More fun flying The Predator.

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
No Title

I had seven days training people to fly and was expecting overcast Sunday and a late start to flying. I felt a little rest might be a good thing.

As I looked out my office window I saw the beginning of a blue sky developing and headed down to the airport to do some maintenance work. When I arrived at the airport the clouds had vanished leaving a mist behind. It was a warm breezy spring day and also open hangar day at Santa Paula.

Didn’t get much done before I checked the weather and found Santa Barbara was still instrument meteorological conditions but my path to Santa Paula and Camarillo looked good on the satellite pictures. I could not resist and soon I was airborne and enjoying the shirt sleeve flying weather.

I climbed a little early and leveled off at 3,500 feet as I headed toward the San Marcos VOR over the farmlands. I passed the Elks Rodeo and the model airplane field as I sort of drifted along at 65kts indicated air speed.

The longer I flew the more joyful I became. The feeling of freedom just seemed to expand in my chest.

Santa Barbara had gone visual flight rules and the controllers were quite busy as I made my way through the San Marcos Pass with the Channel Islands appearing to be floating on the mist. The fog was right up to the shoreline. I started to descend and felt I should remain high in case the fog made it inland so I stayed against the hills catching lift and flying over instead of through no name pass at 3,000 feet with fog off to my right.

As I exited the pass Lake Casitas appeared a sky blue in the distance. I could soon feel the cool air over Lake Casitas on my face and began a joyful laugh that lasted all the way to the Saticoy Bridge.

I checked the ATIS at Camarillo and gave the Camarillo Tower a call from ten miles to the North West as I descended over the hills looking for traffic in that very busy corridor. I was to make right traffic for runway 26 and report a two mile forty five.

As I approached my base turn the tower cleared me to land and then launched a King Air and told him; “no delay for traffic on a right downwind.” As I turned cross wind I slowed to 20kts and just sort of hung out while he delayed.

As I touched down the tower thanked me for my help and told me to contact ground.

Lunch at the Way Point Café was a delight.

The usual magic was present as soon as I landed at Santa Paula.

On the flight home the fog had come in much further and again I followed the ridgeline.

When I got back to the hangar I sat in the afterglow for forty five minutes before pushing her into the hangar.

I love knowing that I introduce people to the opportunity to enjoy such magical adventures by being a flight instructor. I often think of my flight instructors as I pull various tools out of my flight bag and appreciate what they did for me.
 

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FRANK'S

Super Supporter
More Fun Flying the predator is very popular topic. Grats man almost 54k reads.

500 responses
53,586 views

I tried to pm you this but your mail box is full or deactivated.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Thank you Frank, I have been writing on it for since 10/24/2015.
I don’t know why my PM is not working; I will see if I can get that working.
 

FRANK'S

Super Supporter
Tell me vance in your last posted pic's I see lot's of white gray and silver some look like solar panels but can't really tell what the other is.
can you enlighten me?
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
No Title

To maximize the output of the fields the local farmers often cover the growing plants with plastic to protect them from pests, weeds and frost.

The practice of covering the plants also conservers water.

Strawberries in particular are sensitive to frost and pests.
 

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FRANK'S

Super Supporter
Ah Ah we have that too but on a much smaller scale wow that's lots or covering.
we do it here mostly on strawberries. my wife works in a greenhouse and all the plants that are outside need
to be covered if they forecast frost or close to it.

I never ever ever expected that in Cali or in warm or hot region, if I would have seen that in a pic in Canada I would have know what it was but
in southern USA wow not expected you learn something new every month. ( most learn every day but I'm way be on that.) lol

thanks for the reply.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
No Title

Brandon called me up out of the blue with a very short time frame because he wanted to learn about flying a gyroplane. Every now and then I meet someone who is an AVIATOR on a much higher level than I will ever be.

I want to be better so it gave me great pleasure to be able to accommodate him. Brandon is an Edwards’s trained test pilot and he did not disappoint.

I briefed him on my multiple check lists and how to operate things like the radio, transponder and rotor brake in the front seat. There is a lot of information and I was amazed at the way he absorbed it occasionally asking good questions when my information delivery was flawed.

We were expecting some ugly winds in the afternoon and wanted to stay ahead of the weather so I pressed onward.

I demonstrated a takeoff and gave Brandon the controls. I mentioned he was stabbing at the controls just a bit and that was the end of it. His control inputs were smooth as were his roll ins and roll outs. His airspeed and altitude control were half of practical test standards. I took out the camera because I didn’t have much else to do as we headed out to the Pacific and then north along the curved shoreline.

