The answer!

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
I flew up to Marysville in the Predator June 9th through June 12th for the Golden West Regional Fly In to meet with Mark Givans and show him how I had treated his baby for the last 3 and a half years and 760 hours of flying.

It was a little like meeting with a father in law.

He did say the vertical stabilizer was ready for paint with a hint of disapproval but he liked the seats and approved of the engine installation and propeller.

He sat in her and said she fit him better but would not fly her for fear of catching the gyroplane bug.

I had a great adventure and will try to describe it and post some pictures when I get my computer back.

I am getting ready to fly up to San Carlos for what used to be the Vertical Challenge at the Hiller Aviation Museum so I may not get a chance to write about it any time soon.

I learned a great deal and had several learning mistakes, for instance I took of from Marysville with the rudder gust lock in place and I went scud running near Salinas again.

I added 6 airports to the airports I have flown in to.

At each of these airports I would have a fixed wing pilot come up to me, look at the suitcase in the back seat and ask a series of questions beginning with “Where are you based?” After exclaiming “Wow that is quite a ways for a gyro copter!” They would ask “How fast will that thing go?” And then “What is you cruising speed?”

As many of you know I like to understand a question before I answer it. I like to understand the questioner's perspective so the terms I use make sense to them.

I could see that 95kts (109 miles per hour) straight and level and 85kts (98 miles per hour) at 75% power did not satisfy them and left them with a feeling that a gyroplane has limited performance. It was also an exaggeration because if I have the correct attitude I cruise at 65kts when flying long distances and 50kts when just poking around the sky.

This adventure was 837 miles long, so in my mind it qualifies as a long distance and I averaged 59kts (68 miles per hour).

I started asking these fixed wing pilots questions about their questions and came to imagine, some were explicit, that to them an airplane was to get somewhere and the faster and higher it would go the better it was. The airplane also got points for flying in bad weather. Somewhere on the flight from Oakdale to Georgetown the answer came to me.

When a very nice fellow there asked me “What is your cruising speed?” I leaned back and said it depends, I have the proper attitude for the way I like to fly I cruise at 65kts indicated air speed.

Naturally enough he asked, “What is the proper attitude?”

I slowed down a little and said in a bit of a drawl, “For me the proper attitude is when I understand that the destination is an excuse to get up in the air and enjoy aviation. I remember that the destination is not the point or the goal. Then I wander across the sky in a very casual way enjoying the sights and smells at 500 to 1,000 feet above the ground and 65kts knowing that my gyroplane will manage anything that might happen with style and grace.” I explained a little about 1.100 foot per minute climb at 40kts, zero roll landings and not having the stall/ spin demon on my shoulder. “Slower makes the flight last longer!”

“If I get in a hurry and let haste impinge on my attitude, I climb up to 7,500 feet and run along at 85kts, having less fun and getting cold.”

I don't know it this does a better job of answering their question. I am more satisfied with it because it is more truthful and it seems to illicit stories of Stearmans and Cubs. In my opinion this suggests a pilot bonding that did not happen with my previous answer. It also usually changed the focus of the discussion from limits to choice.

Thank you, Vance
 

Mark E

Newbie
I like that a lot. Vance is a man who understands himself, and the world, perhaps a little better than most do.
 

Gyro_Kai

Senior Member
Yes, that is indeed a very good answer. I am always surprised by the question "how high can you go" and tell them similar: I tried 5000 ft, but actually, the lower the better. I have frequent flyer cards for going high, but in the gyroplane I want to go low and enjoy the scenery.

Kai.
 

ckurz7000

Senior Member
It's a nice feeling when you really understand the point of the question and also know how best to reply to it in order to meet the other one in his own frame of reference.

You seem to be a very good communicator. Some people make a business out of this skill and become mediators.

Greetings, -- Chris.
 
“For me the proper attitude is when I understand that the destination is an excuse to get up in the air and enjoy aviation.
Thank you, Vance
You have revealed the secrets of the aviators Vance.
And you did it in one sentence..
thanks. Arnie.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Thank you all for the kind words!

Thank you all for the kind words!

I probably should have figured this out some time ago.

On this journey I was somehow more at peace and introspective as the beautiful countryside passed serenely beneath us to the cadence of the rotor.

I seemed to be better able to manage each unique self serve process and fill out my log book as I answered these questions and asked my own.

I was given a place to spend the night in Oakdale by a fixed wing pilot I had just met at the pump that was concerned about us getting to Georgetown before night fall. "The mountains are no place to fly at night and Georgetown is particularly challenging for a night landing."

Another pilot rearranged his Pitts and moved his Corvette out of his hanger so the Predator would not have to spend the night outside in Oakdale.

When we arrived at the airport at 6:30 am The Predator was out of the cramped hangar and ready to go.

They were complete strangers and we parted as friends.

These acts of kindness caused me to rethink my answer to these common question on the flight up to Georgetown to visit my friend Jim where I stayed for the next two nights.

