Stirrable nose wheel or differential brakes.

Aviator168

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What would you prefer? Stirrable nose wheel or differential brakes? I like the latter. Feel that it is a bit easier to control.
 

All_In

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Differential brakes can turn/pivot on one locked brake. But not needed on most runways as they are so wide you can turn even large aircraft around no problem with Stirrable nose wheel too. It's where you land or take-off from and may need to do a u-turn in confined space like a narrow dirt road.
But we can just get out and push the tail down nose up and spin then around they are so light.
 

Vance

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The advantage of a free castering nose wheel is that you can land in a cross wind with full rudder in and she will still go straight.

The gyroplane I train in (The Predator) has a free castering nose wheel and I prefer it to any steerable nose wheel gyroplane I have flown.

Most currently produced gyroplanes have a steerable nose wheel and a few of my clients prefer it.

With a steerable nose wheel in a cross wind landing from the left I would have right pedal in and if I drop the nose wheel with much forward speed I may induce instability.

The trick is to keep the nose in the air until nearly stopped.

Unfortunately some low time clients have trouble with that.

Some gyroplanes have a soft linked nose wheel with springs and lots of trail and this can make touching down with forward speed in a cross wind less troublesome.

This combination tends to make them have a wider turning circle.

The gyroplanes I learned to fly in (SparrowHawks and modified RAFs) were particularly prone to tipping over because of the steerable nose wheel.
 

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All_In

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As Vance explains... If it is a hard coupled steerable nose wheel then you should always do a soft-field landing and takeoff.
Most are NOT hard coupled but have at least semi-free castering nose wheels many attached with springs. These are forgiving when you touch down early holding the rudder for a crosswind. They straighten right out.

Always use soft-field procedures with cross-winds and the only consideration left for differential braking is the diameter of the turn needed.
 

wolfy

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They both have there advantages and it also depends on where you operate from, a hard linked nose wheel performs much better if needing to taxi/take off over rough/soft ground.

wolfy
 

BEN S

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I do not agree with these opinons about hard linked nosewheels. Yes I've flown both.
A catering nose wheel and differential steering is one of the biggest safety features you will use on a daily basis besides your seat belt!
 

WaspAir

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A well-designed steerable nosewheel is no problem in cross-winds, as any Piper, Cessna, or Beech pilot can tell you. The difficulty comes from some gyro builders who do a half-baked job of it, perhaps overdoing their efforts to make it cheap, simple, and light.

Personally, I always land directly into the wind with essentially no ground speed, and it doesn't much matter in that condition. The gyro I fly most often has a castering wheel with a centering pin and collar that positions the wheel when unloaded with the suspension extended, and it works fine, but so did the steerable wheel on my old McCulloch J-2.
 

Chris Burgess

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Howdy WaspAir, tell them what happens in the 18A if you have the prerotator fully engaged, brakes held, and accidentally let the aircraft "creep" forward a little before that take-off button is pushed, when planning a short rolling takeoff. Surprise.!!

On subject though, I prefer differential braking for the straight nosewheel aspect in any wind condition.
 

Vance

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As Vance explains... If it is a hard coupled steerable nose wheel then you should always do a soft-field landing and takeoff.
Always use soft-field procedures with cross-winds and the only consideration left for differential braking is the diameter of the turn needed.
I do not recommend always doing a soft field landing with a steerable nose wheel.

From the Rotorcraft Flying Handbook

“SOFT-FIELD LANDING Use the soft-field landing technique when the landing surface presents high wheel drag, such as mud, snow, sand, tall grass or standing water.

The objective is to transfer the weight of the gyroplane from the rotor to the landing gear as gently and slowly as possible.

With a headwind close to the touchdown speed of the gyroplane, a power approach can be made close to the minimum level flight speed. As you increase the nose pitch attitude just prior to touchdown, add additional power to cushion the landing. However, power should be removed, just as the wheels are ready to touch.

This result is a very slow, gentle touchdown.

In a strong headwind, avoid allowing the gyroplane to roll rearward at touchdown.