He seemed so serious that several times I asked him if he was having fun and he always shot back YES!

I had him fly past the threshold at San Luis Obispo (SBP) before taking the controls to demonstrate a landing.

For our departure winds at were 270 degrees at 17kts gusting to 24kts so I did the takeoff from runway 29 and soon gave him back the controls.

It was getting gusty and Brandon continued to be very smooth on his control inputs letting The Predator correct herself.

Back at SMX Brandon did some takeoffs and landings and demonstrated great aircraft control.

I love flying with bigger than life aviators and it was nice to see that Brandon exhibited the traits I continue to try to develop.
 

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eddie

RAF, turbo subaru 230hp
Yes some of those guys are just naturals,they can literally fly anything and fly it well,its simply amazing
I struggle just to stay straight and level.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
No Title

I had a client cancel Saturday, July 14 and that allowed me to attend the West Coast Cub Fly In.
https://www.westcoastcubflyin.com/

The Fog lingered Saturday morning so it was almost eleven when I launched.

At Lompoc (LPC) the traffic pattern was busy with Cubs as far as I could see. We slipped in on a right pattern and exited runway two five quickly. I parked away from the main event with The Predator because it is a Cub event and I didn’t want to distract from the Cubs.

The air was heavy with the passion for Cubs and all sorts of aviation.

I love seeing the love that has been lavished on this simple aircraft.

Many have been restored from years of neglect and have wonderful stories that go with them.

I tried to enter the flower bomb/spot landing contest but was refused because I was not flying an airplane.

I had a lovely lunch with some old friends in a whole hangar full of old friends.

After making the rounds and admiring many Cubs I headed back to The Predator to watch the games.

It reminded me of some of the many reasons I like gyroplanes as I watched many of the aircraft competing in the spot landing contest set down on one wheel trying to plant the aircraft after the line. A few did very well and some got a little close to each other.

I was wound down by late afternoon and decided not to stay for the Barbeque.

I checked the Santa Maria weather (ATIS) over Harris Grade and found silence. I called the tower with negative ATIS and they gave me an abbreviated weather report and I was to report the Orcutt Y.

When I reported the Orcutt Y; about four miles from the threshold; I was clear to land. I found some turbulence as I set up for runway 30.

As I approached taxiway Alpha 4 I pulled her to idle and she ballooned up about ten feet during the round out before settling abruptly. A burst of power turned it into a nice landing.

“Experimental 142 Mike Golf, taxi to the hangars via Alpha Four, Alpha; monitor ground; have a good evening Vance.”

I spent a half hour just sitting in the afterglow contemplating what a lovely way to spend a Saturday. A day of flying, friends and a tower where they know my name. I was headed home to a loving wife. Life treats me well.
 

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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
No Title

EAA chapter 170 is based at the San Luis Obispo Reginal Airport aka McChesney Field (SBP) and they were having a particularly interesting presentation about the multi decade long restoration of a Ryan STM-2. In the 20s my father was a demo pilot for Ryan and I have always liked the looks of the Ryan STs.

It is about a 40 minute drive from our home to SBP and it is a 20 minute drive to Santa Maria (SMX) and then a half hour flight so when the morning fog is lingering I sometimes have to drive to make the 12:00 meeting. I had done my preflight the night before so there were only some minor things to attend to and get a weather briefing.

At 10:20 there were patches of blue to the North East and Weathermeister’s satellite pictures were showing progress. I called flight services for a weather briefing. SBP was 1,300 overcast with a four degree temperature-dew point spread and SMX was 900 overcast with a three degree temperature-dew point spread. AIRMET Sierra was in affect for ceilings below a thousand feet, mountain obscuration and/or visibility below three miles. VFR was not recommended along my route of flight. The briefer studied the satellite pictures and said it was clearing up fast so I headed for Santa Maria top down and watching the growing blue in the sky. I was looking for a path in case I launched special VFR. In this area in generally clears to the north east first and that is where California 101 runs; one of my routes to SMX.

By the time I reached the gate; SMX was visual flight rules with a thousand foot ceiling and a four degree temperature-dew point spread. I checked tire pressure and checked the fuel before getting an abbreviated briefing.

This is all aviation foreplay for me and I love the process.