Thank you, Vance
 

billygyro

Parsons 2 (AirHog)
Vance, I enjoy your post,

This is the same flying that I want to do in the future. I love long trips up in the air.

Nice Job, Fly safe.

Thanks BillyGyro
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Not what most gyroplane pilots do.

Not what most gyroplane pilots do.

Hello Billy,

I look forward to reading of your adventures and learning from you.

I feel you are good with people and they are part of the fun.

I love planning and executing a cross country with its unique challenges.

I suspect you will have fun with this because you are so detail oriented.

There is something magical for me each time I find a good way to enter the pattern at a strange airport and manage the communications well.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Thank you, Vance
 
Vance- I admire your professionalism and your attention to detail like no other here on the forum.

Now that I am flying helicopters....I am to avoid the flow of fixed wing traffic, and I feel like a rebel coming in opposite pattern, lower altitude , etc. Bottom line....I like being seperated and I prudently watch out for any rogue aircraft that is improperly flying. If everyone was like you, there would be perfect order. I see high speed down wind passes down the runway at our airport with a professional pilot coming in on final into the wind. I just schrug my shoulders and do ask the rogue pilot why is he flying endangering himself and others.

Stan
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Airport Challenges and Planning.

Airport Challenges and Planning.

Thank you Stan,

I feel most of the pilots here on the forum make an effort to manage their pattern work and radio calls well.

One of the challenges cross country flying presents to me is because at some airports the pattern depends on which way the wind is blowing. Here in California near the mountains the wind may be blowing in a completely different direction just a few miles away. I try to develop ways of telling which way the wind blows so I can make my intentions clear on my first call from 5 miles out.

Some of the airports don't have AWAS so I call up a nearby airport that does. The wind may not be blowing the same way at my destination airport.

I start listening to the frequency from at least 10 miles out in the hopes of finding the active runway and what the local pilots call the airport. I have found it is not always what is on the chart.

There may also be specific local protocol that is not listed in the facilities guide so a call to the airport manager as part of the planning process has proven helpful. They are usually helpful with local reporting landmarks and hazards.

I have found that a Google picture of the airport is helpful as part of my radio call sheet.

I make a five mile call with altitude, position and intention including intended runway and pattern direction, inbound on the 45, established on the downwind, base and final. I am careful to say the name of the airport at the beginning and end of each communication. I have found that many fixed wing pilots truncate this and the only way for me to tell which airport they are talking about is the runway headings. This was especially challenging in the Sacramento area because there are so many airports on the same frequencies in that big valley.

My vertical card compass is very helpful in sorting runways before I can read the numbers.

I fly the pattern even if there is no traffic on frequency because there may be someone operating without a radio or on the wrong frequency.

Marysville had a temporary tower and I found it very chaotic on Saturday morning with people flying both left and right hand patterns.

Once established on the down wind ATC said they would “call my base.” I checked back in with them after flying almost 8 miles and they came back “Experimental 2 Mike Golf turn base.”

Pilots were turning base in a haphazard manner both left and right in front of me as I flew my eight mile final.

On short final the aircraft in front of me was cleared to land number one and the aircraft behind me was cleared to land number two. I shared this with the tower and I was cleared to land number two. I found this disquieting and scooted quickly off the runway.

I was glad I had flown in the day before and had a sense of the airport. Some of the taxiways did not have correct signage and we were parking on the cross wind runway with two different frequencies for ground.

Thank you, Vance
 

Monarchist

MTO Sport Owner
There was a fellow on the Gyroplanes Facebook group that Helicopter Ed and I moderate asking about how many "miles per gallon" the typical gyroplane is able to get.

After a lengthy and somewhat boring reply about mission profiles and relative costs, I started to actually get angry at the question. Then Joe Pires summed it up better than anybody: "gyro flying is measured in smiles per gallon not miles per gallon."

Vance, you have once again hit the nail on the head. The natural inclination of the lay person is to start probing for statistics, then the "answer" is simply that there is no more fun to be had in the sky than in a gyro. Forget about statistics. If someone asks these kinds of questions, they should probably just buy a Cessna 172.
 
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okikuma

Member
Hi Vance,

Like you, flying is pure enjoyment for me. I don't care how long it takes and it's the journey along with the experiences that count. There is romance in flight and it is sensual.

Thanks for another shared flight.

Wayne
 
Monarchist- I love that "smiles per gallon" phrase. That really fits my helicopter flying, the less miles an hour i fly, the more smiles per hour I get. The smiles max out when I am hovering and getting 0.0 miles per gallon, but the face is about stretched with excitement. We all here are very fortunate to have something that we fly for the pure pleasure and not fir the economy of it. Stan
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Enhancing the Aviation Comunity!

Enhancing the Aviation Comunity!

There was a fellow on the Gyroplanes Facebook group that Helicopter Ed and I moderate asking about how many "miles per gallon" the typical gyroplane is able to get.

