and airspeed control.

There appeared to be fog along the beach so I chose a more direct route. Ed heard me coming and was in the back yard waving as I circled around heading for the water tower.

I have the trim set for around 50kts solo because that is about 70kts two up. I am still thinking on the inflight adjustable trim because most students don’t like the back pressure. It makes her feel kind of effortless as we wandered over Nipomo at 50kts.

The turbulence was picking up and I still found it easy to halve practical test standards (plus/minus ten knots and plus/minus 100 feet). Instructing is making me a better pilot and I found joy in it.

“San Luis Obispo Tower, Experimental Gyroplane One Four Two Mike Golf, 13 miles to the south west at one thousand two hundred feet, inbound direct with Victor.”

A new to me voice responded; “Experimental One Four Two Mike Golf ident and what type experimental.”

Slowly I replied “Experimental GYROPLANE One Four Two Mike Golf ident.”

“Gyroplane One Four Two Mike Golf, make a left base entry for runway two niner, report one mile and stay south of the centerline for runway two niner.” was his response.

Over the ridge entering the Edna Valley I caught a lot of lift and slowed down to 20kts without descending at cruise power enjoying the view and the moment.

About two miles out I heard a familiar female voice say; “gyroplane Two Mike Golf, runway two niner clear to land.”

I watched the windsock near my touchdown point and it was moving around through about 30 degrees always straight out. There was a group of about eight pilots in transient parking and I saw one of them point at me and they all turned around.

We floated to the ground in a most elegant way and ATC said “what is you parking Vance”.

“Gyroplane Two Mike Golf; Restaurant parking.”

“Gyroplane Two Mike Golf, cross taxiway Alpha to transient parking, monitor ground and have a nice lunch Vance.”

“Thank you”

The rotor was still spinning over 100 rpm as I pulled up and started through my shut down list. It was still whistling as I shut the engine down and applied the rotor brake. I watched for the rotor to be straight across as she spooled down. I liked the sound a lot.

I let Ed know we had landed safely with Spot and filled out my log book.

I checked the GPS trip and found that we had averaged 46kts for the 29 nautical mile flight despite my more direct route on what was supposed to be a 22 nautical mile flight.

It was the first time no one asked me about The Predator on the patio and I enjoyed the solitude.
 

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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,206
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Autogiro Dreaming on a Summers Day.

Autogiro Dreaming on a Summers Day.

I was still in the afterglow of my flight up when I called Leidos from the Spirit of San Luis restaurant. The winds were picking up and the fog was moving in.

I fueled up, and worked through my preflight.

I checked the ATIS and called ground for a taxi to runway two niner.

I asked for an early left cross wind departure and was told to fly runway heading for inbound traffic.

The Runway at SBP is a little bumpy and one of the bumps launched us prematurely. A gust caught us and finished the job. The Predator just pulled thought it and climbed out nicely.

There was a lot of turbulence off the hills as I followed a creek toward the Avilla Pass. I had recently told a student to just fly through the turbulence letting his Cavalon manage things without a lot of input. I followed my own advice and found The Predator sort of averaged out the ups and downs and wigs and wags. I have learned this many times before; it was just on my mind from instructing and I did it more consciously.

I continued to effortless fly to better than practical test standards despite the turbulence.

The ocean seemed even deeper blue than normal as we made our way over Shell Beach.

My friend who gives biplane rides in his Stearman was just taking off as I made my three mile call to Oceano.

I tried to get his picture but it didn’t work out.

As I passed Oceano I could see low broken clouds along the shoreline so I turned east at Oso Flaco and climbed to 800 feet.

I checked the ATIS for SMX and called inbound with Zulu. I was to make left traffic for runway three zero and report down wind.

As we drifted across the Santa Maria Valley I felt a strong urge to just keep going. It all seemed very dreamlike as the feel of the ocean air was replaced with the scent of the different crops in the fields.