The takeoff was nice and the world opened up as I climbed into the sky. There was a little traffic to work around and it was easy to see it was not a good day for a flight up the beach. I had a slightly convoluted course as I worked to maintain cloud clearance watching the dark shadows of the clouds rolling across the fields.

SBP tower was surprisingly busy so I ran her up to 85knts to better fit into the traffic flow and asked for a long landing. There was a group of three that watched the landing and clapped as I taxied by.

The hotdogs were on the grill and some computer adapters delayed the presentation so we were able to get a lot of hangar flying it. Greg and I struck up a lively conversation about world war two. Greg had gone to the D Day celebration in France and shared some of his pictures. It seemed particularly relevant as the Ryan STM-2 was a World War two military trainer.

The presentation was a delight and we headed over to the hangar to have a look at the consequence of a very long fantasy.

As I was filling up at self-serve Greg stopped by and I invited him for a short flight. I did not have to offer twice and he listened carefully to my preflight briefing. He is not the first chapter member I have taken up and I had an extra helmet for just that purpose.

The wind was 260 degrees at 17kts making for a short takeoff roll.

I gave Greg the controls on cross wind and he was very smooth on the stick. We needed to climb to 2,300 feet to clear the ridge making managing the throttle easy. His airspeed control was excellent and his turns very smooth. We found some bumpy air and I never once felt him over control. Greg claimed this was because of his experience flying ultralights in the wind.

I took the controls over Lake Lopez and did some slow flight before pulling the power and demonstrating a near vertical descent. We had some traffic to manage and an odd approach so I kept the controls and handled the approach and landing. I suspect Greg would have managed both nicely. He said he was happy just to look around the Edna Valley.

I expected the flight home to be sort of anticlimactic and was surprised at the joy I found in this simple flight. I left the camera in my pocket and sort of basked in the experience. It was over too soon.

A friend stopped by the hangar and asked if I would take three young women flying in The Predator on Wednesday. I told him I am glad to do it as I love sharing the dream of flight.
 

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MarkG

Newbie
Vance;n1135097 said:
Brandon called me up out of the blue with a very short time frame because he wanted to learn about flying a gyroplane. Every now and then I meet someone who is an AVIATOR on a much higher level than I will ever be.

I want to be better so it gave me great pleasure to be able to accommodate him. Brandon is an Edwards’s trained test pilot and he did not disappoint.

I briefed him on my multiple check lists and how to operate things like the radio, transponder and rotor brake in the front seat. There is a lot of information and I was amazed at the way he absorbed it occasionally asking good questions when my information delivery was flawed.

We were expecting some ugly winds in the afternoon and wanted to stay ahead of the weather so I pressed onward.

I demonstrated a takeoff and gave Brandon the controls. I mentioned he was stabbing at the controls just a bit and that was the end of it. His control inputs were smooth as were his roll ins and roll outs. His airspeed and altitude control were half of practical test standards. I took out the camera because I didn’t have much else to do as we headed out to the Pacific and then north along the curved shoreline.

He seemed so serious that several times I asked him if he was having fun and he always shot back YES!

I had him fly past the threshold at San Luis Obispo (SBP) before taking the controls to demonstrate a landing.

For our departure winds at were 270 degrees at 17kts gusting to 24kts so I did the takeoff from runway 29 and soon gave him back the controls.

It was getting gusty and Brandon continued to be very smooth on his control inputs letting The Predator correct herself.

Back at SMX Brandon did some takeoffs and landings and demonstrated great aircraft control.

I love flying with bigger than life aviators and it was nice to see that Brandon exhibited the traits I continue to try to develop.
Hey Vance!!! It’s been awhile since I’ve been on here!!!! Next time you see Brandon you’ll have to tell him that the guy that designed and build the Pedator was stationed at Edwards from 1980 to 1984 and was a Crew Chief on F-4’s there!!! Other than that I hope you and the Mrs have been fine!!!! I see the Predator is still beating the air into submission!!! Glad to see it is still being enjoyed by many!!!!!
 

okikuma

Member
Hi Mark,

Were you involved with the YF-4E project when you were at Edwards?

When I was a teen, I rode a motorcycle around the North Base complex and saw the YF-4E on the ramp. I took several photos. I was an AF Dependent at the time and I had arrangements to have my film developed at the photo lab with the 146th Tactical Airlift Wing ANG near my house (didn't cost me any money). When I turned in my rolls to be developed, I forgot about the photos of the YF-4E on one roll. Needless to say, when I picked up my photos and negatives, the photos of the YF-4E were missing! I never asked why knowing it was a secret project.

