Some thoughts on gyroplane flight instruction.

Greg Vos

Active Member
Joined
May 26, 2019
Messages
347
Location
Cape Town
Aircraft
R44/22 H269/300 MD 500 Magni (all); Xenon RST; DTA; ELA; MTO
Total Flight Time
Stoped counting at 3000
Based on the video of the accident at the World Air Games in Dubai some here feel the distraction of his helmet coming off caused some unintentional maneuvers resulting in a low g event and a torque roll or slip roll coupling.

That was covered in the Piloting Technique / Accident Discussions forum rather than the Training Forum.
The man at world air games should not have been flying, he was a low time pilot with under 100 total hours In fact I believe as little as 50.
With that amount of Pic time the smallest thing that goes south can cause a multitude of errors.... I’m just stating his flight hours as reference for those that don’t know.
 

Philbennett

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
477
Location
London
As we all may agree reading through some of these threads gets very unrewarding and I think once people start to mention helmets coming off ahead of the many other obvious factors it becomes another unrewarding distraction.

I have the video, in fact I used to work with a guy (instructor/examiner) who was part of the organisation. From first hand account the event was a shambles and like much of the recent discussion points over various accidents those involved seem to display a remarkable lack of awareness to the situation.

We could go into the circumstance around how the WAG accident pilot prior to the event had just 20hrs and 23mins of PIC, had only recently passed his gyroplane licence and was attending the event along with his instructor pilot from Holland, but I suspect its been done to death and the final report into the accident by the UAE sets out the formality and associated oversights.

Still as people involved with gyroplanes we might be familiar with such SNAFU.
 

Resasi

Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
8,018
Location
London/ Kilifi Kenya
Aircraft
Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
Good judgement comes from experience.

Unfortunately experience often comes from bad judgement. :(
 

Jazzenjohn

Gold Supporter
Joined
Oct 9, 2004
Messages
2,912
Location
Milan Mich.
Aircraft
I've designed, built, and flown 4 different ultralight gyros. Amassing parts for a 2 place now.
Total Flight Time
400+
Good judgement comes from experience.

Unfortunately experience often comes from bad judgement. :(
The ideal is that one learns from someone else's bad judgement. Not everyone needs to burn their hand on a stove to know it can be hot.
 

Greg Vos

Active Member
Joined
May 26, 2019
Messages
347
Location
Cape Town
Aircraft
R44/22 H269/300 MD 500 Magni (all); Xenon RST; DTA; ELA; MTO
Total Flight Time
Stoped counting at 3000
Good judgement comes from experience.

Unfortunately experience often comes from bad judgement. :(
Expierience ....the thing we get when we need it the least 😁
 

Resasi

Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
8,018
Location
London/ Kilifi Kenya
Aircraft
Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
The ideal is that one learns from someone else's bad judgement. Not everyone needs to burn their hand on a stove to know it can be hot.
Unfortunately no one is going to land for you. At some stage the instructor has to let you do it yourself.

That, to me as a new Instructor, was the hardest part.

An always ‘interesting’ experience was instructing seaplane on the Lake Amphibian. The engine was a pusher mounted on top of the wing.When you bought the throttle back to idle, unlike a conventional aircraft where the nose drops, the nose would pitch up, instead of down.

Your student in almost every case was already a fixed wing pilot land, who had only flown standard tractor aircraft. When they ease back the throttle to idle his/her muscle memory is going to counteract any nose drop by back stick.

This will have been extensively briefed. It will have been briefed again as the student begins their final approach. “Be aware that the nose will pitch up with a reduction in power!!!!!” They will have been told that they will probably forget this as they are about to touch down.

No prizes for guessing what happens. As they are flaring and pulling off the last bit of power they will ease back on the stick...they have, since they started flying, always done that.

Now the natural pitch up reaction of this aircraft, combined with the muscle memory actions of the student... unless stopped/blocked by the Instructor will result in a ballooning up with low airspeed, nose high attitude, to an altitude where unless something is rapidly done, it all rapidly going to get unpleasant.

