New Butterfly Takes Flight Labor Day!

Doctor Bob

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Nov 9, 2007
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124
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Dalton, GA
Thanks for the comments! Flying at 8,500' was a first for me in my Cessna. It was cool and made for some awesome views. The lack of anything remotely even considering turbulance was wild. The plane literally flew itself home--rock solid. Part of me was crapping my pants as it kept looking as if I was about to be stuck on top with a VFR rating. I kept looking out the side and even took those pictures as "evidence" that I was still VFR legal in case I was questioned later. The ADS-B receiver (Stratus) I use with ForeFlight was a blessing as I kept watching the ceiling rise over the Dalton Airport. I knew that by the time it hit 6,000' I could easily descend through a cloud in an "emergency" for 1,000' to get below. Since ground is 710' I had lots of time to regain composure if things got ugly. I wouldn't do a cross-country without having in-flight weather. It can change so rapidly and it gives you not only the information around you, but at your destination.

I'm seeing Steve again tomorrow (Friday) so I hope for great weather and a smooth ride!

Bob
 

Doctor Bob

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Dalton, GA
CPTAmericaMV - HA HA & Ouch! I'm sure Steve got a good laugh out of that one.

Last Friday I was once again reunited with a Sparrowhawk. This time in the left seat for 2.7 hours on a cross-country three leg jaunt to satisfy the XC requirement.

The last time I was in an enclosed gyro I was flying with Randy out of Covington, Georgia with Iven tearing up the sky in his Butterfly next to, below, and above us. It was all new to me and the experience left quite an impression. I'm a few years older, have flown in two different "open" tandem gyros, and now own a little Cessna 172. Here are my impressions...

The two-place enclosed Sparrowhawk is quite a machine with matching weight and size. We stayed nice and warm while it was cold outside. Even though it is a very desireable aircraft, I think I'm built for the open cockpit, less is more design. The experience you get with an almost unlimited view, the wind in your face, and just hanging out there is far superior in my brain. I'm NOT knocking any enclosed gyro's, but the direction that inspires me personally is an open frame. It makes me more excited knowing that someday I'll get to strap into my own Monarch Butterfly. Being a single seater and on the lightweight side of the equation, it should be a little rocket.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to come to this conclusion. Flying back from Macon in my Cessna, I couldn't help but appreciate my fixed-wing bird even more. Solid, stable, simple, and in the gyro world...FAST. I felt quick with a tailwaind at 132 knots compared to a gyro. I flew above the clouds once again at 8,500' looking down on the beautiful scenery.


So my wife asked "WHY" am I getting trained on a gyro when I already own a plane. Or, in her words, a "flying lawn chair." I asked her why does an owner of a perfectly good car go out and buy a motorcycle? She responded with, "I don't know?" "Then I can't explain it to you," was my answer.

I'm looking forward to my continued training with Steve, and the time spent in my Cessna too :)

Thank you,

Bob
 

Doctor Bob

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Dalton, GA
Thought I would throw out more pictures from yesterday's training session with Steve. I did some time on the SparrowHawk AND "Black." I pulled off more bad landings than good ones and one that was perfect enough I wish the camera's were rolling. We figured out what I was doing wrong (most of the time) when I got into ground effect. In his gyro, and at altitude (not in ground effect) if you start to balloon or catch a big updraft, you put slight back pressure on the cyclic, reduce power, ride it out, then reapply power and lower the nose as needed.
When I got into ground effect on landing and I ballooned, I was doing the same - whoops :confused: Big mistake.
Just like my plane, (I think) I should have added power and put a little forward pressure to stabilize the gyro and then retry further down the runway.
Hey, I'm learning! Enjoy the pictures :)
Thanks,
Bob









 

fara

AR-1 gyro manufacturer
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Tampa, FL
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AR-1
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Congrats on getting it flying
 

Doctor Bob

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Nov 9, 2007
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Dalton, GA
Hello Fara - My gyro has been back in my garage since Iven took it for its maiden flight about two years ago (?). It is "pickled" and out-of-annual on purpose until Steve and I feel that I am ready to start taxiing in it. All I have to do is sign off on it and fill the tanks. Luckily, my gyro is very patient as I am not rushing this process :) I am getting my flying kicks in my plane and Steve's "Black" gyro.

Thank you,

Bob
 

Doctor Bob

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Dalton, GA
Well, my training has been on hold due to cold weather (brrrrr) and lack of incoming funds. While it has been too cold to fly an open frame gyro, it has not been cold enough to make my phone ring in the heating business. In the last 13 years I can tell you that the winter usually brings good months in Jan and Feb and several weeks off in a mild March. This year has been different with a slow Jan, Feb, and March. While barely keeping above water for three months I got hit in all directions for April.

