Oz flying adventure

Rick E

Active Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Messages
321
Location
Sydney, Australia
Aircraft
Cavalon and an MTO Sport
Total Flight Time
2500
Last Wednesday a group of four Gyrocopters departed the Australian mainland and crossed Bass Strait to Tasmania. It was approximately 100nm to Flinders Island and a further 30nm to Tasmania. Fortunately there are islands scattered intermittently across Bass Strait providing some mental comfort. Everyone involved enjoyed it and vowed to do it again one day.
This photo is of Deal Island around 60 nm from the mainland.Oz flying adventure
 
AWESOME ADVENTURE GUYS!!! Been following the FB posts & pics ...be great if you share more & details HERE!
I cannot imagine the pucker-factor of 100 NM of hostile unlandable terrain below ....you will no doubt recall MY reality-check when faced with a mere 10NM water crossing to KI at the Aussie 2017 Nationals at Goolwa! HUGE RESPECT ..to you all!
I have great AWE for the likes of Norman Surplus,James Ketchell & all those who have flown gyros across Bass strait too!

I see some kind of aux-fuel tank ...in the above ..pic ...some details & more pics would be most interesting!
 
Yes, more photos, please.
The first fatal shark attack near Sidney in 60 or so years must make flying over these waters very interesting indeed.
 
"These waters" are nowhere near Sydney, of course...
 
Loads of sharks around Tasmania. Apparently, Great Whites from the seas around Tasmania have been tracked up as far as NSW. Always hoping to spot some whales off the west cost of Ireland from the gyro, but only dolphins so far. Just wondering what precautions Rick E and his friends took on the trip. My wife will only cross water at 30,000ft. :) I only assume a glide ratio of 3 to 1 in my gyro.
 
I was not suggesting there are no sharks where he's flying. It was more a comment on availability bias. Suddenly millions of people are thinking about (very rare) shark attacks because of an attack five hundred (in your case, many thousands of) miles away.
People tend to assess the relative importance of issues by the ease with which they are retrieved from memory—and this is largely determined by the extent of coverage in the media. – Daniel Kahneman
A striking example of availability bias is the fact that sharks save the lives of swimmers. Careful analysis of deaths in the ocean near San Diego shows that on average, the death of each swimmer killed by a shark saves the lives of ten others. Every time a swimmer is killed, the number of deaths by drowning goes down for a few years and then returns to the normal level. The effect occurs because reports of death by shark attack are remembered more vividly than reports of drownings. – Freeman Dyson
https://fs.blog/mental-model-availability-bias/ :)
I guess Rick E & company were not deterred, haha.

I'd venture a guess that there are (unfortunately) more gyroplane fatalities each year than deaths by shark.

Consider yourself lucky (er, maybe) that your wife likes to fly with you at all. Mine agreed to once, then made me land within ten minutes! She said she couldn't breathe. And we were nowhere near 30,000 ft, yet! :sneaky:

You ought actually to test your glide ratio. My Magni gets closer to 5:1. Of course it's always nice to cross water with a little tailwind, if possible. And an inflatable life vest.

I actually spotted a pod of (probably) pilot whales from my gyro just crossing Long Island Sound (between Connecticut and New York). It was their spouting that attracted my attention!

I hope we get lots more photos of the Tassie expedition. Maybe even some footage flying over the beautiful river Derwent?
 
Must try your glide ratio advice to see how my ELA07S performs in head and tail winds. My wife has flown with me a few times, but only on condition that we did not fly over water! She has no problem flying to Spain in a 737! :)
 
5:1 is pretty good Tyger. I don’t think my SCM912 had a glide ratio that good. Maybe do to additional drag or smaller rotors?
 
I've tested my glide ratio by flying over the runway at exactly 500 ft. AGL and chopping the power directly over the first white runway line after the numbers and then using the lines on the runway which are in the US standardized to 120' long with 80' in between lines to measure exactly where I touch down. Then do a second run and as you pass the numbers at 500 ft. AGL note a spot on the windshield that corresponds to where you touched down last time. In the event of an engine failure at any altitude that spot on the windshield should match up pretty close to your touchdown spot. You will get more glide with a stopped prop than the windmiling one in the test so it is an approximate point.
 