But guess what a students instinctive reaction might be... slam in some power to save the incipient stall...then guess what happens on a pusher amphibian with a top mounted engine when you rapidly add power??? The nose pitches down...sharply!!!

There is a moment for all of us, even those with thousands of hours, when just before the touchdown, you have done everything to the best of your ability, it is perfectly balanced, right place, right time, right speed, cross wind catered for, when ones blissfully waits for the perfect touchdown, and something very unexpected happens. It is a vulnerable moment, and very much more so for a pilot, in an unfamiliar plane in an unusual place...ie about to land on water instead of the usual runway.

That John, is where no-one else but the student is going to learn about ‘hot stoves’. :)
 
Last edited:

Jazzenjohn

Gold Supporter
Joined
Oct 9, 2004
Messages
2,912
Location
Milan Mich.
Aircraft
I've designed, built, and flown 4 different ultralight gyros. Amassing parts for a 2 place now.
Total Flight Time
400+
That John, is where no-one else but the student is going to learn about ‘hot stoves’
I have no illusions that a student has to learn many things for themselves, but there are lessons that can be learned from others. There was a guy on the forum who insisted he was a fast learner and that he could save quite a bit of money by teaching himself how to fly a gyro. He pointed out that many people had done the same before him. Not an unusual idea for a newby IMO. When he crashed his gyro the first time, he claimed that now that he had trashed a set of blades, he had "learned his lesson" and he had "paid his dues". To most people, that would have meant that he would now take some lessons and continue, but for him, he believed that in that instant of failure, he had learned all that he needed to know so he wouldn't do it again and that the cost of a set of blades being about the same as lessons, he had paid the same amount as lessons so he should be good from then on. He crashed again and at that point claimed he didn't have any money left for lessons. He then wanted someone to tell him how to carve a set of blades out of a 2x6 so he could continue. No one seemed interested and he went away. I believe a rational intelligent person could view that and make a more sensible choice without having to follow his course of action. That is what I'm talking about.
 

Resasi

Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
8,018
Location
London/ Kilifi Kenya
Aircraft
Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
I get that John. :)

Just as my quote be taken in context.

But seriously, there are, almost necessary negative experiences, that we learn important lessons from, and I guess touching a hot stove might just be included in that lot. You didn’t have to touch, but doing so gave you an important lesson on the dangers of extreme temperatures. Licking a metal ice cube tray that held ice cream in my child hood springs to mind. All I was doing was tidying up a spill down the side.

The ‘fast’ learner on the forum was simply demonstrating that for some, they will never learn, and in fact are ideal candidates for the Darwin Awards.
 

Doug Riley

Platinum Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Messages
6,485
A bit off-topic, but not entirely:

Resasi's Post #26 describes the behavior of any high-thrustline aircraft -- of which pylon-pusher amphibs are the most extreme. A HTL gyro without proper H-stab compensation will behave the same way.

The Lake amphib has a down-loaded H-stab mounted near the middle of the prop slipstream -- but apparently it's not enough to eliminate the HTL effects altogether. Many HTL gyros with H-stabs also aren't entirely compensated, and will nose up when throttle is closed, etc.

In contrast, a Dominator noses down when the throttle is closed, more like a conventional FW.
 

Tyger

Active Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
930
Location
Germantown, NY
Aircraft
Magni M16
Total Flight Time
360
Hmm, I would say these aircraft nose up when the throttle is closed because of the compensation.
 

Doug Riley

Platinum Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Messages
6,485
A HTL gyro with NO H-stab will nose up quite noticeably when the throttle is closed. In this situation, the nose-up moment is not caused by an H-stab (there is none). Instead, it's caused by the fact that the rotor thrust was being used to supply the nose-up moment just before the throttle was closed. The gyro's airframe was hanging at an angle that put the rotor's thrustline ahead of the CG -- so the rotor thrust was continually pulling up on the nose, balancing the nose-down moment from the prop. The rotor thrust continues to apply this nose-up pull for a time after the throttle is closed, causing the nose to rise.

