More fun flying The Predator.

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,570
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
A joyful flight to nowhere.

I had not flown since March third and wondered how much my skills had deteriorated in twenty four days. I feel currency is an important part of gyroplane safety.

My lay off began when a primary student had to return to Colorado to help his son, then I lost a couple of days to the Covid 19 vaccination. We had four days of rain and a weeks’ worth of thirty knot plus winds in Santa Maria, CA.

It is hard to learn what your control inputs are doing when the wind is tossing you around so depending on where my clients are in their learning I have various wind limits. I don’t fly in the rain and unless I have a compelling reason to fly I don’t takeoff with winds over 30kts solo.

I also had to get my wife’s tractor running because the rain has caused our lawn to grow.

I checked the weather Saturday morning and the winds at Santa Maria were variable at three knots. I pretended I didn’t have anything pressing to do and made my way down to the Santa Maria Public Airport KSMX.

The preflight inspection went well and after resolving some GoPro battery issues I checked the weather and carefully worked my way down The Predator’s startup pre-flight list as though I was a primary student.

I called ground for a taxi to the Alpha 8 (the run-up area) with information India and I was pleased I didn’t stumble over my words or leave anything out.

The magneto check went well and I worked my way through the pre-takeoff check list concluding with a takeoff clearance for left closed traffic, report abeam each pass with intentions. My excitement was building.

The takeoff was as nice as could be and the climb out and pattern was to practical test standards.

On the first landing I overshot my landing point by about five feet and I blamed it on the variable winds and lack of currency.

During the climb out I was filled with joy over just how good it felt to be flying again.

On the third pattern I reported left downwind for runway three zero, stop and go; after stop and go, request left turn out with a turn to the south. It was approved as requested.

As I followed California Highway One south and marveled at the lush green of the hills it was clear the winds were picking up.

I saw six hawks circling at my altitude (1,300 feet) indicating rising air. I was flying straight and level at 50kts and twenty one hundred engine rpm and had to pull her back to seventeen hundred rpm to maintain altitude. Usually seventeen hundred engine rpm will result in a four hundred foot per minute descent. The rising air lasted for more than a quarter mile with the engine just rumbling along effortlessly.

Where ever there is rising air there will be sinking air nearby and I soon was a twenty three hundred engine rpm to maintain altitude at fifty knots.

Once I arrived at my practice area I did some slow flight, turns around a point and S turns over a road talking myself through each maneuver as though I was a novice being careful to make clearing turns before each maneuver.

For no particular reason I made a steep three hundred sixty degree turn to the right and steep then seven hundred twenty degree turn to the left. The bank angle was well beyond the practical test standards for steep turns and I rolled out within five degrees of my heading each time.

I checked the weather and made my initial call to the Santa Maria Tower; inbound to land with information Juliette.

I was to report the Orcutt Y for a left base entry for runway three zero.

As soon as I reported over the Orcutt Y I was cleared to land on runway three zero. The tower had lost control of three departing aircraft and worked to straighten it out as he coordinated with a pilot on a right down wind warning him about the inbound gyroplane.

I tried to remember how all this feels as a student pilot and it amazes me how well my clients do.

The landing was a lovely end to an elegant flight.

“Gyroplane two Mike Golf, Taxi to fuel, monitor ground.”

I waved to the tower as I made my way to self-serve.

I made the notation in my log book SMX to SMX one point five hours pilot in command with four daylight landings and was conscious of how little it described the experience.

As I relive the flight to share it with you; the words would not come to properly describe the feelings.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have so much fun and friends to share it with. Life treats me well.
 

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Resasi

Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
8,020
Location
London/ Kilifi Kenya
Aircraft
Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
Thanks for sharing your joy Vance.(y)
 

StanFoster

Active Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2003
Messages
16,943
Location
Paxton, Il
Aircraft
Helicycle N360SF
Total Flight Time
1250
Vance.....Who needs to fly when someone like you describes it so well?

You are truly blessed in loving what you do. Fortunately I can say the same as I never want to quit building curved stairways.
 

DavePA11

Active Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
805
Location
USA
Stan - Did you ever make a stair case with all glass including the steps? That would be neat.
 

StanFoster

Active Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2003
Messages
16,943
Location
Paxton, Il
Aircraft
Helicycle N360SF
Total Flight Time
1250
Dave....Years ago I built a glass riser stairway....and right now I am building a three story glass riser stairway for a guy that was on Shark Tank. No glass treads however.
 

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StanFoster

Active Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2003
Messages
16,943
Location
Paxton, Il
Aircraft
Helicycle N360SF
Total Flight Time
1250
Wolfy...
Thanks. I will post some in the off topic section maybe tonight.
 
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