I was shaken from my trance with the smell of the water treatment plant.

Before I could report left downwind runway three zero was clear to land.

The digging crew was holding their shovels near taxiway Alpha and seemed to take pleasure in our landing.

Mitch was working on his Mooney that he had just sold. They were flying it cross country and he wanted her to be perfect.

After a slow post flight inspection I checked with Phil to make sure the Cavalon would be ready for Monday’s lesson. He is replacing the engine mount rubbers and the after muffler and even though he was supposed to start on it yesterday he felt he would be finished and back in the hangar by Friday evening when he closed for the holiday.

I was pleased to find that working as a CFI had only enhanced my joy of flying.
 

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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,206
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Who would have thought?

Who would have thought?

Who would have thought I would have so much doing so little in The Predator.

Despite our divergent opinions and my pedantic nature John Rountree has recommended some wonderful clients to me.

Dave is one of those. On our initial contact I found out he was uncommonly smart, had ridden over 240,000 on two wheels in the LA area and had some amazing experiences in his life flying higher in the back seat than I will ever be (65,000 feet). He had only touched one gyroplane and had never flown in one. He has no real piloting experience of any kind although he has spent a lot of time flying for work and occasionally gets to exercise the controls.

He was asking for a proper introduction to gyroplanes and I recommended two and a half hours of ground and an hour and a half of flight time. I warned him about the possibility of the weather making things not work out as planned. He agreed to this and my fee.

He rode his Silver Wing up from Long Beach (about three hours each way) and as I suspected he found the correct gate and was ten minutes early still very cold from the fog over 154. At 10:20 the beacon at SMX was still rotating indicating instrument flight conditions.

The preflight went well with Dave noticing enough detail to give me confidence he would do a careful preflight on his own aircraft.

We covered airport procedures, signs and markings. We walked out to the taxi way as part of this and could see there was a wall of fog to the west over my practice area.

It was clearly time for plan B that would not fit into our allotted time schedule. Plan B was to fly to San Luis Obispo over the Huasna Valley and I figured we would not be back before 4:30 and done with the briefing till after 5:00 giving Dave a cold ride home arriving after sunset.

Dave told me to take all the time necessary so I ran with it.

We spent some time with the chart talking about all the information displayed there and our route of flight to miss the fog.

I put the call to Leidos (formerly Lockheed Martin) on speaker phone and we learned a lot about the weather and the flight from SMX to SBP. The winds were expected to shift 180 degrees during our flight but were not expected to exceed 17kts. This suggested turbulence in the Huasna Valley and I told Dave I might need to take the controls and would expect to take the controls in the bowl over Lake Lopez. We went into exchange of controls at some length.

The wind socks were all blowing in different directions and at different velocities but no worse than usual.

The magneto check went well and I worked my way down the pre-flight list.

I asked for a right cross wind departure to the North East and we received immediate clearance.

Dave later remarked that the takeoff was nicer than he expected and was surprised at the way we floated into the air. He could feel all the elements of the takeoff I had described.

At 400 feet I gave Dave the rudder pedals and he exercised them nicely. At 700 feet (500 feet AGL) I gave him all the controls and told him to turn right and continue to climb to 1,300 feet over the city of Santa Maria. His turn was a little tentative as could be expected and his air speed control was better than expected.

We caught some pretty good winds over the city and our flight path was slightly erratic as Dave learned about how the winds affected The Predator and how to respond. My directions for pilotage were probably a little abstruse.

I pointed out that we were slightly over practical test standards for altitude and he pulled the power and lowered the nose. I was getting a little nervous as I saw 75kts indicated airspeed but Dave responded to my verbal instructions and I never had to touch the cyclic. We were aiming for 60kts.

After we crossed the river (dry) and were outside SMX class Delta airspace I took the aircraft controls briefly to demonstrate recognition and recover from slow air speed and a high rate of descent and steep turns. I gave Dave back the aircraft controls instructing him to climb to 2,300 feet over the ridge. I could see Dave getting a feel for the up and down drafts.

