Powered Sport Flying Magazine

Sv.grainne

Super Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2020
Messages
2,541
Location
Kerrville, Texas
Aircraft
Aviomania G1sB Genesis: Trained in: MTO 2017/Magni M-16/Tango-2
Powered Sport Flying Magazine
To All Members: August 25, 2023

Several years ago the Popular Rotorcraft Association (PRA) partnered with Roy Beisswenger, publisher of the Powered Sport Flying Magazine, in an effort to provide our members with a copy of the magazine. The magazine was offered in either print or electronic format on our website. With the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 and continuing to this time, there appears to have been a lack of suitable content for inclusion in the magazine, resulting in a decrease from the advertised four issues per year to one issue in 2022 and only one to date this year.

The PRA has been in touch with Roy but it does not appear that he will be able to reliably publish the magazine going forward. Roy did confirm that when a new issue is published he will honor the subscription so that each subscriber will receive a total of four issues.

As a result of this situation, the PRA is severing our relationship with Roy and will no longer offer the publication as an additional benefit for our members. We may, at some point in the future, reconsider our position or include some other suitable publication.

To that end, the PRA intends to refund the twelve dollars ($12.00) paid for the Powered Sport Flying subscription effective with new or renewal memberships created on or after July 01, 2023.

We hope that you will understand our position and will continue to support our efforts going forward.

Sincerely,

Board of Directors
 
There are many gyroplane pilots that I know around the country who are not members of the PRA. When asked why, they always suggest that they don't see the benefit in paying $50 a year to an organization that does not seem to give them much back. They simply seem to believe that the PRA has not provided them with a good reason to join. Two clubs on the east coast do not actively promote membership into the PRA or require membership to participate in the local club. Both clubs fell away or never joined the PRA as official chapter about the same time that the PRA acquired the Mentone Airport.

Here in Texas the only active PRA Chapter is the Lone Star Rotorcraft Club Chapter 62 it has annual membership dues and PRA membership is not required to be a member in that club either. At one time there were three chapters here. Outside of Chapter 62 most of the activity today is centered around Dayton Dabbs and Craig McPherson and their students and sales for Magni and Autogyro USA respectfully. To my knowledge neither of the two dealers encourage PRA membership. Perhaps manufacturers and dealers around the country could be approached by the PRA leadership to establish local chapters and include PRA membership as part of gryoplane sales and training packages they offer.

In my opinion the PRA must find a way to promote it's mission and possibly reduce the dues while encouraging Chapters to include PRA membership with their own annual dues. Perhaps local chapters can provide PRA a reduced rate membership included in their Chapter dues say $50 total with $25 for the PRA and $25 for the local Chapter with the PRA dues paid by the Chapter Treasurer to the PRA. Perhaps local chapters can provide Wings Credit programs (there are ways to use already published safety/training videos or have a local CFI provide the training) for active PRA members with the FAA Safety Program. Chapter Secretaries could submit training rosters for the Wings Credit. This can help with bi-annual certification training requirements. Perhaps Members can then see some benefit for being part of the PRA.
 
Tom
The reason Dayton representing Magni and Craig representing AG don’t encourage their students or customers to join PRA is because there is a perception issue with these manufacturers. Let’s be honest calling modern Jukka style gyroplanes Eurotubs, prescribing CLT and + tails close to prop isn’t going to gain favor with these manufacturers and their customers. The perception which I may add is incorrect that PRA is part of that narrative. It’s not but that is just what these manufacturers have come to believe.
The little growth in gyroplane ownership is within that sector. That’s the reality.
 
Last edited:
Gyroplanes are such a tiny niche in Aviation; it is a shame that we cannot find a way to unify.
Points above are valid.
 
I consider myself part of the tail end of the "old guard." of the gyroplane community. The Gary Goldsberry, Ken Brock, Igor Bensen, Chuck Beatty, Ernie Boyette, Dennis Fetters, Red Smith folks are gone from the gyroplane world. The new guard, in the United States, is Abid Farooqui, Craig McPherson, Dayton Dabbs, Denis Schoemaker, Vance Breese, Chris Toevs, Tony Thomas, etc. As such, it is abundantly clear that Tom and Abid are right. The PRA is not perceived as offering very much for the price of admission.

Just a browse of the members section of the PRA web site will make this clear. In that section you can read a magazine exclusively written by gyro folks for gyro folks. The last issue posted on the web site is for 1999. I remember (Don't you just hate it when some old guy says, with a little quiver in his voice, "I remember"?) When the PRA was the voice of the gyroplane community to the FAA. I don't think that is the case today.