After touchdown, smoothly and gently lower the nosewheel to the ground. Minimize the use of brakes, and remain aware that the nosewheel could dig in the soft surface.

When no wind exists, use a steep approach similar to a short-field landing so that the forward speed can be dissipated during the flare. Use the throttle to cushion the touchdown.”

A power off accurate landing and a short field landing are part of the practical test standards so they should be practiced in preparation for the proficiency check ride.

I do recommend keeping the nose in the air until the gyroplane is stopped and staying light on the pedals in all landings with linked nose wheel steering.

A low time pilot may have trouble with both and more than a few gyroplanes have been tipped over because of these particular errors.
 

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I do not recommend always doing a soft field landing with a steerable nose wheel.
...

I do recommend keeping the nose in the air until the gyroplane is stopped and staying light on the pedals in all landings with linked nose wheel steering.
Yaw Mon, we agree completely. As a Piper dealer with many leased back makes and models I had little time in but often had to ferry. I was taught to do that with all hard-linked FW aircraft and you will never have a problem.
 

SportCopter

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The Sport Copter M2 will benefit from our 30 years development of rugged suspension and safe trailing-link fully castering nosewheel.
Thus, only 17.2% of Sport Copter incidents have occurred during takeoffs and non-emergency landings.
For a leading competitor, their incident rate occurring during takeoffs and non-emergency landings has so far been 3x greater at 51%.

Here are still frames from a recent test Jim Vanek performed in our Vortex M912, intentionally landing at a severe crabbed angle.

Sport Copter crabbed landing-1.png
Sport Copter crabbed landing-2.png
 

WaspAir

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Howdy WaspAir, tell them what happens in the 18A if you have the prerotator fully engaged, brakes held, and accidentally let the aircraft "creep" forward a little before that take-off button is pushed, when planning a short rolling takeoff. Surprise.!!
I think you must mean the clutch release button, not the take-off button. It's a dumb thing to do, but if you do it, lacking a tail rotor, it will turn sharply right from the prerotation torque if you start to roll but have not already de-clutched. If it happens, you de-clutch and straighten out again before proceeding.

The mass and energy involved is huge compared to the typical prerotation scheme on common teetering two blade gyros, and the brakes are what resists yawing during spin-up. Lots of light gyros can taxi with the prerotation still engaged, but the A&S18A has too much muscle applied to get away with that, so you sit perfectly still during spin-up.

For a proper short rolling take-off, starting with firmly applied brakes, proper runway alignment and good rotor rpm, you shove the throttle lever full forward with the left hand, holding the index finger out to hit the de-clutch button on the panel just as the throttle stop is reached, release the brakes, roll forward (with brake steering if needed), position the stick about one inch left and aft, and when desired airspeed is reached, you then punch the take-off button on top of the throttle lever with your left thumb.
 

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The Sport Copter M2 will benefit from our 30 years development of rugged suspension and safe trailing-link fully castering nosewheel.
Thus, only 17.2% of Sport Copter incidents have occurred during takeoffs and non-emergency landings.
For a leading competitor, their incident rate occurring during takeoffs and non-emergency landings has so far been 3x greater at 51%.

Here are still frames from a recent test Jim Vanek performed in our Vortex M912, intentionally landing at a severe crabbed angle.

View attachment 1146950
View attachment 1146951
I can land anything just keep the nose wheel off the ground until lift will no longer hold it up, and you are stopped normally, but this is the design I prefer in all A/C types. It can even fix stupid human tricks most of the time.
 

ultracruiser41

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Both systems work. I’ve had no problems with either one. It’s all in the training and practice.
 

WaspAir

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Woo-hoo! That sounds like a challenge to master and a blast to fly.
Actually, it is far easier than most of the stuff others fly, because there is absolutely no rotor management to worry about, no possibility of a "flap", no balancing on the mains, or any of that stuff. It's a sequence of simple steps to do by the numbers (not by feel) requiring surprisingly little skill, but I agree that it is a blast to fly.
 