His flight was so steady for altitude and airspeed he seldom exceeded the practical test standards and was usually closer to plus or minus five knots and plus or minus 50 feet.

Dave did some ground reference maneuvers and then I told him to just wander around for a bit to explore how it felt. After brief tentative lefts and rights he explored steep turns.

There was enough turbulence at the end of the valley and Dave handled it so well that I decided to have him fly all the way to base.

I checked the SBP ATIS and called the tower. She said to make left traffic for runway 11 and report abeam. The hills do not allow a forty five degree entry and that makes keeping clear of the center line more challenging. Dave did well with my “aim slightly to the left of the cone thing (one of the sisters).”

I took the controls to turn base and did no better with the turbulence than Dave. The wind was blowing nearly directly across the runway from our right and occasionally gusting from behind us lifting her tail.

Dave took a video with his cell phone and it was easy to see how much we were being tossed around.

I was considering going around and then like magic we found a somewhat calm spot and I put her down at the taxi way and scooted off the runway.

They are still training the new guy and I was to contact ground.

He was right in the middle of a clearance and told the pilot to hold on the read back.

I asked him for taxi to restaurant parking and he incorrectly told us to taxi to parking via Alpha.

As soon as we sat down on the patio a nice man from Palm Desert asked us a length about The Predator. He was not a pilot but lives near an airport. He had never seen a gyroplane in person and had lots of questions. I had to ask him to allow us to get to the debrief.

We had a nice debrief over lunch and then I explained the fueling procedures. With the windshield in place I can’t get out so Dave would be doing the fueling.

Like everything else he managed the somewhat confusing self-serve pump well.

We took off on runway one one with a pretty good gusting cross wind and I gave Dave the controls at 600 feet. I could feel a more relaxed attitude as the turbulence bounced us around.

Pictures one and three are on the flight up and you can see Dave’s intensity. Picture six is climbing out from SBP and it is easy to see he is more relaxed and having more fun.

We flew along the hills at 1,700 feet looking for the gap to Lake Lopez. Dave handled the turbulence well and I could feel him improving with each challenge.

We did some ground reference maneuvers over the Huasna valley and if it had been his practical test he would have passed easily despite the difficult conditions.

I had him thread his way through the canyon from the Huasna valley to the Twitchell reservoir.

I had trouble receiving the Santa Maria ATIS so I told Dave to just wander around the reservoir while I made the radio calls. I could feel a new freedom and boldness as we cavorted around.

Wind at SMX was 290 degrees at 16kts.

I called the tower 10 miles to the north east over Twitchell reservoir at 1,700 feet inbound with Romeo.

“Experimental 142 Mike Golf, make a base entry for runway 30; runway 30 clear to land.”

I repeated the clearance. Given the winds we were still 15 minutes from touchdown. I suspect it was ATC humor.

On short base I confirmed our clearance and asked for closed traffic. Left closed traffic was approved.

I took the controls after Dave had turned final and demonstrated a vertical descent from 1,000 feet AGL to a dead stick landing. It went well and I figured I might have Dave do some takeoffs and landings despite too much wind. The takeoff did not go well with full left rudder needed to maintain the centerline although the lift off was nice.

I felt Dave was unlikely to learn much other than why there would be wind limits imposed on his solo sign off so I demonstrated two more landings and called it a day letting Dave handle the somewhat challenging spool down as we taxied back to the hangar.

There were lots of learning opportunities and based on our debrief Dave grasped them all.

We also spent some time strategizing on how to accomplish his gyroplane goals.

After we shook hands and waved goodbye I reviewed the flight in my mind and marveled at how much fun I had doing almost nothing.

Dave had been the sole manipulator of the controls for all but the takeoffs, landings and one demonstration for 1.9 hours of flight in The Predator under difficult conditions.