It seems a lot of tax calculations have changed and we owe, owe and owe.:violin: Not trying to turn this into a political rant, but my wife and I will owe over $10k come April 15th and then I'll have to make another $2.5k quarterly as usual at the end of the month. To add insult to this, my Uncle Sam wants another estimated this year of another $2.5k since I owed so much for 2012. I just am not doing the latter as my sales are NOT at this time what they were for 2012. I will take the penalty before I go broke.

But wait, it gets better....

My plane is in for annual right now. It is likely down for the whole month. There was a hole in the exhaust, the mags needed rebuilding, the carb is being sent off for overhaul, and the brakes need a complete redoing with rotors. Keep in mind airplane parts cost a lot more than car parts. With the other laundry list of repairs, some at my discretion, I am looking at a minimum $7k.

I told you I am getting hit from all sides and it sucks. It's just the way it is. At least the warm weather is hitting this weekend and all next week. I should be knocking out more calls and installs in the next few weeks than hopefully the last 3 months. I'll be back on my feet but I have eliminated all reserves and have never seen my account this low in a decade. I was on the gravy train in my business for ten years+ and I just got knocked down to reality this year. Humbling for sure. Mother Nature really schooled me as the weather dictates my income. If you don't need heat and don't need air, then you don't need me :(

Needless to say my gyro training is on hold as I recover. I did move it out of my garage and into my hangar yesterday as I'm paying rent on a now empty airplane hangar. Might as well put something in there :)

My update for now, hopefully I'll have better news after a few months....

Bob
 

Doctor Bob

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Dalton, GA
I thought I would chime in and refresh my postings here as it has been about a year. I made it through one of the roughest springs in the HVAC biz in 2013. It put two of my friends out of business that were at it longer than me. From May through December in 2013 I somehow performed a years worth of calls in about 8 months. It was a wild ride. In the end, it was a decent year. I only did 33.5 hours of flying in my Cessna and 0 hours of gyro training. That is life sometimes and I am thankful for the 33 that I got to fly FW.

So here it is in 2014 and I have some dough set aside to begin training.....again. Honestly I have come very close to selling and sticking with my Cessna considering my current family status. With two active kids it is hard to find time to fly. I'd rather invest in my wife and kids as they are growing up fast and I feel my time is limited with my family. It is hard to justify the expense and commitment of keeping two aircraft. My plane holds all four of us and gets us places when needed in comfort, speed, and with a great view.

Yesterday I went to my hangar and once again fogged my Rotax. I inspected each cylinder and they looked new. It only has about 5 hours. Is it possible to use too much fogging oil? From the looks of it, no, it's protected.

Depending on weather and free time (isn't that always the case besides money) my goal is to restart training in March with a "get the rating or bust attitude." I will be flying down to Macon so I will carefully analyze my true feelings for fixed wing versus rotor during my visits. No pressure on Steve :boink:

I will report back my findings and hopefully post a good picture or two. Heck, maybe even a video!

Thank you for letting me ramble,

Bob
 

scottessex

Sling-Wing Pilot
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central, ga
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Ramble on dude! Good luck and stick it out! you don't have far to go, you are almost there!
 

GyrOZprey

Aussie in Kansas.
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Inspect closely.....

Inspect closely.....

your Butterfly rotorhead!!!

Two issues have come up in the last year with Butterfly/ & clone rotorheads!

1. Pitch pivot bolt....Inspect ( for wear marks on bolt) I know ... there are not many hrs on yours ( I felt the same at a mere 35 when I did my annual & it failed at 38hrs ...albeit my circumstances were pretty unique with additional pre-rotator issues & many PR's)) & make sure your pitch pivot bolt is correctly torqued! 13-15ft/lbs

ref....http://www.rotaryforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=37525

2. Double check correct assembly of rotor-bearing block & cap-plate!

ref....http://www.rotaryforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=39244&page=3

Glad to hear you are all go to get finished up with your rating.
My goal is to enjoy Bensen days as a ground maggot & by end of April get to see Ron M & get my initial rating PPR-G!!!! :)

Life DOES seem to get in the way of our dreams to fly gyro ... but I believe the slow-downs are a chance to learn more to enhance our skill-set & survival chances in an inherently risky endevour!

Keep posting updates!
 

Doctor Bob

Newbie
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
124
Location
Dalton, GA
I shot down on Saturday with my son to Polk County (4A4) to talk to Jon and pick his brain. I also looked at a few gyroplanes. I learned a lot. The weather turned iffy and I was temporarily grounded as a VFR pilot with an ever changing cloud base and visibility. I grabbed a quick window and went for it with several back up plans in place. It was a quick 30 minute max flight even with a 30 knot headwind in my 172. I had Calhoun, Rome, and back to Polk if it turned ugly. I kept checking the clouds all around me to see my "out" if I all of a sudden got caught in a cloud. I kept flight following with Atlanta Center to keep an eye over us. I greased in a tough landing with a quartering headwind gusting to 17 knots. I fought it crabbing all the way to the ground. My son stated "this will be interesting" on final as we were 45 degrees to the runway into the wind but flying straight.

