The Case for Practicing Crow Hops

themonarch

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very informative thread

very informative thread

I have been reading this thread and one other because we have lost yet another pilot, this being the student in Scappoose. (I believe this is where it happened.) As a student gyroplane pilot I am very concerned about why these accidents continue to happen. Is it the gyro in itself? Is the gyro actually a bad choice to choose to fly? Gyro's have had such a bad reputation, so why do I own one and and continue to train as I go about seeking the facts and seperating falsehood? Well, because I have given myself time. Time for training. Lots of time. All the while observing other gyro builds & looking back at mine. Attending gyro events from Fla. to In. and beyond. Listening to gyro pilots as they visit. Reading reading reading. Train train train. CFI and otherwise super skilled private pilots. I'll hope because of this I will be okay in what I still want to do: fly my Butterfly the wise and carefull way. Training takes time, so give it plenty. I'm upset because our recent losses should have not have happened. Our sport's training syllabus begs better standardization and absolute adherence. Possibly CFI's can do more to protect people from themselves. I don't know the answer.
 

PW_Plack

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...I am very concerned about why these accidents continue to happen. Is it the gyro in itself? Is the gyro actually a bad choice to choose to fly?
Martin, I read this in your profile: "You alone are responsible as being the architect and author of your destiny." I think that's your answer.

If you're concerned you'll suffer the same consequences as people who used poor judgment, broke the law, or both, there are a few dots you've yet to connect.
 

PW_Plack

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...I wonder as if too much emphasis is being given to the direct powered gyro flight before a student gets enough non powered flight to learn basic handling...if I am paying to learn I would expect to learn on a glider before I started playing with powered crow hops...
Willy, as things stand right now, that expectation will be tough to meet. I don't know of any CFI in the US who currently uses a gyroglider for formal training. A glider usually requires at least one trained assistant for the instructor and a tow vehicle. Since FAR Part 101 prohibits gyroglider operation within five miles of the boundary of any airport with few exceptions, it also requires an appropriate field, dry lake, private road, etc. in a remote area.

Chapter 1 in California has a glider, and it's likely to be in use on the El Mirage Dry Lake during the upcoming Ken Brock Freedom Fly-In.
 

themonarch

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Author and an Archetect

Author and an Archetect

Paul, the Archetect and Author is a quote from the PBS Pancho Barnes story. Please read back. Myself I'm doin the best I can because I want to have fun, be safe, and stay within the law. I am glad that you responded, I consider this to be of acceptance. If so, thank you.
 

fara

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Hello Mark,

I did not learn with crow hops but I did learn to balance on the mains as a part of the takeoff.

In my opinion the recent fatal accident had nothing to do with crow hops and everything to do with poor aviation decision making.
Vance: Some may consider this not so self evident. The guy was probably intending to crowhop w/o the weight of his instructor who I bet taught him to crowhop and balance on the mains. There are 2 CFI's involved in his training and not one of them is saying anything but I will go on a limb and say one of them at least taught him to crowhop and one taught him to balance on the mains. Both these in other categories of aircraft are settled issues and settlement is don't encourage solo pilots to do them alone because the cons outweigh the pros. That's the discourse over on the other side. So IMO he was attempting to balance on the mains or crowhop and got up and above where he wanted to be. Its very common for an aircraft to surprise a new pilot when he/she solos with 200 less pounds and nerves that make your hand act as steel C-clamps.

I can see the value of crow hops in low or no wind conditions AKA 1.5kts cross wind component or 3kts straight down the runway.

In my opinion the leading cause of dead fixed wing pilots is not understanding that the elevators are the angle of attack (speed control) and the throttle is the up and down lever.

A gyroplane won’t stall but in my opinion the cyclic is still the speed control and the throttle is still the up lever.
The leading cause of GA airplane fatal accidents is stall/spin from low altitude. However, even this category of accidents per unit hour flown are HUGELY less by orders of magnitude than gyroplane behind the power curve serious accidents. And of course gyroplanes don't even stall. So the difference is training syllabus. What does that tell you? Fixed wing community has got something figured out that gyro community does not in training (yet). That would be my logical conclusion looking at things un-passionately. We got to get things moving in the right direction and prove we are on par with the rest.

BTW, new ASTM design standards for fixed wing aircraft are making an AOA indication a required item starting 2014.
Best Regards.
 
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Vance

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I feel this is fundamental.

I feel this is fundamental.

Vance: Some may consider this not so self evident. The guy was probably intending to crowhop w/o the weight of his instructor who I bet taught him to crowhop and balance on the mains. There are 2 CFI's involved in his training and not one of them is saying anything but I will go on a limb and say one of them at least taught him to crowhop and one taught him to balance on the mains. Both these in other categories of aircraft are settled issues and settlement is don't encourage solo pilots to do them alone because the cons outweigh the pros. That's the discourse over on the other side. So IMO he was attempting to balance on the mains or crowhop and got up and above where he wanted to be. Its very common for an aircraft to surprise a new pilot when he/she solos with 200 less pounds and nerves that make your hand act as steel C-clamps.