I talked to Ed about how much joy I had found doing so little and she felt I needed to share the fun with our friends on the Rotary Wing Forum.

I called Dave and it was ok with him. He has read the forum as a guest but never posted.

I am hoping this will motivate him to join and share the fun of his gyroplane adventure. He has already joined the PRA.

Ed liked the picture of the stern taskmaster gyroplane CFI at SBP that Dave took.

The last three pictures are of Dave in his flight suit, the aircraft (WB57-F) he was flying back seat of and the view. He flew over 50 missions and reached 65,000 feet. I feel there were not a lot of skills that transfer to flying The Predator.
 

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GyrOZprey

Aussie in Kansas.
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
2,992
Location
Whitewater KS
Aircraft
Butterfly Aurora N5560Z / Titanium Explorer N456TE & N488TE/ - trained in MTOsport 446QT/488FB
Total Flight Time
783
Very nice story Vance

Very nice story Vance

Your new flight adventures with the interesting diversity of your students has added a fascinating aspect to your posts!
Thanks for sharing & to Dave also for the permission to share!
It's good to see you enjoying your CFI-gyro experiences after the sacrifices & challenges to get there - last year!
 

MarkG

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2008
Messages
246
Location
Mountain View, AR
Aircraft
2008 Corvette Z06 640HP
Total Flight Time
800+
Who would have thought I would have so much doing so little in The Predator.

Despite our divergent opinions and my pedantic nature John Rountree has recommended some wonderful clients to me.

Dave is one of those. On our initial contact I found out he was uncommonly smart, had ridden over 240,000 on two wheels in the LA area and had some amazing experiences in his life flying higher in the back seat than I will ever be (65,000 feet). He had only touched one gyroplane and had never flown in one. He has no real piloting experience of any kind although he has spent a lot of time flying for work and occasionally gets to exercise the controls.

He was asking for a proper introduction to gyroplanes and I recommended two and a half hours of ground and an hour and a half of flight time. I warned him about the possibility of the weather making things not work out as planned. He agreed to this and my fee.

He rode his Silver Wing up from Long Beach (about three hours each way) and as I suspected he found the correct gate and was ten minutes early still very cold from the fog over 154. At 10:20 the beacon at SMX was still rotating indicating instrument flight conditions.

The preflight went well with Dave noticing enough detail to give me confidence he would do a careful preflight on his own aircraft.

We covered airport procedures, signs and markings. We walked out to the taxi way as part of this and could see there was a wall of fog to the west over my practice area.

It was clearly time for plan B that would not fit into our allotted time schedule. Plan B was to fly to San Luis Obispo over the Huasna Valley and I figured we would not be back before 4:30 and done with the briefing till after 5:00 giving Dave a cold ride home arriving after sunset.

Dave told me to take all the time necessary so I ran with it.

We spent some time with the chart talking about all the information displayed there and our route of flight to miss the fog.

I put the call to Leidos (formerly Lockheed Martin) on speaker phone and we learned a lot about the weather and the flight from SMX to SBP. The winds were expected to shift 180 degrees during our flight but were not expected to exceed 17kts. This suggested turbulence in the Huasna Valley and I told Dave I might need to take the controls and would expect to take the controls in the bowl over Lake Lopez. We went into exchange of controls at some length.

The wind socks were all blowing in different directions and at different velocities but no worse than usual.

The magneto check went well and I worked my way down the pre-flight list.

I asked for a right cross wind departure to the North East and we received immediate clearance.

Dave later remarked that the takeoff was nicer than he expected and was surprised at the way we floated into the air. He could feel all the elements of the takeoff I had described.

At 400 feet I gave Dave the rudder pedals and he exercised them nicely. At 700 feet (500 feet AGL) I gave him all the controls and told him to turn right and continue to climb to 1,300 feet over the city of Santa Maria. His turn was a little tentative as could be expected and his air speed control was better than expected.