Here is a pic of Jon's shared hangar and "Mack's" slick gyro trailer. Mack is a fellow Steve student and he was practicing taxiing around the airport. I hope to join him in training soon with Steve.

Thank you Jon for the lunch and education :)
 

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GyrOZprey

Aussie in Kansas.
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Good update.

Good update.

Thanks for the report Doc Bob!
 

Doctor Bob

Newbie
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
124
Location
Dalton, GA
Well, it seems Mother Nature has had different plans for me the last two Fridays.


I just can't seem to get to Macon for more training. This is really starting to play with my head and drive me nuts. I built, from my opinion, one of the safest and meticulous attention to detail gyroplanes and have dotted all my i's and crossed my t's. When I started to train, I ran out of funds. Here it is in 2014 and I have the funds, just not the time or weather. Pick one, it is always something. :violin:

I can see why it is hard to get a proper rating and people either give up or bore a smoking hole in the ground without proper training. If you have an instructor or an active club at your home airport then it seems gyros thrive. If you don't, you are left with few options:

1. Take a week off at a time and do some intensive training to make the out-of-area training economically feasible. I cannot do this as the sole-employee of my biz and kid commitments (every weekend). When I do take a week the once or twice a year it is for a family vacation.

2. Pay someone to come to your airport and train you intensively. As above, with work and kids, I just don't see that happening.

3. Self teach. Might as well prepay for your funeral. NEVER an option.

4. Give up and go fixed wing or other less expensive hobby. I'm thinking a raging drug habit might be cheaper than aviation...but I'm glad I don't know!

I guess I'm just frustrated and I started looking at two-seat ultra lights. I bought my gyro when I thought I would NEVER own a plane. When the economy tumbled along with airplane prices and my business actually INCREASED during the recession. I pulled the trigger and bought a Cessna. It is a great plane. However, it is lacking the wind in your face and "hang it all out there" attitude of my open cockpit gyro. In my opinion, it is the most fun being exposed to the elements (on a nice day!). Love the wind in the face and unobstructed view.

I don't mean to sound like I am whining. I do feel lucky to be in a position to own a plane and a gyrocopter. I just can't seem to get trained. I told myself it was this year or I would sell. Here it is in May and Steve McGowan will be in Texas for the next 2-3 weeks or longer. There goes May and probably June and thus half the year. The odds are NOT in my favor.

I have another thread going on a Cessna forum where I post both the good and the bad so the "soon to be" owners can get a glimpse of what owning a plane entails. I am posting this for others to see the problems they may have to overcome too. Build a beautiful gyrocopter, watch someone else fly it, then winterize it and let it sit for years. I hope others can do better than myself.

Sincerely,

Bob
 

NetPilot

Tryin' to Re-Member
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2016 Rotax 503 "Jake-inator" (i.e. Gyro Jake's 2016 creation)
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Meet some cool gyro folks and get some trainin' in NC!!

Meet some cool gyro folks and get some trainin' in NC!!

...I just can't seem to get to Macon for more training. This is really starting to play with my head and drive me nuts... Here it is in 2014 and I have the funds, just not the time or weather. Pick one, it is always something. :violin:

Bob,

I feel your pain. You aren't the only one wearing those shoes...

In the meantime, come on over to North Carolina next weekend and get some training from Gary Neal!!! Weather looks good right now.

Details:

http://www.rotaryforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=40600

Aside from getting some training hours under your belt, you can meet a bunch of great folks and have a fun time in general! Gyros are all about the people anyway. :)

Bring the Butterfly!!

P.S. - I left you a voice-mail earlier today.

Mark
 

Resasi

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Having been a long time fixed wing aviator I know the desire for the wind in your face and minimalist pleasure in an open frame.

I also am familiar with the long drawn out frustrations of the road to the licence. The hours spent on the road to first get the ticket, and then the miles I drove to build one.

That said Mark summed it up very well. It's the people too.
 

GyrOZprey

Aussie in Kansas.
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Whitewater KS
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I can so relate to your frustration!

I can so relate to your frustration!

Glad to hear we are not alone in the "Butterfly-owner blues"!!!!

Your frustration is valid & weather will continue to frustrate us .. even after we solo! Good ADM is important & you seem to be doing well with that in your Cessna flying.

The hard road to gyro-piloting seems to be littered with many lessons in patience & more patience ... THEN SOME more lessons ... as Doug B always states...you have to want it REALLY BADLY ... to keep pushing down all the obstacles that keep popping up!