I took a break from the community in about 2005. At that time Magni was almost the only gyro that fit the current mold. Much of the old guard disparaged them. If you had told me that there would be $200,000 gyroplanes available, I would have been sure you were smoking weird stuff. Now, when I browse the gyro section of Barnstormers, I see most of the newer gyros listed there to be at or above $100,000.

I don't know how the PRA will ever become relevant again. I hope it does, and I will continue to subscribe, but mostly, because I want to support the folks that have stepped up to try and reverse the slide. The current leadership of the PRA has my admiration.

Jim
 
Last edited:
To add to this conversation. At our club meeting today our newsletter was brought up. In the past we used to send a copy of our newsletter to a PRA chapter coordinator. Who could then keep track of each clubs activities and also add news about each club in the PRA magazine.

I realize we no longer have the PRA magazine. But I believe having a PRA chapter coordinator would be useful. Information could still be posted on the PRA website.
 
I think that's a great idea. I'll copy this and send it to the board.
 
To add to this conversation. At our club meeting today our newsletter was brought up. In the past we used to send a copy of our newsletter to a PRA chapter coordinator. Who could then keep track of each clubs activities and also add news about each club in the PRA magazine.

I realize we no longer have the PRA magazine. But I believe having a PRA chapter coordinator would be useful. Information could still be posted on the PRA website.
AND ..as the last/past PRA Chapter Co-ordinator ..I THANK YOU Chuck and YOUR club for their faithfulness in submitting your regular club activity & newsletter!
YOU & Chapter 62 @ Anahuac and Chapter 1 seem to be the only somewhat still organized and active chapters. Mentone chapter have a few old members left but the loss of Glenn Bundy was a severe blow! The Oregon chapter ..used to send me information but have fizzled. Sunstate and Utah disbanded - although there are still many older-style gyros hangared and building activity happens at Wauchula!

EVEN WHEN I HAD A LEAST 10 chapters across the USA ...fairly active with meetings and building/tinkering. JUST trying to get input & an annual summary was like pulling teeth / herding cats! - in order for me to submit an annual Chapter Co-ordinators REPORT!

A couple of years ago I turned in the box of Chapter's Co-ordinator materials to the PRA office. ( thoroughly discouraged & like several before me - just gave-up!)

My suggestion is that EACH active Chapter submit a few lines ...OR a nice report /photos to a special area on our PRA website - MONTHLY ..to SHOW Website members & visitors ...what they are doing - in the local chapter! ...I Know a lot of Chapter 62 pictures and activity is put up on Facebook ... perhaps a copy posted to PRA website! If other chapters put up a newsletter or meeting information on the website ...we can figure out WHO is still a functioning chapter and let new folks know where to find their local group!
 
Tom Milton is our current newsletter editor. He emails it out in a PDF format. Would that work for you.
 

Attachments

  • 2023 nl August-compressed.pdf
    8.1 MB · Views: 35
Where would you like them emailed to. I take it the PDF file is ok.
 
I'd like to work with Denis Schoemaker to reinvigorate our PRA chapter here in Minnesota. I've become more active in a local EAA chapter near me to quietly spread the joy of gyros within that group and maybe, just maybe, woo a few into the fold. They have me doing the program in November on my build and my flight to OSH this year. I'm looking forward to spreading the word.
 
Super, anything you can do is appreciated. Speaking for myself of course!
 
If you had told me that there would be $200,000 gyroplanes available, I would have been sure you were smoking weird stuff. Now, when I browse the gyro section of Barnstormers, I see most of the newer gyros listed there to be at or above $100,000.
Jim

The price of the revolutionary 447 Commander gyroplane, painted, with weekend assembly and everything ready to fly included -----

$4,200 ----- Some gas, and common sense required.
 

Attachments

  • Powered Sport Flying Magazine
    AC Ad.jpg
    219.5 KB · Views: 14
  • Powered Sport Flying Magazine
    AC poster Front small.jpg
    214.8 KB · Views: 13
  • Powered Sport Flying Magazine
    AirCommandAd small.jpg
    324.7 KB · Views: 13
Trouble is, not many people want a basic, open-frame gyro anymore.

Perhaps Americans are not as brave as they were when the Bensen gyro came out (those hardy 1950's-60's gyro buyers had survived the 1930's Depression and WWII; moreover, many more grew up in rural locations than is now the case). An open-frame aircraft looks absolutely insane to the average person today -- a person who has maybe once braved an airline flight to Florida, knuckles white the whole time.