We caught some pretty good winds over the city and our flight path was slightly erratic as Dave learned about how the winds affected The Predator and how to respond. My directions for pilotage were probably a little abstruse.

I pointed out that we were slightly over practical test standards for altitude and he pulled the power and lowered the nose. I was getting a little nervous as I saw 75kts indicated airspeed but Dave responded to my verbal instructions and I never had to touch the cyclic. We were aiming for 60kts.

After we crossed the river (dry) and were outside SMX class Delta airspace I took the aircraft controls briefly to demonstrate recognition and recover from slow air speed and a high rate of descent and steep turns. I gave Dave back the aircraft controls instructing him to climb to 2,300 feet over the ridge. I could see Dave getting a feel for the up and down drafts.

His flight was so steady for altitude and airspeed he seldom exceeded the practical test standards and was usually closer to plus or minus five knots and plus or minus 50 feet.

Dave did some ground reference maneuvers and then I told him to just wander around for a bit to explore how it felt. After brief tentative lefts and rights he explored steep turns.

There was enough turbulence at the end of the valley and Dave handled it so well that I decided to have him fly all the way to base.

I checked the SBP ATIS and called the tower. She said to make left traffic for runway 11 and report abeam. The hills do not allow a forty five degree entry and that makes keeping clear of the center line more challenging. Dave did well with my “aim slightly to the left of the cone thing (one of the sisters).”

I took the controls to turn base and did no better with the turbulence than Dave. The wind was blowing nearly directly across the runway from our right and occasionally gusting from behind us lifting her tail.

Dave took a video with his cell phone and it was easy to see how much we were being tossed around.

I was considering going around and then like magic we found a somewhat calm spot and I put her down at the taxi way and scooted off the runway.

They are still training the new guy and I was to contact ground.

He was right in the middle of a clearance and told the pilot to hold on the read back.

I asked him for taxi to restaurant parking and he incorrectly told us to taxi to parking via Alpha.

As soon as we sat down on the patio a nice man from Palm Desert asked us a length about The Predator. He was not a pilot but lives near an airport. He had never seen a gyroplane in person and had lots of questions. I had to ask him to allow us to get to the debrief.

We had a nice debrief over lunch and then I explained the fueling procedures. With the windshield in place I can’t get out so Dave would be doing the fueling.

Like everything else he managed the somewhat confusing self-serve pump well.

We took off on runway one one with a pretty good gusting cross wind and I gave Dave the controls at 600 feet. I could feel a more relaxed attitude as the turbulence bounced us around.

Pictures one and three are on the flight up and you can see Dave’s intensity. Picture six is climbing out from SBP and it is easy to see he is more relaxed and having more fun.

We flew along the hills at 1,700 feet looking for the gap to Lake Lopez. Dave handled the turbulence well and I could feel him improving with each challenge.

We did some ground reference maneuvers over the Huasna valley and if it had been his practical test he would have passed easily despite the difficult conditions.

I had him thread his way through the canyon from the Huasna valley to the Twitchell reservoir.

I had trouble receiving the Santa Maria ATIS so I told Dave to just wander around the reservoir while I made the radio calls. I could feel a new freedom and boldness as we cavorted around.

Wind at SMX was 290 degrees at 16kts.

I called the tower 10 miles to the north east over Twitchell reservoir at 1,700 feet inbound with Romeo.

“Experimental 142 Mike Golf, make a base entry for runway 30; runway 30 clear to land.”

I repeated the clearance. Given the winds we were still 15 minutes from touchdown. I suspect it was ATC humor.

On short base I confirmed our clearance and asked for closed traffic. Left closed traffic was approved.

I took the controls after Dave had turned final and demonstrated a vertical descent from 1,000 feet AGL to a dead stick landing. It went well and I figured I might have Dave do some takeoffs and landings despite too much wind. The takeoff did not go well with full left rudder needed to maintain the centerline although the lift off was nice.