The leading cause of GA airplane fatal accidents is stall/spin from low altitude. However, even this category of accidents per unit hour flown are HUGELY less by orders of magnitude than gyroplane behind the power curve serious accidents. And of course gyroplanes don't even stall. So the difference is training syllabus. What does that tell you? Fixed wing community has got something figured out that gyro community does not in training (yet). That would be my logical conclusion looking at things un-passionately. We got to get things moving in the right direction and prove we are on par with the rest.

BTW, new ASTM design standards for fixed wing aircraft are making an AOA indication a required item starting 2014.
Best Regards.
I read your words Abid and they do not relate to my gyroplane experience or any crashes I can find in the last ten years.

Jim’s last flight was in his solo machine so it is not at all like the two place machines he had received training in.

Talking about the weight of the instructor being absent is without purpose.

Every gyroplane I have flown begins the take off by the nose coming up AKA balancing on the mains.

If anyone had taught Jim to take off in any gyroplane I have flown he had balanced on the mains.

With eight hours of dual instruction there is a strong probability that someone taught Jim to take off in a two place machine.

I wasn’t in Scappoose so I don’t know if Jim was doing crow hops on his last flight.

From the description of the events it seems unlikely.

It appears to me Jim decided to fly and it didn’t work out.

I am certain that I have made decisions equally as bad and only luck kept me from a similar fate.

I have no idea why you and a few others want to make this into something more than poor aviation decision making meeting bad luck.

In my experience in calm wind conditions a gyroplane doesn’t accidently take off.

I just looked at more than ten years of fatal gyroplane accident NTSB reports just to make sure of my point of view and there was not one where a reasonable case could be made that it was caused by or happened during balancing on the mains or crow hops.

We all know that gyroplanes crash too much Abid.

Why don’t you learn to fly a gyroplane well Abid; then focus on those things that lead to our high fatal accident rate instead of imagining things that are unrelated to the cause of fatal gyroplane crashes?

Regards, Vance
 

loftus

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I am new here; and this is my first post. Presently learning to fly (about 20 hours) with Desmon, and frankly get scared ****less by all this. Seems to me that the most important thing I have learned so far is not to let the machine off the ground till it is ready to fly, ie adequate groundspeed. For me the big difference from fixed wing is that a gyro will easily allow you to get off the ground before it is 'ready to fly'. In my fixed wing training and flying one did not even initiate rotation till adequate speed was reached. And because a gyrocopter does not abruptly stall per se, allows the pilot to fudge the power curve once off the ground. So it seems like whether or not it's a good thing to practice ground hops early in training, it seems more important for the early post solo time is to emphasize staying on the ground till the machine is really ready to fly and not getting behind the power curve intentionally or unintentionally below 500 feet.
 
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madwinger

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Hello Mark,

I will try to answer your questions specifically without getting involved in the rest of this discussion.

Every gyroplane I have flown has the nose come up when I reach some rotor rpm (around 290 rotor rpm in The Predator) and if I left the stick back it would hit the tail wheel so I move the cyclic forward to balance on the mains as the speed builds. Please understand this is not instruction and balancing on the mains is a part of crow hops but not a synonym for crow hops.

I did not learn with crow hops but I did learn to balance on the mains as a part of the takeoff.

In my opinion the recent fatal accident had nothing to do with crow hops and everything to do with poor aviation decision making.

I can see the value of crow hops in low or no wind conditions AKA 1.5kts cross wind component or 3kts straight down the runway.

In my opinion the leading cause of dead fixed wing pilots is not understanding that the elevators are the angle of attack (speed control) and the throttle is the up and down lever.

A gyroplane won’t stall but in my opinion the cyclic is still the speed control and the throttle is still the up lever.

Pulling back on the cyclic to not hit the ground may seem natural but in my experience it only slows the gyroplane further and sends her toward the ground faster.

I feel trading air speed for altitude only works as long as you have air speed and is inherently a temporary fix for an undesired descent.

This is not complicated Mark; please get some training before you give up your Air Command.

Based on my experience a gyroplane is much easier to fly than a fixed wing or a helicopter.

Once you learn they are all pretty easy but they all can kill you if you do the wrong thing.

Aviation can be particularly unforgiving of poor judgment or a lack of the basic skills and understandings.

Thank you, Vance
Vance, Paul and Mark, thank you for your input. Yes I probably am getting a little spooked about all of this. Can you blame me? In my FW training from the day one I never had a qualm about soloing because I was trained on how to fly the aircraft. Even after 33 years and starting up again the solo was wonderful. I understand the issues of soloing in a completely different gyro than the one one would train in. I get that. It has just not crossed my mind that that it my be an issue. When I get into my training it may come apparent as to why its taught, it just does not make sense to me as to why right now, but if crow hops and balancing are on Mikes syllabus and I want my endorsement then that's what I will do.

From the day I decided to do this and the day I purchased my AC, the thought of just getting in and trying on my own have never crossed my mind to take off with out full and proper training. I really want to be around for my family.


Thanks guys.
 
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Vance

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Unsolicited advice.

Unsolicited advice.