Or maybe it's demographics. There are fewer and fewer truly middle-class people about. Some are now upper-middle-class (i.e. they have $100K+ cash on hand to spend on a toy). Many others have slid down to working class; they often have zero spare cash.

Given all that, I wonder what PRA's mission could be today. In the Bensen era, PRA disseminated information about ultra-simple DIY aircraft. Many articles dealt with basic shop skills (deburr your drilled holes...). Others unveiled the latest innovations for Bensen-style gyros (this is a seat tank, boys and girls...).

Maybe PRA needs to be repurposed as the Mentone Rotorcraft Flyin, Inc., much like the organization that runs Sun 'n Fun (which is separate from the EAA).
 
Trouble is, not many people want a basic, open-frame gyro anymore.
True...which is kinda sad. I had not given it much thought for decades, before getting reintroduced to modern E-tubs last year. I thoroughly enjoyed learning to fly those, but then Denis Schoemaker's videos caught my attention. Now with a few dozen hours in my open frame gyro I still can't wipe the grin off my face. Perhaps as the numbers grow, so will the interest. Only time will tell, but I certainly hope so. Ken Wallis is my new hero...I hope to fly mine into my 90s!
 
The price of the revolutionary 447 Commander gyroplane, painted, with weekend assembly and everything ready to fly included -----

$4,200 ----- Some gas, and common sense required
I sold and built a bunch of those Commanders as a dealer. Myself and Helicopter (gyro) Ed (also a dealer) even had our wives try building one.
This comment is not to suggest that old school females couldn't do things. I got the idea that having my wife build a complete gyro from Dennis' plans, might show me where we could improve the instructions.
My wife was back in the house in a matter of minutes asking "what is a torque wrench". My wife had very little experience with tools, completed the gyro in around 40 hours.
When customers ask if Air Command's 40 hours build time was accurate (or a sales tool) I related my wife story. When I talked to Ed and was excited to tell him about the new sales tool, That's when I found out that Bernadine also built a Air Command in around the same amount of time.

I liked the Air Command from first sight. I thought 4K plus for a gyro was a bit pricey, but I was brought up on shared plans Bensen gyro construction that actually netted Igor the sale of a nose wheel fork to me at the PRA Convention in Rockford, in 1973(?) Igor actually trucked up his gyro behind his F150 and had a decent store of parts along. Bensen always had his helper, Charlie Elrod along. Charlie saw me struggling with starting my 90 MAC and gave me sage advice that allowed me to start the cantankerous drone motor. Amazing times P.S. I had a total of less than $1,200 in my first gyro. (why I thought Fetters project was doomed) I have been wrong up until a few years ago and now realize that if you build a sexy gyro with a reliable motor, They will come. I certified a gyro reputed to have cost a quarter million. WHODA THUNK IT?
 
Trouble is, not many people want a basic, open-frame gyro anymore.

Perhaps Americans are not as brave as they were when the Bensen gyro came out (those hardy 1950's-60's gyro buyers had survived the 1930's Depression and WWII; moreover, many more grew up in rural locations than is now the case). An open-frame aircraft looks absolutely insane to the average person today -- a person who has maybe once braved an airline flight to Florida, knuckles white the whole time.

Or maybe it's demographics. There are fewer and fewer truly middle-class people about. Some are now upper-middle-class (i.e. they have $100K+ cash on hand to spend on a toy). Many others have slid down to working class; they often have zero spare cash.

Given all that, I wonder what PRA's mission could be today. In the Bensen era, PRA disseminated information about ultra-simple DIY aircraft. Many articles dealt with basic shop skills (deburr your drilled holes...). Others unveiled the latest innovations for Bensen-style gyros (this is a seat tank, boys and girls...).

Maybe PRA needs to be repurposed as the Mentone Rotorcraft Flyin, Inc., much like the organization that runs Sun 'n Fun (which is separate from the EAA).
I was certain that the Nitro Circus types, the motorcycle jumping, dirt truck racing NASCAR folks like Travis Pastrana Hailee Deegan, both who ventured into NASCAR from dirt. A few years back, NASCAR driver (semi-retired) Ryan Newman, from South Bend, IN. had his wife fly him, in his helicopter, to MENTONE to learn about and buy a gyroplane, unfortunately, it was NOT the week of the convention. I tipped several manufacturers to his desire. I doubt any acted on it as I have not received a royalty check. All it takes is one Cleetus McFalrand (you tube him) to light the gyro world up.
 
Top