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loftus

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Is there any downside to adding stabilizer

Is there any downside to adding stabilizer

I guess airworthiness here is a relative term clearly depending on who is flying it and their abilities. Is there any downside to adding a stabilizer, or is it just a matter of being a purist about the original design?
 

HydroGyroNut

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Hi Ron,

Its easy to fly successfully many times. Its not easy to return from the dead the day the expected ,unexpected unrecoverable pitch down attitude occurs. As far as im concerned, its not about pilot experience in those situations. Its about a lethal combination of events that even the most experienced, high time gyro pilots would have no solution for. Stan was merely stating the obvious and may have come across to you the wrong way. Obviously, a DAR would sign it out as being Airworthy but history and physics would designate this aircraft as being "potentially dangerous." There are numerous discussions on the forum about horizontal stabilizers and their merits and losing ones life just trying to be a purist about original designis just not worth it.
 

GyroDoug

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Please disagree, agreeably

Please disagree, agreeably

While I personally believe that a Horizontal Stabilizer would make any gyroplane more pitch stable, and I personally wouldn't want to fly a Gyro without one, we need to be sensitive to others opinions also. There is certainly lots of evidence that suggests that with enough experience and training a pilot can learn to fly a gyro without a horizontal stabilizer and do so successfully their whole life.

That doesn't mean a H.S. doesn't have value or that we shouldn't encourage everyone to use one. But at the same time we need to respect one another's right to choose for them self, how they will deal with that issue. Anyone (like Ed) who has been involved in Gyros for many years is already very aware of the arguments for and against and has already made up their mind on whether or not they believe they should use a HS. I believe we need to respect their right to make that choice.

Being such a small group, we certainly don't want to alienate anyone over a disagreement on gyroplane design. We need to be welcoming and supportive of all who share our dream of Gyro Flight. I believe we will be much more effective at changing people's opinions with one on one conversations, in private, where a difference in opinion is less likely to turn into a disagreement that does more harm than good.

Doug Barker
PRA Pres.
 

Vance

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A good question!

A good question!

I guess airworthiness here is a relative term clearly depending on who is flying it and their abilities. Is there any downside to adding a stabilizer, or is it just a matter of being a purist about the original design?
I like the way you think about things Jeffrey.

In my opinion the downsides to adding a horizontal stabilizer are weight and the structure to handle the weight.

I feel mounting the horizontal stabilizer further back allows it to be smaller (lighter) to get the same benefits but complicates the structural challenge.

On a pusher gyroplane there is a propeller in the way off a structure with depth so the area under the propeller becomes the structural weak point. Going to an upper support complicates (heavier) and if it is part of the mast can quarrel with the normal movement of the rotor head.

The structure on Ed’s aircraft could probably support a horizontal stabilizer with a reasonable moment arm. Finding out could prove problematic. I find it difficult to calculate the loads on that tube and the fatigue life of aluminum. It is interesting to note that Ed has the vertical stabilizer and rudder on a unusually long arm and has it braced side to side.

Every gyroplane shakes and it is possible with a long enough stick to lower the resonate frequency of the empennage into the normal frequency range of that particular gyroplane leading to fatigue challenges.

I am a horizontal stabilizer enthusiast for many reasons and the gyroplane I fly (The Predator) has an unusually large horizontal stabilizer mounted well back of the center of gravity.

The Predator has the horizontal stabilizer below the propeller slipstream and that is where I prefer it.

The Predator is very nearly center line thrust so she is not compensating for a large thrust line offset with her generous tail.

I have less than three hours in gyroplanes without a horizontal stabilizer (three different RAFs) so I am not experienced enough to have a strong opinion. One RAF had a Stabilator and it made a difference but all of them seemed to be relatively pitch unstable particular in gusting winds. I suspect all three had a much higher thrust line/center of gravity offset than Ed’s aircraft.

