My New (used) 618 powered Dominator

MMorgan

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Bought this machine last week and Mike Gaspard (gyromike) made the first flight late yesterday.

I went out this am and flew it for approx 30 min. It performs very well and is rock solid. It has 24 ft. DW blades, EIS, and a radio with headsets. I also have an enclosed trailer so I can take it to "drive-ins." (Is it really a fly-in if you drive there??)

It handles VERY differently on the ground since it has differential braking and full castoring nose wheel. The gear will take some getting used to with the shocks. I was warned about how it will rise up as it gets light on the wheels so I was not surprised but it was still very strange.
 

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Friendly

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Now we will need a whole new set of PRA Mag, cover pages. I am happy for you. Bet Mike likes the color
 

GyroRon

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You lucky dog!!! Man I wish mine had a 618 on it instead of the 582.... Is that Robert T's out of Texas? You must have kept this machine a secret so no one would get it out from under ya! You dog you!!!

How do you like it?
 

gyromike

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Ron,

You don't know how hard it was for me to keep from spillin' the beans! :D

I'm trying not to hate him too much. :)

Here's a shot of me about to take it up for it's first flight in several years.
(Color co-ordinated, of course).
 

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MMorgan

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Ron,

It was built in 1998 by Jay and Carol Knight (it was Carol Renneisen then) in New Orleans. Carol was the gyro pilot and only flew it approx 20 hrs. It was sitting in the trailer in their yard for the past three years.

It needs a few cosmetic things but it flys and runs well.

You asked how I like it??? I like the way it feels in the air alot but on the ground it is a whole lot different. When it gets light on the wheels it feels like it rises up another 4 or 5 feet from its already high perch which I am not used to. Then it starts bouncing a little from side to side because of the springs on the main gear.

I'm sure I'll get used to it after a few more flights but as of now it really feels strange on the ground.
 

GyroRon

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Upon closer inspection...... That must be a older ship. The front suspension in not stock dominator. And Ernie has stopped using coil over shocks long ago....

My first bit of advise is to ditch the coil overs and get a new set of airshocks. Pumped up like I like them, the airshocks are very firm and other than the added height of seat, the gyro will " feel " like a regular gyro. I strongly suggest changing out those shocks!

Second bit of advise is to make sure the wheels or axles are have the proper toe in, toe out adjustments. If it is off, that can make the gyro hard to handle.

But looking at the pic of the shocks you can clearly see that they are bottomed out or too short for the job one. Those arms under the shock that attach to the engine mount should be horizontal when the shocks are set right. Right now they are in a position mine would be in if I let all the air out of my shocks.

I have flown one other Dominator that had the coil over shocks and it too was wanting to jump from wheel to wheel as I took off. The owner switched to new airshocks and the problem went away.
 

MMorgan

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It was built in 1998...I have the air shocks that they had on the machine early on but they said something about not being able to get the right amount of air in them to make the machine sit level.

The nose gear is the only part of the machine that is not stock. They remade the gear after the original one cracked and this one seems to work fine.

How much air do you put in the air shocks??
 

GyroRon

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If the shocks are the automotive type airshocks - not the fancy dune buggy shocks I got on my new Dominator - you usually need between 160-180 PSI to get them pumped up properly. To do this you need something with more pressure than most aircompressors make.

The little 12 volt cheapy compressors you plug into your cigarette lighter usually go this high, but the snap on hose ends let too much air out as you remove the end. But you can cut off the snap on end and use a normal push on end like a normal air hose would have and you will be okay. OR.... Fill them with CO2 or Nitrogen, which is normally in very high pressure bottles.

My airshocks on my new ship take around 600 PSI to air up properly. I bought a CO2 tank used for filling up paintball guns to air mine up. It works great.

Also those car type airshocks Ernie uses... the older ones had crappy ends where the air valve is. Ernie has a new style machined aluminum piece to replace those, and I highly reccomend getting that upgrade. And those shocks were known to leak down - sometimes it would take a month of leaking till they would need more air, sometimes they would leak down to empty within hours. If yours leak down fast, just replace them. Mine so far have not leaked down at all. But I keep fooling with different pressures, hence the need for the CO2 set up I just bought.
 

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MikeBoyette

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Ron, Mike, and Mike M.
That machine appears to build from the original plans. The cross members that tie the shocks to the motor mount appear to be made from 4130. Dad has been using machined 6061 for the last ten years. The plans were drawn up in the early 90's and that is the method he chose at the time. We will see ya a BD's and we will all pick it to death. Congradulations Mike M. and welcome to the family. Just gotta get the other coonass in a Dominator now. Maybe dad can build one with a MAC.
 
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gyromike

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MikeBoyette said:
Just gotta get the other coonass in a Dominator now. Maybe dad can build one with a MAC.
Mike,

That makes 2 Dominators I have flown.
My will is getting weak.

...must resist...must resist...Bensen's rule...must......resist...............(gasp)
:p
 

MMorgan

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Yes...Mike Boyette...it was built from plans. They brought this machine to Mentone and BD and your dad checked it out and gave them a short list of things to correct. They also told me your dad flew it.

It flies very well and we hope to get the ground handling improved as discussed in the above posts.
 

MikeBoyette

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Mike Morgan,
I was not trying to make it sound like the machine was bad. I was just yankin your chain. You know how it is when you bring a new machine to a fly-in, everybody gathers round it an "picks it to death". They always point out things that you already know about. I'm sure it flies fine I'm just glad to see someone else enjoy my dad's creations. Again welcome to the family
 

Rick Whittridge

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Congrats on your new machine Mike. Looks good! Maybe i will look into building one these Dominators with the Mac engine!
 

Friendly

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Mike , if MG is dressing up to color coordinate, and Ron is wanting the 618 you better bring a big chain and lock to Bensen Days and sleep with one eye open. Mike looked awful happy in that picture! haha
 

MMorgan

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Mike Boyette...I knew what you meant...I didn't take it personal. It does need a few things like shocks that I should have on it tomorrow. We talked to your dad today about the shocks and adjusted the toe-in (we used the manuf. approved method I'm sure).

Mark....Mike G's mouth waters whenever he gets within 3 ft. of it. First thing he wanted when I got it home was to look at the plans. Wonder what he might be up to????
I have an enclosed trailer I could lock it up in at BD's so I could sleep better.

Yes....25 ft blades would be nice on my Bensen.

Rick......a Dominator with a Mac motor would be a unique machine!!!!
 

gyromike

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Rick Whittridge said:
Congrats on your new machine Mike. Looks good! Maybe i will look into building one these Dominators with the Mac engine!
Actually, I have been scribbling up some drawings for just such a machine Rick. :)
 

robertstodaro

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Welcome aboard the 618 Dominator train.

R. Todaro N618JH


I run my air-shocks at 110psi and I weigh 165lb.............really.

Double check your lower hydraulic pump for cracks at the pump mount flange ears.

I've got a couple of hundred hours on mine now and will be happy to help on weekends when you can't reach Ernie.

He is by far the expert, but you might have some of the same questions I had and I'd be glad to help in a pinch.
 

MMorgan

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Thanks Robert.....I'll check the pump for cracks.

We have been testing the last couple of days and today we had 120 lbs in the shocks and it seems to be ok. Not much movement with that kind of pressure but I guess it is enough to cushion a hard landing. It doesn't dip in the turns while taxiing as it did with lower pressure.

What gearbox do you have?? I have the 3.00..... what speeds do you get at different rpm's??

My prop is pitched to 6800 rpm on climbout and we will experiment a little by lowering down to 6400-6500 as gyroron recommended...just haven't had time yet.
 
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