I felt Dave was unlikely to learn much other than why there would be wind limits imposed on his solo sign off so I demonstrated two more landings and called it a day letting Dave handle the somewhat challenging spool down as we taxied back to the hangar.

There were lots of learning opportunities and based on our debrief Dave grasped them all.

We also spent some time strategizing on how to accomplish his gyroplane goals.

After we shook hands and waved goodbye I reviewed the flight in my mind and marveled at how much fun I had doing almost nothing.

Dave had been the sole manipulator of the controls for all but the takeoffs, landings and one demonstration for 1.9 hours of flight in The Predator under difficult conditions.

I talked to Ed about how much joy I had found doing so little and she felt I needed to share the fun with our friends on the Rotary Wing Forum.

I called Dave and it was ok with him. He has read the forum as a guest but never posted.

I am hoping this will motivate him to join and share the fun of his gyroplane adventure. He has already joined the PRA.

Ed liked the picture of the stern taskmaster gyroplane CFI at SBP that Dave took.

The last three pictures are of Dave in his flight suit, the aircraft (WB57-F) he was flying back seat of and the view. He flew over 50 missions and reached 65,000 feet. I feel there were not a lot of skills that transfer to flying The Predator.
Very Cool Vance!! I guess he liked it!! LOL!!
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
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Messages
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Nipomo,California
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Givens Predator
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Fun! Fun! Fun!

Fun! Fun! Fun!

Thank you Chris.

I am having fun as a CFI beyond anything I could imagine.

The greatest joy comes for overcoming a challenge that the student has. In this case Dave did well from the start. I like to think that this validates my focus on ground instruction. I suspect Dave would have done well with any instructor.

I feel flying a gyroplane is not that hard and some of us make it more difficult than it is.


We both love The Predator Mark. Dave found The Predator to be vice free and predictable.
 

All_In

Gold Supporter
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Not sure over 10,000+ logged FW, 260+ ultralights, sailplane, hang-gliders
Who would have thought I would have so much doing so little in The Predator.

Despite our divergent opinions and my pedantic nature John Rountree has recommended some wonderful clients to me.
...
Hi Buddy
I ran a flight school for over 10 years during that time I hired and fired 100's of instructors.
You use the same teaching methodology of ground school prior to the maneuvers being flown and the after flying debriefing.
We found that this really reduces the # of hours required to get your ticket.
And you also gave me an 'E' ticket ride at El Mirage and know you are a GREAT pilot!
So I do not hesitate to recommend you and I still consider us friends despite your picking on my posts if they have anything to do with passing on what the pro's have taught me on this forum. Often it's the pro's quote that I'm repeating and you did not pick on them.
Also living in California and being an independent with conservative economic beliefs I learned long ago that if I wish to keep all my liberal friends it fine if they have different opinions. It is only an opinion worth exactly what we are paying for it = nothing!

I hope once I have more time in type you will lighten up but I will still love you no matter what!
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,206
Location
Nipomo,California
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Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Hi Buddy
I ran a flight school for over 10 years during that time I hired and fired 100's of instructors.
You use the same teaching methodology of ground school prior to the maneuvers being flown and the after flying debriefing.
We found that this really reduces the # of hours required to get your ticket.
And you also gave me an 'E' ticket ride at El Mirage and know you are a GREAT pilot!
So I do not hesitate to recommend you and I still consider us friends despite your picking on my posts if they have anything to do with passing on what the pro's have taught me on this forum. Often it's the pro's quote that I'm repeating and you did not pick on them.
Also living in California and being an independent with conservative economic beliefs I learned long ago that if I wish to keep all my liberal friends it fine if they have different opinions. It is only an opinion worth exactly what we are paying for it = nothing!

I hope once I have more time in type you will lighten up but I will still love you no matter what!
Thank you John, that is nice to know.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,206
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Training Challenges:

Training Challenges:

I have run into this with almost all clients learning how to fly a gyroplane to different degrees so please don’t imagine I am speaking of a particular student.