Doug Riley

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In some ways, Igor Bensen was ahead of us all. His original ground steering involved a directly-steerable nosewheel, but it wasn't linked to the rudder pedals at all. You had to shift your feet down off the rudder pedals to reach the nosewheel steering. If you held rudder to deal with a crosswind, then your feet weren't on the wheel steering, and the nosewheel could caster around. It did have centering springs, but it had quite a bit of "trail" that allowed the nosewheel to overcome the springs and point where it was going.

Bensen later offered "unitized" nosewheel-rudder steering, with a soft link that allowed the nosewheel to caster despite a mashed rudder pedal.

The risk if you hold the nosewheel off as long as possible (to avoid a swerve caused by a hard link) is that a cross-gust can flip you more easily with the rotor tilted far aft. Been there!

It's much safer in gusty or crosswind conditions to "kill" the rotor with full forward stick as soon as you touch down.

Differential braking takes a bit of getting used to, but it's worth it, IMHO. A free-castering nosewheel is the safest setup.
 

SportCopter

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Where the Rubber Meets the Runway — Understanding gyroplane nosewheels

So far the discussion has focused on landings, but take-off incidents are even more suggestive. Comparing a leading European gyro accident rate percentages during the below phases:
a Euro gyro vs. Sport Copter .png
(Due to rounding effects, the 51.0% ≠ 28.9% + 22.3%.)

Pedal-linking the gyro NW invites drama, especially for the new pilot with <100 hours. (Also, FW pilots are accustomed to using the rudder during take-offs and landings, and many find it tricky to transition into nosewheel-linked gyros.)

Because we design our gyros differently (damping suspension, fully castering nosewheel, and 300 rrpm prerotation at full aft stick) our take-off roll procedure is unlike others. For example, our training syllabus includes much wheel balancing and nosewheel tapping to develop proper feel for stick/thottle/airspeed on the roll:

Sport Copter transition training balance on the mains

(Don't try that in a hard-linked NW gyro during crosswind take-off.)

Also, before the take-off roll a Sport Copter pilot already has aft stick (vs. a flat disk) with prerotation of 200-300 RRPM. We almost never hear of "rotor flapping" from our customers. However, a fairly common accident scenario in other gyros is that the pilot forgets to move the prerotated flat disk back before commencing the take-off roll, rapidly achieves high ground speed without liftoff, and then incorrectly tries to rotate with aft stick (of a now decayed RRPM disk). This often causes a violent rotor see-sawing at 50+ mph GS while the gyro is roaring down the runway with its nosewheel linked to the rudder pedals. Either a high-speed runway excursion ensues, or, worse still, a sudden/sharp/brief liftoff with unintended yaw and roll which is difficult to correct to land safely during all the excitement.

One rather new SCII pilot (an ATP) allowed himself to be rushed by tower, and began his take-off roll with insufficient RRPM during gusty conditions. He experienced "rotor flap" and the blades struck the ground and the tail, but he credited Sport Copter's main gear suspension and fully castering nosewheel for not rolling over the gyro. It was a costly repair, but his SCII was not totaled, and he was uninjured.

The risk if you hold the nosewheel off as long as possible (to avoid a swerve caused by a hard link) is that a cross-gust can flip you more easily with the rotor tilted far aft. Been there!

It's much safer in gusty or crosswind conditions to "kill" the rotor with full forward stick as soon as you touch down.

Differential braking takes a bit of getting used to, but it's worth it, IMHO. A free-castering nosewheel is the safest setup.
We agree, thanks, Doug.

Our students who are already FW pilots are experienced with differential toe brakes (few airplanes don't have them), and appreciate the commonality. Also, they're amazed with the ability to taxi turnaround in very tight circles (such as a 180 on a taxiway if necessary).

Sport Copter 912 Lumber & Off-Road demo
 

Aviator168

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However, a fairly common accident scenario in other gyros is that the pilot forgets to move the prerotated flat disk back before commencing the take-off roll, rapidly achieves high ground speed without liftoff, and then incorrectly tries to rotate with aft stick (of a now decayed RRPM disk).
This sounds like the pilot is treating the gyro like a fixwing aircraft.
Isn't full after stick before rolling the standard gyro take off procedure.
 
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