In somewhat the same way, the Lake's H-stab will continue to make SOME download after the throttle is closed, at a time when the download is no longer needed. As the nose rises, the H-stab's AOA will approach zero. This will kill off the remaining download, but perhaps only after the plane has ballooned and created a problem for the pilot trying to land.

Unlike the Lake, a gyro with a down-loaded, immersed H-stab will experience very little, if any, of this problem, though. Reasons? A pusher gyro's H-stab works in very disturbed air if there's no propwash to energize it. Moreover, a gyro lands so slowly that the free-air airspeed over the H-stab is very little, even apart from the turbulence.

Again from Dominator experience, I can report that the H-stab becomes pretty ineffective once the throttle is closed. You can detect this change because the gyro becomes more susceptible to lag and over-control on idling approaches.

Bottom line is that the gyro doesn't suffer unintended consequences from the use of an immersed, down-loaded H-stab, to any important extent. The Lake may.
 

C. Beaty

Gold Supporter
Joined
Apr 16, 2004
Messages
10,031
Location
Florida
Also, a HTL gyro is inclined to pitch the wrong way in turbulence; with rotor thrust vector leading the CG, an upward gust pitches the machine noseup. A stable flying machine pitches nosedown upon encountering an upward gust, always heading into the relative wind.
A HTL gyro behaves similarly to a tail heavy FW.
 

Resasi

Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
8,018
Location
London/ Kilifi Kenya
Aircraft
Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
Tyger, Doug, nailed it...for a moment forget niceties, and simply deal with what happens, regardless of the finer details.

As both Doug and Chuck have pointed out, there are a number of variations in behaviour between gyros, and, of various fixed wing types, that could potentially pose problems to first time/low time pilots.

As one progresses in ‘experience’/hard school of painful knocks, caution, and that very strong instinct for survival, kicks in. One learns to expect the worst, and, be ready for anything including possible complete reversal of expected reactions to control inputs.

So far working for me. Problem is 'tempus fugit’ and both brain and reactions slow down, hence a rather more cautious approach to my earlier 'I am invulnerable’ approach to flying.

Getting on a new single seat essentially make you the 'test pilot’ and it’s a steep learning curve...as the crash crew driver found out when he arrived at the scene of the accident, saw the rather battered pilot emerging from the wreckage, and asked,

‘What the hell happened?'
Pilot replied,
'Not sure. Just arrived here myself !!'
 

Doug Riley

Platinum Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Messages
6,485
Getting into a new 1-seat gyro certainly does make you a test pilot. This is the overwhelming problem with amateur 1-seat gyros, going all the way back to Bensen. Test-pilot-grade skills are needed when launching a new amateur-built gyro, yet most such gyros have been produced by low-time or no-time builders with zero test-pilot skills.

Bensen tried to impart a bit of test-pilot technique in his gyro flight manual. He advised the use of jab-and-return control movements, a test-pilot procedure for dealing with a (possibly) dynamically unstable aircraft. Yet the couple gyro instructors I've flown with have scolded me for employing that technique while I was getting used to their 2-place gyros. Hmmm...

The transition from a heavy 2-place trainer gyro to a light 1-place is only somewhat less challenging. The light 1-place moves about so much more, and reacts so much faster, that it's easy to picture a student getting behind the machine. This is my excuse for continuing to advocate crow-hops and over-the-runway flights, although these are not ideal, either.
 

Resasi

Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
8,018
Location
London/ Kilifi Kenya
Aircraft
Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
At the two locations where I trained and then later began assisting, was where most single seat training in the UK was done. Wheel balancing and crow hops over the runway were primary instructional methods.

At the second, Little Rissington, with a chase car and Instructor in two way radio contact either beside or just behind and to one side of the student on the single seater,
 
Top