They know what to do intellectually but their body responds inappropriately.

I teach and they say they understand that rudder is for yaw, throttle is for altitude, cyclic is for speed and maneuvering.

If I point out we have exceeded the practical test standards for altitude control and are 200 feet too high the cyclic goes forward before they move the throttle.

During the descent to land we are drifting right because of a cross wind and they are not able to arrest the drift and the nose goes left. When we debrief I ask them how to control our location over the runway and they immediately come back with “cyclic”. I ask them how to get the aircraft aligned with the runway (direction of travel over the ground) and without hesitation they say “rudder”.

The students with the most challenges sometimes stop functioning all together when the disconnect between their mind and body becomes too wide.

I find the solution is iterative and with practice their mind and body become aligned.

Some know what to say in the radio call but what comes out of their mouths is different.

Those with radio experience sometimes find they are not able to make the calls correctly when they are confronted with learning to fly a gyroplane at the same time.

The tower has been very patient despite the student making their job more difficult either by talking too much, not listening before they speak or leaving out required information. I encourage my clients to use “student pilot” as part of their initial contact because of this even if they imagine they know how to use the radio.

The joy I find when things become aligned and I can feel the pieces falling into place is very precious to me.

I recently had a client tell me he was not having fun and patterns were too much work so we wandered around working less hard. On his third day we went back to do some patterns and he exclaimed in surprise; “THAT WAS FUN!”

Who would have thought? I found joy in his transformation.
 

All_In

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Piper Archer, Aviomania G1sb
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Not sure over 10,000+ logged FW, 260+ ultralights, sailplane, hang-gliders
...
If I point out we have exceeded the practical test standards for altitude control and are 200 feet too high the cyclic goes forward before they move the throttle.
...
Hi Buddy

It's normal that mussel response needs to be trained to what the mind knows to do. Same thing when you first learn to ride a bike as a kid. I've seen them pedal backward on the crank and hit the brake. There brain know to pedal forward but they don't always do it.

I have a question about the portion of the quote I've posted. It's true that when flying in the pattern or doing turns around a point in a FW that I reduce power to descend and increase power to climb. This is the same as you teach flying a gyropalne.

However if I'm flying and notice I'm gaining altitude flying cross country I do not reduce power but use the stick or yoke to lower the nose.

We do this on purpose to gain a little extra airspeed so our trip is shorter even if only a few seconds and then we always keep the same power setting especially with a constant speed propeller as we fly power by the book as to RPM's and manifold pressure.

Then we just trim for straight and level to hold the higher airspeed again so our trip is shorter.

In FW's we set power and always look for the descents going down hill to gain airspeed at the same power setting often to almost red line if we can and there is no turbulence. I always calculate the distance to start my decent so I can gain the most airspeed I can for the greatest distance. I never pull power unless I'm near red-line.

It all about gaining the most airspeed/ground speed you can with Fixed wings aircraft.

Why do you have to only use power in a gyro to descend? Are you already at red-line in the gyro?

PS:
It makes me smile, almost giggle, with joy that you are having so much fun as an instructor!!
The way I describe flying also is why I can/could fly the same model airplane as others in our monthly cross-country fly-outs Boarder Aerobatics use to sponsor each month. We always recorded takeoff and landing times as a contest. If the distance was great I could often beat them by 20 or 30 minuets or more.
 
Last edited:

WaspAir

Supreme Allied Gyro CFI
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Colorado front range
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stopped caring at 1000
The last three pictures are of Dave in his flight suit, the aircraft (WB57-F) he was flying back seat of and the view. He flew over 50 missions and reached 65,000 feet.
Long ago when my older brother was in the Air Force, he did electronics maintenance for what they called "F-Troop", a joke name (based on an old cavalry comedy show) for the guys in the 57-Fs. Hard to believe those things started with the old English Electric Canberra with about half the wing!
 

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