5:1 is pretty good Tyger. I don’t think my SCM912 had a glide ratio that good. Maybe do to additional drag or smaller rotors?
I agree that is a pretty good number. It surely has a lot to do with overall drag, and probably a bit to do with rotor design and interia, etc., but I am not sure. I flew with an experienced Cavalon guy back in 2020 who said he would only expect about 3:1 in that machine.

Ventana, what number did your testing show? Was it in the Xenon?

It occurs to me that a tailwind is helpful when crossing water only if your engine does not quit, say, just a third of the way across! Plan that "point of no return" with the wind in mind.

With regard to the "mental comfort" of even tiny islands, I'd be much happier putting down on a beach (or just near a beach), than in totally open water.
 
Strong tailwinds give me ground speeds significantly higher than indicated airspeed. If the Rotax goes silent, which will get me to dry land over the same glide distance: a tailwind or a headwind? What about the height cost of doing a 180 turn if you have not reached the point of no return over water?
 
If you have a strong tailwind, that "point of no return" is going to be much closer to the shore that you just departed.
If you have a headwind, the opposite will be true but, as you point out, you will lose some altitude just turning around (thereby turning that headwind into a tailwind). However, in a rotorcraft, I would expect that 180 to cost you much less altitude than in an airplane.
 
However, in a rotorcraft, I would expect that 180 to cost you much less altitude than in an airplane.

Why?

An airplane might require a larger turn radius owing to higher speed, but can fly that turn at a much better glide angle (double the L/D wouldn't be unusual).
 
I once made a fifteen nautical mile engine out landing (91,142 feet) from 12,800 feet altitude in The Predator with a variable tail wind making for a glide ratio of seven to one because of the tail wind. As I got closer to the earth the wind speed diminished and changed direction (wind gradient).

I teach people to assume a three to one glide ratio with an engine out in The Predator because it is easy to figure and generally leaves a little reserve. At 550 feet above the ground (rotorcraft pattern altitude at the Santa Maria public airport) I expect to touch down 1,650 feet from the place the engine goes quiet so my pattern is about a quarter mile from the runway (1,320 feet).

My Garmin 496 GPS shows glide ratio and it varies significantly as I pass through the wind speed gradients and change directions in relation to the wind. I seldom have to take the controls when practicing engine out landings from the downwind.
 
I agree that is a pretty good number. It surely has a lot to do with overall drag, and probably a bit to do with rotor design and interia, etc., but I am not sure. I flew with an experienced Cavalon guy back in 2020 who said he would only expect about 3:1 in that machine.

Ventana, what number did your testing show? Was it in the Xenon?

It occurs to me that a tailwind is helpful when crossing water only if your engine does not quit, say, just a third of the way across! Plan that "point of no return" with the wind in mind.

With regard to the "mental comfort" of even tiny islands, I'd be much happier putting down on a beach (or just near a beach), than in totally open water.
I was about a 3:1 glide ratio in the Xenon- my exercise was really to be able to put a dot on the windshield which would then instantly show you your approximate touch down spot from any height AGL.
 
As an extremely rough guide That I used on the Bensen, in still air conditions, very rare, was a 45 degree cone down from the gyro indicating the area I could make. this then distorted accordingly with the wind.

The Bensen did not glide well at all, and I noticed that our Hornet could go much further in a power off descent.

I have only done two engine outs for real, one Bensen one Cricket, both cases below 500' and just after take-off, so not much gliding involved.
 
Just wondering what precautions Rick E and his friends took on the trip.
Before we left the mainland we all spent a day going over all gyros making sure they were in the best condition possible. We all obviously wore life jackets and one of the group carried a life raft. ATC monitored us as we crossed with 15 minute scheduled reporting. We waited for near perfect conditions.
On our return journey we did have some drama with one of the 914 machines suffering a regulator failure. Fortunately he was within 5nm of one of the few islands on the crossing on which both he and I landed to assess the problem. He landed on the island with only 8.4 V displayed. Again, fortunately we all carry spare regulators and jump starters which solved the problem and we continued on.
He was very lucky and this could have quite easily ended badly.
 
Rick, was that the standard Ducati regulator on that 914?
I've seen one advertised from B&C and wonder if it is more reliable.
Brian
 
Just the standard Ducati regulator. The gyro has over 1000hrs and has never replaced the regulator, just unfortunate that it happened where it did.
The Ducati regulator has a fairly poor history as I have replaced two. A better quality unit would be most welcome.
 
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