Thank you, Vance
 

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helicopter ed

helicopter ed
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I understand, ED, your love to your baby.
The same feeling as all of us have to our "crazy" flying contraptions.
I remember, also, that you had a full detailed report in Bensen Flying News regarding a mishap in 1983 (??)
I post part of it here.
Way late responding to this post. That accident was total my fault (novice to Gyroplanes). Back then, no instructors, no two places. That wide body Scorpion had a large Horz Stab. I simply took of in a high wind con'd for the first time. It popped me up higher then I had ever been, knee jerk reaction was, push the nose over, never cut full power. The loud
bang almost instantly was the rotor striking the rudder. Simply unloaded the rotor. Witnesses said the rotor stopped completely before impact. Very expensive lesson. 12,000.00 beauty completly distroyed in seconds. I lived for only one reason, To make sure the 300+ I taught later to fly, never would unload a rotor. None have.
 
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halburn

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Hi Ed! Great pics. Very fond memories! Hope your well man.
I think it is sad that some will pass judgement on something that has such a long and successful history. I witness a Formula 1 car race around a track at heart stopping speeds, a motorcyclist doing the same. I realize that I could not jump in and do the same and expect the same result (without practice). But I would never deem it unworthy. The truth is......everything is easy if you know how. The fact is.....most don't know how but choose to have an opinion. Yea...I know we can all do the math too, and bumble bees do fly.
Aircraft manufacture's altered the conventionally geared airplane to make learning to fly a little easier, and some would say safer. There were many sacrifices to adding a nose gear, but it seemed to be the right thing to do. Now.....we need a special endorsement. Oh well.
Everything is easy.....if you know how.
 

HydroGyroNut

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The freedoms we experience can sometimes bite us in the behind. Tell u a true story.
This Biker was a big proponent against the use of safety helmets for bikes. He was riding with his buddies on the highway when a freak accident occured due to him looking back or so. He fell to the asphalt impacting his head at quite a low speed. He was transferred to our facility where he died of severe head injury. Had he been wearing a simple safety helmet ,he would DEFINITELY have been alive, to ride another day. Just think about that. In post #5, Giorgos, a gyro manufacturer who has succesfully built one of the most stable gyros ever, states exactly why this particular design can be dangerous irrespective of the experience of the pilot. Word to the wise is enough… No need to go on about this.
 

RotorTom

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It's been said before ... Aerodynamic stability is not an "opinion". It is physics - period. The fact that many have flown successfully minus an HS does not mean it is just as stable (or safe) as one with an HS. That argument is akin to saying "you don't need seat belts" cause many have driven cars without them. The point is ... you really don't need them ... until you do.
 

halburn

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A bumble bee flies because it knows how. In spite of the physics.
"A superior pilot uses their superior judgement to avoid situations requiring the use of their superior skills".
Different aircraft designs fly very differently. Some one that can safely operate a Bell 47 may not be able to handle an R22, without additional training. A pilot may be able to fly a Piper Cub just fine, but may not be competent in a T6, without training and practice. Aviators that own a twin Baron with 10,000 hours are not qualified to operate a Mitsubishi MU2. In all of these examples, there is math and physics that can explain why one is less stable than the other, some would say unsafe without additional training (the FAA does).
There are still plenty of us that learned to fly in a Benson glider with a Benson manual that did not have the benefit of a 2 place motorized trainer. Then we moved into a powered Benson with nothing more than a rock guard for a HS. If we followed the instructions....we knew the "how" and "why" it flies!
A pilot must know their limitations, AND the limitations of the equipment they are operating, and never exceed either. I am very happy to be able to jump from an Ercoupe to a Pitts and enjoy both.
I often feel defensive when some pass judgement on others for what they choose to fly. I also understand that it is human nature to project ones personal limitations on to others. (If I can't do it, they can't or should not do it).
Well.......Ed, if you would fly it.......I would ride with ya' man! And it would be my honor!
 

HydroGyroNut

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Hal,

You are right about knowing lmitations and all. No doubt. I know u are being nice and trying to encourage Ed..How about encourage him to do what is Safe....Like put on ur seat belt Ed, or put on a H Stab .. It may as well save u one day.. This kinda reminds me of The American Idol show, where some of the contestants with really bad voices show up despite having outrageous voices ,however having received encouragement from family and friends, strongly believe the contrary.. No doubt, its a nice looking machine but how would you feel if Ed took it up and got killed because he underestimated how seriously flawed his design was.. How would u honestly feel??
 