After a lengthy and somewhat boring reply about mission profiles and relative costs, I started to actually get angry at the question. Then Joe Pires summed it up better than anybody: "gyro flying is measured in smiles per gallon not miles per gallon."

Vance, you have once again hit the nail on the head. The natural inclination of the lay person is to start probing for statistics, then the "answer" is simply that there is no more fun to be had in the sky than in a gyro. Forget about statistics. If someone asks these kinds of questions, they should probably just buy a Cessna 172.
Hello John,

Thank you for your support.

In my opinion pilots who ask this sort of question are trying to understand something that is foreign to them and they don't know where to began.

I suspect that they imagine they sound interested and knowledgeable when the ask to quantify a flight characteristic that is different than an airplane.

Some may want to compete by telling me how much better their aircraft is than mine and how smart they are for choosing it.

I feel the underlying motivation is to get attention from someone who if getting a lot of attention and they secretly admire.

In my opinion the nicest thing I can do is ask them about what they fly and what they like about it and validate their opinion with my own experiences.

I feel a connection with the pilot community and will do what I can to enhance their love of aviation and their pleasure in the shared aviation moment. I feel the more they enjoy it the more pleasure will come to me.

I have had some wonderful times hangar flying with fixed wing pilots and learn a lot from them.

With 100LL costing what it does I feel that wanting to quantify some of the costs is reasonable.

My fuel costs recently seem to average just short of $48 per hour flown.

I spent $13,847 last year on fuel for the Predator and fuel prices have increased significantly this year.

Thank you, Vance
 
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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Thank you Wayne, you are a perfect example of just what I am talking about.

You with your vast experience and love of aviation have very specifically enhanced my aviation experience in spite of being a fixed wing enthusiast.

I am proud to know you and have found that dropping your name enhances my status in the aviation community.


Stan, my friend, I want to be more like you even though you are a helicopter guy.

Just this weekend I enhanced my status in the Helicycle community because I know Stan stories. There were three Helicycle builders at Marysville, one complete and flying, one flying off his hours and one in the building process. They all hold you in high regard.

Pilots are a very special breed and comprise less than 1% of the population.

I don't care what they fly I have a love for them all and share what I feel is a common passion.

They don't need to do it my way to be right.

Thank you, Vance
 
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PW_Plack

Active Member
Airplane people have an interesting perspective. If airplanes are to go fast and get someplace, then light general aviation airplanes are a really bad deal. More costly than airline travel, and nowhere near as fun as a gyroplane!

"Miles per gallon" is an especially odd paradigm. I'm scheduled to finish up my solo requirements for the Private Rotorcraft/Gyroplane add-on in a few hours with a 100-mile cross-country flight. It may be the last time I really care about how many miles I'm flying in a gyro!

Would airplane pilots look down on you because they can complete making love faster than you? Isn't it kinda the same thing?
 

okikuma

Member
Vance,

No wonder I keep hearing a big "gong" sound in my head followed by ringing in my ears! You keep dropping my name all over the place! Watch out where you drop my name, you might get arrested! LOL

Paul,

Photograph your Gyro long XC and please share with us.

Wayne
 

PW_Plack

Active Member
Photograph your Gyro long XC and please share with us.
Wayne, I flew it today in Kevin Richey's Sport Copter Lightning, which has no windscreen, so I didn't try to take any photos. A couple other folks did, however. We're swapping USB drives tomorrow, so I'll try and get a couple posted.

Got in 3.8 hours, 114 nautical miles, and 12 takeoffs and landings at three airports today. I'm tired and a little sunburned, (who thinks to put sunscreen on your wrists?) but it was still more fun than an airplane!
 

Monarchist

MTO Sport Owner
Hi Vance,

In my opinion pilots who ask this sort of question are trying to understand something that is foreign to them and they don't know where to began.
You're certainly right about that. But in the case of this guy on the forum, it was an all-consuming, burning question. "Boy, I wish they got better gas mileage." "Why don't they get better gas mileage." "I'm really concerned about the gas mileage." ad nauseum.

I love hangar flying with people that are truly interested in learning more about rotorcraft. Admittedly, I do get a bit annoyed when the other participants only seem interested in slinging generalities and omnisciently dismissing all rotorcraft as flying rocks. Those people cannot be shown anything, they know it all already. And being fixed wing and helicopter rated, I can, I believe, talk about the subject with a good perspective from both sides. I can't count the number of times I've had to correct people -- even pilots -- who think an engine failure in a rotorcraft is an automatic death sentence.

I'm very glad you're out there, being an ambassador for the sport and doing more than just talk about flying...you're living the dream.

The smiles max out when I am hovering and getting 0.0 miles per gallon
Stan, being a hover-lover myself, I am right there with you my friend. I love taking friends up for their first helicopter flight...especially with the doors off. My favorite thing to do with them is hovering maneuvers: pedal turns, keeping your nose on a target as you hover around it from a distance, sideward/rearward, etc. I don't know who's grinning wider, me or them. :)

-John
 
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