You are no doubt familiar with my own tortuous journey ..... a rapid 10 week focused gyro build in winter of 2012 ... airworthy inspected in April & test flown by Larry soon after ..... my lessons with our CFI ( each travelling 7 hours to meet 1/2 way ... most of the time for several days every few weeks) ... seemed to drag out all summer until I was ready for the great solo moment in my own gyro!
Frustrating wind conditions & winter & many true airworthy & aviation quality issues had to be addressed ..... meanwhile instead of going for sport-pilot ...I ended up working towards full private pilot ... but via the hard/expensive way in gyro only as I have no desire to fly wings ... then last year's - near-disaster on Mother's Day eve when my pitch pivot bolt disintegrated while doing some - mains-balancing & low-hopping practice! :eek:

All 2013 flying season spent rebuilding ...... now it's almost winter again & my primary instructor (full CFI) could no longer sign off any more training & preparations for going to the DPE- due to the FAA - investigation/ railroading fiasco after Scott Adair's fatal un-transitioned solo flight in his Dominator after dual training in MTO's & signed to solo by the SECOND CFI (not mine!) :der::censored: ... with NO TRANSITION TRAINING from Dual gyro to the single!

You are in good hands with Steve ... HE WILL TRANSITION you correctly ( As did my CFI into my Aurora)..... as he told Scott .. he would - but impatience got the better of Scott & he did it his-way ... & sadly paid the ultimate price! :(

2014 ... an endless wicked winter .... Kansas winds that were always against my low-time pilot/student limits ....:Cry: ... frustration going on & on!

FINALLY ...In this last week ... a little break in my "endless obstacles" :rolleyes: & the endless brief sessions tethered close to the airport & runway on very rare right-condition days ...... it all came good & a big progress step ... with my first flight away! Yesterday I finally got to fly the 10NM out to the farm & overfly the home place & see how the landing-ground (under development!) looks from the air! :whoo:

Today I was all primed & set to do a 50mile XC leg ... for a pilot breakfast fly-in & the winds looked perfect all day ...... however the weather turned REALLY strange & went against all the forecasting & predictions & the winds were a NO-GO for me ..... :eek:hwell: ... another time!

Looking like i will have to go to Utah when I get these solo hours & cross country flights done ... to get my recommendation for going to DPE for the flight & oral test! There are many more new instructors around ... but many are sportCFI's & now I'm shooting higher!

The lack of a local active gyro club( Jim,I & Earl ARE IT - for now!) is a BIG disadvantage ... we have been greatly blessed with all the help & expertise , encouragement & support for Jim & his problem-gyro from the Chapter 62 club .. alas a 12 hour drive ... needs a multiday commitment to justify the long trip .... but we have had SUCH good times down there & the fantastic people .. as Mark noted makes it all SO worth it!

You are not alone ..... ITIS ALWAYS SOMETHING .... and then the next thing :violin: ..... so we just keep "whaken 'dem moles ... until they quit popp'n up " ... then we get to "be-the-bird" :)_
 
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GyroDoug

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Chris,

Does that mean you are planning to come to Rotors Over the Rockies next month? That would be great! We'd love to have you and Jim join us for a few days. Let me know if there is anything we can do to help accommodate your trip.

Doug
 

Doctor Bob

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Nov 9, 2007
Messages
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Location
Dalton, GA
Mark, Leigh, and Chris- I appreciate the time you took to reply to my frustrations. It has been almost 4 years since my Butterfly took flight. Where has the time gone? I would love to attend the fly in, but once again, my weekend is spoken for as my son has a Tae Kwon Do tournament. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and will do anything for them, it just seems that there is no time anymore for my training and the prospects of that changing in the next 8 years are bleak. My time today that was not already planned was spent doing yard work and fixing stuff around the house = no flying.

Oh well,

I'm trying to hang in there...
Bob
 

GyrOZprey

Aussie in Kansas.
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Hang-in there Bob!

Hang-in there Bob!

Sounds like your "phase-of-life" in just not aligned well with your gyro-flight dreams. It is scary ... how the time gets by .... looking back ... really makes you wonder how it can slip by SO fast!
You can trade some home -chores with your son as he grows ... to free up some of your time ..... all too soon he will be driving & independant & suddenly you will find some new freedom from the parent-taxi/cheersquad role!
Your family priorities are right .... & you have a lot of the general aviation lessons in place, being ingrained with your Cessna flying ..... I think you'll find when you get a block of time to focus on the gyro lessons & get the transition-training .... it will all happen quickly!
Meanwhile ... we are all cheering for you here & standing by to help any way we can! Believe me ... it will come - when the time is "right"! :D
 
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