When I was an AF Cadet, I was able to finagle a couple of rides in the back seat of an RF-4C with the Nevada ANG and Nebraska ANG. Show my ID card and my AF Form 1274 (Physiological Training Card). then off to the AFE NCO to check out a flight helmet, oxygen mask, and G-suit. Then off for my flight.

Fun times.

Wayne
 

MarkG

Newbie
No Title

okikuma;n1137246 said:
Hi Mark,

Were you involved with the YF-4E project when you were at Edwards?

When I was a teen, I rode a motorcycle around the North Base complex and saw the YF-4E on the ramp. I took several photos. I was an AF Dependent at the time and I had arrangements to have my film developed at the photo lab with the 146th Tactical Airlift Wing ANG near my house (didn't cost me any money). When I turned in my rolls to be developed, I forgot about the photos of the YF-4E on one roll. Needless to say, when I picked up my photos and negatives, the photos of the YF-4E were missing! I never asked why knowing it was a secret project.

When I was an AF Cadet, I was able to finagle a couple of rides in the back seat of an RF-4C with the Nevada ANG and Nebraska ANG. Show my ID card and my AF Form 1274 (Physiological Training Card). then off to the AFE NCO to check out a flight helmet, oxygen mask, and G-suit. Then off for my flight.

Fun times.

Wayne
Wayne

I was out there from 1980 - 1984. I did work on the the YF-4E F4... I was just out there this past year and it is now out at the museum on the base………
 

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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
The Predator has about 1,910 hours on her and has been holding up well to client's mistakes.

You did a great job designing and building her Mark Givans.

I admire your work each time I fly her.

Givans Predator is now in many logbooks.

Ed, the kids and grand kids are all doing well.

All the best my friend.
 
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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
No Title

Flying to San Luis Obispo with my special Ed.

I had no clients scheduled for Sunday and Ed had no grandmother duty so my darling wife and I decided to go flying to San Luis Obispo for lunch.

We had not flown together in a while and we had to pick up some new batteries for her Cannon Rebel slightly delaying our departure from the Santa Maria Public Airport.

As I have modified my gyroplane (The Predator) to be flown from the back seat as a flight instructor it has made it more difficult to remove the rear cyclic making it difficult for Ed to manage her camera paraphernalia.

Ed sees the world through artist’s eyes and has won numerous awards for her pictures.

She feels the gyroplane is a wonderful photo platform for documenting the area where she grew up.

We lifted off at Santa Maria around 11:30 and our first mission was to circle Savanah’s house waving at our grandchildren Presley (4), Dylan (11) and Cain (13). With some difficulty I located the general vicinity of the house and circled a thousand feet above it with Ed waving madly at the assembled spectators. Presley and Dylan are quite taken with our ability to fly.

I called the San Luis Obispo tower (ATC) from 12 miles to the south east at 1,500 feet and was to make a straight in and report four miles. I requested coming in through the Avilla Pass. I was to report left downwind for runway two niner.

Off to the beach and the magic of the shoreline. It is ever changing and it was simply stunning as always. We wandered along the shoreline over Shell Beach at 40 miles per hour trying to soak in every detail and followed California Highway 101 through the pass. ATC restricted us to at or below one thousand feet for traffic.

I reported down wind and we were cleared to land runway two niner number two behind the Cessna. He was a little slow getting off the runway so I briefly slowed to about 15 miles per hour to give him time.

We had a lovely romantic lunch on the patio of The Spirt of San Luis. The conversation with her is always about the fresh new experiences which inspire and seem to animate Ed. She feels they are what spark the imagination and child in all of us for daring adventures that inspire the heart.

Before heading back out to The Predator for a weather briefing and preflight. Ed handled her challenge with the camera bag by stashing it under her flight jacket and ended up with the Dolly Parton Profile which seemed to amuse her silly side. ;-D

I asked for a right downwind to the east and climbed to 2,300 feet to follow the ridgeline toward Lake Lopez. We descended over Lake Lopez and into the Huasna valley encountering moderate turbulence and getting a close look at some Dinosaurs before heading over the historic Porter Ranch. We wandered around over the Twitchell reservoir and then back to SMX.

We shared lots of adventure in less than two hours of flying.

I love flying with Ed.
 

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