HydroGyroNut

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Those poor RAF pilots who ended up dead bcos of instability in flight just as well knew their limitations , but that did nothing to help recover from the unrecoverable.. Experience always helps but to get that experience in a one of a kind machine requires building on mistakes , and in one unstable machine, there is no margin for error...I end my case and, Ed, I hope u make the right decisions so u can enjoy your amazing machine for a long long time.
 

halburn

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Well Hydro, I simply don't feel it is my place to tell him what to do.
I am not trying to encourage him at all. He is extremely accomplished without anything I could offer. And he has proved to me he is safe! I can only hope that I will be as successful and learn through the experience's of life in the way Ed has. He has earned our respect though his success and accomplishments of his life. I am willing to bet that Ed will never need to be saved by a HS. I could be wrong, but I would never think less of him!

Ed wanted to celebrate one of his wonderful flying machines, I choose to celebrate with him! Not criticize him for it.

I myself have owned vehicles that did not have seat belts installed ( yea...old ). I feel it should be your choice to wear seat belts or helmets. I do not need help with decisions regarding my personal safety. They should be mine to make. Before we know it...we will not be allowed outside in the rain!
There are consequences to living life to the fullest. If we let someone else try and remove all responsibility and consequence of risk, life will be very dull. And we will learn nothing!
 

halburn

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Hydro, Ed has been flying that machine for 30 years. That is the point. He can handle it.
I do not pity the RAF pilots at all. I do not pity anyone. Correction...I pity anyone killed by someone's irresponsibility. Drunk drivers for example. There does not seem to be harsh consequence for irresponsibility. I wonder why?
 

HydroGyroNut

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Hal,

You are obviously a nice guy chosing to celebrate with him. And you obviously hold him in high esteem and he has earned your respect..He must be an amazing accomplished guy, another reason for him to be proactive and defensive in his approach in conserving his life. A few words of advice from a trusted friend like you will not be a critique. Sometimes it takes a close friend to point out the obvious..
I for one fly an amphibious gyro. A unique machine, which brought about concerns of instability . People on this forum pointed out their concerns. I took them seriously and made some changes to the design to improve the safety margin. Now , I fly it and feel even more confident because i know I have done everything possible to create the safest possible design configuration i know how to, to prevent any unsafe tendencies. Life is just too short as it is and i dont want to shorten it any further...
 

M._Springer

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Mark, Good post, # 34

Mark, Good post, # 34

It never ceases to amaze me how newbies will come on the forum with the intestional fortitude to tell a long time, much experienced gyro pilot who has had a long successful career in gyros as Ed has, what he should do.

My beloved Bensen , Born Free, is even older than Ed's beautiful gyro and it is still flying without a HS and I'm still here.

No one needs to tell Ed Alderfer what he should do and like you, Mark, I would ride with him in anything he would fly.
Marion
CFI-Gyro-Ret.
 

halburn

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You have an awesome flying machine Hydro. I think it is very cool indeed.

I know friends don't let friends drive drunk. Ed isn't drunk, nor are any of us that fly the older machine designs without that high center line thrust, and the like. Please don't misunderstand me, I know that they are more stable. I have flown them. I like them as well. But I would like to choose for myself. I just wish folks would trust me with my own life. I promise not to hurt anyone else:)
 

HydroGyroNut

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Not meaning to disrespect anyone here. I will back outta this discussion now. I'll leave my newbie self outta participating in a discussion meant for experienced gyronauts since it seems like I have no place in the discussion, due to my inexperience.... Its Eds choice and he knows enough about gyros to know whats safe or not safe. No harm intended... I've personally always embraced newer technologies that would make me safer in any way, but not everyone will go to the extremes,that I would, and that is perfectly fine, provided no secondary person is injured in the course of those actions. I fly with the PCAS system which gives me better situational awareness of all surrounding aircraft and helps me know where any other aircraft is around me at any given time. BTW, Very Cool technology that most pilots still fly without. Its my preference since I've always strived to b extra safe, and be in control of any adverse situation. I just dont think its fair to myself and my family to b killed by something i could easily have avoided. Everyone has a right to do what they choose, but we are on this forum to contribute and share ideas and points, and thats what i was trying to do. I'm not robbing Ed of exercising his freedoms. Its great to be free...
 
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