Need more Gyrogliding


Tim Marshall
Part 101

Part 101

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate a moored balloon or kite—

(1) Less than 500 feet from the base of any cloud;

(2) More than 500 feet above the surface of the earth;

(3) From an area where the ground visibility is less than three miles; or

(4) Within five miles of the boundary of any airport.

(b) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to the operation of a balloon or kite below the top of any structure and within 250 feet of it, if that shielded operation does not obscure any lighting on the structure.

"Do you interpret this as WE CAN operate (kites) towed gliders at airports as long as we are 250 feet away from structures and below the rooftops and we don't obscure structure lighting with our little gyros" ?


so cloud base must be at least 1000ft
you can not fly higher than 500 ft

got that bit
you cant fly within 5 miles of an airport (eg Wauchula in case there are morons lurking in the weed-o-sphere)

but none of the above applies if you stay below 250 ft ( I guess they are thinking about static balloons obscuring red lights on hanger roofs and masts near airports)

so you could have a cloud base of 251 feet with o visibility (eg in thick smoke) and as long as you are 250 ft away from the hanger/ tower/mast or the roof tops if lower you are legal... the 500 ft rules do not apply and you are not obscuring lighting
how far away should the roof top in question be ... undefined Wauchula low hanger roofs, Miami high roofs ! I guess it would come down to being reasonable infront of a judge.
that's how I read it, correct me if I'm wrong


Tim Marshall
I believe the 250 feet is a horizontal distance from structures. And flying no higher than lowest structure is the way I'm reading it. Hope I'm understanding it correctly.

Fly Army,
I believe gliding your gyro is an invaluable training technique and can be instituted into a training syllabus prior to soloing Specifically in Bensen/Brock style builds to test fly your machine to see how she handles and get a little practice before powering the machine. Plus it looks like a lot of fun.

I know some of the Texas boys use the rigid tow boom on their trainer. Looks pretty strait forward. I think I'll build one like it. Anyone else doing any glider training at airports. Saw one in Bastrop fly-in video and our Ireland friend on the shore. I need to get out to El Mirage or Bonneville. I think I would love it!

Fly Army

If you want to use the rigid boom tow type then I'm ALL for it. The towed ones were quite a production, requiring that the driver be a gyro pilot and preferably the observers too. Also a very big area was needed as well.


Active Member
so cloud base must be at least 1000ft
you can not fly higher than 500 ft ...but none of the above applies if you stay below 250 ft...
You're mixing rules from Part 101 and 91. (You're also forgiven, since you live outside the FAA's jurisdiction.:)) There is no minimum altitude to maintain under part 101, only a maximum. If you have a cloud base at 510 feet, you can "fly" at 10' AGL all day long. I'm not aware of anyone who flies a gyroglider at 500' AGL or higher. You'd be somewhat limited by the required length of its cable (over 700' at a 45-degree angle), the resulting weight of the cable, and the ability of the glider to lift that weight.

If you stay below the top of any structure within 250 feet horizontally, you're fine, provided you don't obscure that structure's obstruction lighting.

You can also fly legally at an airport with a waiver, but that requires advance notice to the FAA of date and time, and a NOTAM will be issued.

Part 101 is an odd set of rules to apply to a gyroglider, but the FAA had no other place to dump us. A boom trainer that never gets more than 4' AGL doesn't represent the same hazard to aviation as a business that tows tourists on kites behind speedboats, but the same rules are applied.

I see a couple ways around this. A gyroglider is only covered by Part 101 if it is tethered throughout its flight. If the glider was configured to be safely released, it could be released for landing, and could then fall under Part 103 (if under 155 pounds) or Part 91 (requiring a glider certification).
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Active Member
...I know some of the Texas boys use the rigid tow boom on their trainer. Looks pretty strait forward. I think I'll build one like it...I need to get out to El Mirage or Bonneville. I think I would love it!
Tim, the trainer Larry Neal built in Texas and which has been used at Olney (I think) was a kind of hybrid, in that the boom was articulated at both ends. That makes it somewhat like a cable, since it can be flown off to either side of the tow vehicle and remain pointed in the same direction. Other boom trainers have what was basically an extended trailer tongue, free to rotate at the hitch end but not at the glider end.

Example here: P.R.A. chapter 62 boom trainer gyroglider - YouTube

That results in getting more and more broadside to the wind as you drift left or right.

Larry's idea allowed starting with guy cables which control lateral drift of the glider, then gradually loosening them to gradually give more and more control to the pilot as experience builds.
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Doug Riley

Platinum Member
Even on a rope, a gyroglider flies with its nose pointed more or less at the tow vehicle during lateral excursions. If you set down while you are out to the side, you'll land in a crab and experience quite a violent ground flip-over.

A gyroglider also does not mimic a powered gyro in its behavior in slow flight. The gears in a car transmission are so much more efficient than a prop that even a low-powered car provides relatively unlimited thrust. As a result, you can loaf along at 30 mph in a gyroglider with little worry (in calm air, anyway). This leads to a tendency toward flying behind the power curve when you transition to a self-powered gyro.

The glider does give you a feel for the gyro's reaction time and sensitivity to the stick, as well as getting you used to flying in the wide-open. When I first lifted off in my powered Bensen after some 50 hours of gyrogliding, the sensation wasn't much different and I could more or less relax.

The gyroglider provides such incomplete training, and in some respects misleading training, that, at best, it's an inexpensive "introduction to your introduction" to gyro flight. It is in no way an adequate substitute for powered dual.

It's fine as a fun novelty.


I think that without flying a gyro glider first I would have crashed my first powered gyro, it let me worry only about flying the rotor and nothing more and at the time it seemed like a handful for the first 20 minutes or so, it is a little like when learning to fly a helicopter and the instructor gives you only the cyclic at first while he handles the peddles,collective and throttle, it lets you concentrate on trying to make the machine stay in one place when it wants to be anywhere but where you are trying to hold it, if you had to handle every thing at first your learning curve would go vertical.