Rotor Track & Balance (RTB) training

Mike G

Junior Member
Gyrocopter Rotor Dynamic Track and Balance training.

After spending a lot of time developing and test flying the track and balance procedures for the Smart Avionics PB3 and PB4 dynamic balancer as a hobby, a few years ago a colleague and I set up a small company in France, Vayavolo, to teach operators to track and balance gyro rotors.
We started by demonstrating our procedure on the PB3 at Arrowcopter in Austria, Arrowcopter%202_zpsxd7mhftm.jpg
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MikeG
 

Mike G

Junior Member
Things moved slowly until 2017 when we were asked to train the staff at Gyro Tech rotors in Poland using the PB4

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Mike G

Junior Member
and then this year 2018 things really accelerated. First we were asked do a training session at Silverlight in Florida.

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Mike G

Junior Member
We were then asked to visit the AutoGyro factory in Germany to discuss vibration issues generally and our procedure and the potential use of the PB4 to replace their Vibrex.

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Mike G

Junior Member
rapidly followed by a visit to the Magni factory in Italy to help develop our procedure to work with the Magni rotors replacing their Vibrex by the PB4,
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Mike G

Junior Member
followed immediately by a visit to the Brako factory in Italy to help with a rogue rotor, after which they rapidly ordered a PB4 and a training session.

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Mike G

Junior Member
We then moved on to a, very cold, training session in Romania for the Polish factory operators at Trendak to convert from their old PB3 to the PB4 and our procedure.

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Mike G

Junior Member
It’s probably fair to say that the PB4 with the Vayavolo Dynamic Track & Balance procedure is becoming the most popular rotor balancing package for European gyrocopter manufacturers, most of whom are encouraging their distributers to equip themselves and be trained.

Due to its easy file transfer capabilities this is a very interesting tool for distributors allowing them to share files instantaneously with their factory experts (or Vayavolo) to discuss difficult cases when they arise.

I shall be doing another 2-day training session with Silverlight just after Sebring in January, if anybody is interested in joining us contact Abid at Silverlight or if you want to set up another session elsewhere let me know because I have to book my flights to the US.

Vayavolo has no commercial link to Smart Avionics and do not receive any sort of commission for PB4 sales.

Visit our website (English version under development) at http://vayavolo.com/rotorcraft-balancing/en/

Mike G
 

magknight

Member
Man you've been busy! There should be no more poorly balanced gyros in Europe in 2019! :) Now we need you to conquer the USA!
 

Mike G

Junior Member
Jason thanks for the comment, in fact there are still a lot of badly balanced rotors in Europe, see my post https://www.rotaryforum.com/forum/kit-makers-manufacturers/magni-gyroplanes/1127564-safety-wire-magni-teeter-pivot-lock-ring-yes-or-no.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to put this in writing, the lack of interest in this post, except yours and Jean Claude’s simply confirms to me that there is not enough interest among the “professionals” in this subject for me to return to “conquer” the US.

This is going to be a bit long winded but it’s in the hope you’ll understand where I’m coming from and where we hope to go in the future.

When I started 6 years ago with the PB3 I thought this is great everyone can afford one and I encouraged a lot of guys to buy one. I soon realised that what I thought was pretty simple, most people found very complicated. At the time I was responsible for the tech part of purchasing all the large rotating machines for the French Oil company Total so balancing rotors was part of my job and because I did all of the development test flying of the PB3 as a rotor balancer the software was second nature to me so it was a bit stupid of me not to realise the difficulties for others. Also even those who grasped how to balance only did it once or twice a year and quickly forgot how to do it, it’s like any software, if you don’t use it often you forget how to and the PB3 interface and menus were relatively complicated.

With a colleague (Jérôme Prompsy) we then set up a small company (Vayavolo) in France because we were asked to teach the French Magni dealers how to balance with the PB3. We also offered a balancing service in France but that didn’t work because it usually cost more in travel expenses for us to get to the gyro than the price we could charge for a rotor balance. We then realised that the best solution for owners was for there to be a number of well trained and equipped dealers so that owners could go to a guy locally who was balancing often and had built up experience.

So we started encouraging the manufacturers to use the PB3/4, they were already going that way anyway because they’d realised that their dealers couldn’t afford the top of the range Vibrex type balancers and Magni and AutoGyro were even buying PB3s and 4s in bulk to sell on to their dealers. You can see on the RWF that we’ve now trained/converted all the major European manufacturers to the PB4 with our RTB procedure.

In parallel I started trying to work with the PRA in US and in the UK the BRA (British Rotorcraft Association) and LAA (Light Aircraft Association who have inspectors who sign off gyros for their annuals) to try to set up the situation where in the US each chapter had a balance guy equipped and trained. The PRA were gung ho until they realised I wanted paying, they wanted me to train one guy who’d take a video and train the rest. I then tried to do a training session at Bensen days last year but they wouldn’t let me because of an insurance problem. So we spent a lot of money going to Bensen Days for nothing, only one guy actually wanted to know more and I ended up helping him out recently over the internet, but generally there was no interest.

The Brits were even more disinterested, the BRA said talk to the LAA and the LAA said talk to the BRA. When I asked the LAA how an inspector could sign off a gyro without any knowledge of the level of vibration that machine had they had no answer. Gyrocopter Experience found 2 of their guys who were interested in being trained but one was in the north of Scotland and the other in the south of England.

This year I contacted the US dealers for a number of European manufacturers saying that I would be in the states and available to train them if they organised themselves. One couldn’t get its act together even though I offered a number of solutions, another was enthusiastic until I told him what it would cost and the others didn’t even answer my email.

For the moment Abid of Silverlight and Andy Wall of ELA are the only “professionals” in the US that have understood the need for proper RTB training. Abid for himself and his dealers has been organised enough to get me to the US twice and Andy came to Spain for the training session at ELA. Abid and Vayavolo share my travel expenses and we don’t intend to lose any more money trying to train disinterested US “professionals”.

Since our dream of helping set up an RTB network in US & UK won’t work due to lack of interest from dealers and the PRA, BRA, LAA etc. we are looking at going back to the original plan of encouraging owners (or groups of owners) to purchase a balancer but with training. The big failure of this approach earlier with the PB3 was that we didn’t have a training program, the PB3 was not very user friendly and our travel expenses often came out greater than the cost of training. Now we have the PB4 with a much more user friendly interface and more advanced software assistance for the operator, a tested training program and we are looking at an on line training setup for owners for 2019. Dealers can get their training from their manufacturer.

Sorry if this sounds so negative but honestly I’m getting pretty fed up trying to deal with some of the movers and shakers in this gyro world.

Mike Goodrich
 
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