I am new here; and this is my first post. Presently learning to fly (about 20 hours) with Desmon, and frankly get scared ****less by all this. Seems to me that the most important thing I have learned so far is not to let the machine off the ground till it is ready to fly, ie adequate groundspeed. For me the big difference from fixed wing is that a gyro will easily allow you to get off the ground before it is 'ready to fly'. In my fixed wing training and flying one did not even initiate rotation till adequate speed was reached. And because a gyrocopter does not abruptly stall per se, allows the pilot to fudge the power curve once off the ground. So it seems like whether or not it's a good thing to practice ground hops early in training, it seems more important for the early post solo time is to emphasize staying on the ground till the machine is really ready to fly and not getting behind the power curve intentionally or unintentionally below 500 feet.
Hello Jeffrey; welcome to the forum and thank you for posting

I feel two important items are missing in your focus on ground speed.

First I feel ground speed is not important and indicated air speed is.

This may be simply semantics or it may be that you have not been taught the difference yet.

The other critical element in gyroplane flight is rotor rpm. It doesn’t matter how much air speed you have if you don’t have enough rotor rpm.

In my opinion when a gyroplane has a combination of sufficient indicated air speed and rotor rpm she will fly.

I feel if you ask her to fly before you have reached that combination you are asking for trouble.

Thank you, Vance
 

loftus

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Hello Jeffrey; welcome to the forum and thank you for posting

I feel two important items are missing in your focus on ground speed.

First I feel ground speed is not important and indicated air speed is.

This may be simply semantics or it may be that you have not been taught the difference yet.

The other critical element in gyroplane flight is rotor rpm. It doesn’t matter how much air speed you have if you don’t have enough rotor rpm.

In my opinion when a gyroplane has a combination of sufficient indicated air speed and rotor rpm she will fly.

I feel if you ask her to fly before you have reached that combination you are asking for trouble.

Thank you, Vance
Sure, points well taken. Mostly what I find very different to fixed wing is the concept that a gyro will try to fly before a safe speed if you let it, much more than a fixed wing, so there is definitely a need to hold the gyro back till she's good and ready. That's very different to fixed wing where one just accelerates to rotate speed and off you go.
 

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Sure, points well taken. Mostly what I find very different to fixed wing is the concept that a gyro will try to fly before a safe speed if you let it, much more than a fixed wing, so there is definitely a need to hold the gyro back till she's good and ready. That's very different to fixed wing where one just accelerates to rotate speed and off you go.
It is different but easy to learn why and how to gradually add power as you increase RRPM. Even my 1st lesson James talked me through it.

Training makes it so easy!
 

PW_Plack

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...Seems to me that the most important thing I have learned so far is not to let the machine off the ground till it is ready to fly...
Jeff, welcome to the forum! That's the second most important thing.

Most important thing: Not to let the machine get off the ground until the CFI says the student is ready to fly.
 

feedpro

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Again, Students are reading this and developing ideas on how to fly a gyro safely. Staying on the ground with nose down while building speed is good if you fly off a 5000 foot runway, but getting off the ground quickly is important if you are flying out of rough ground, but then you need to stay in ground effect to build speed before attempting to climb and that is a hard fast rule that leads to long life.

There are many different and safe ways to fly a gyro. My flying is totally different from nearly all of you with the exception of Birdy, Bones and others. If I am not off the ground in 150 feet, I need to be looking at an overhaul, because it is usually 100 feet or less, except when density altitude is above 6000 msl. But please note: operating out of rough ground does not lead to crashes that hurt, it's the hard landings.
 

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gyro will try to fly before a safe speed
It will leave the ground behind the power drag curve, this makes it a pretty standard technique in gyro flying to lower the nose and accelerate before climbing out of ground effect.
 

birdy

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In my FW training from the day one I never had a qualm about soloing because I was trained on how to fly the aircraft.
??????????
May i suggest you get anatha gyro instructer, coz teachn you how to fly is wot your payn this one to do.
 

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Leigh,

You had posted in the thread pertaining to the recent crash, "Why does the instructor want to see low hops? To see that the student can cope with PIO."

I feel this is a very valid point for this thread as well, and the possibility of getting into PIO has not been discussed in this thread (unless I have missed it). Hence I have posted your comment here.

Vance, with his thoroughness and eye for detail, has not found any NTSB report regarding accidents caused due to hops or wheel balancing.

I feel that this thread is bringing out some very valid reasons for the case for practicing hops. Every maneuver has risks associated with it and it is all about gaining proficiency with good instruction, in performing it. I respect your vast experience of flying fixed wings and then switching to gyros, and I believe that you are able to make a very clear distinction between the flying characteristics of both categories of aircraft.

When I switched to gyros after flying helicopters, I thought the transition would be easy being the same category; but there is a lot of "unlearning" for me as well. It is with this backdrop, and with the spate of accidents happening that I started this thread. So far, other than some pilots feeling that crow hops are a dangerous maneuver to learn, I see no evidence supporting this feeling.

I believe the benefits of learning this maneuver are:

1) Proficiency in coordination of applying controls by reflex action

2) PIO avoidance

3) Avoidance from getting behind the power curve after take off

4) Ability to safely abort a take off if required

5) Transitioning from two to single place

It is my observation that some of the pilots with the most experience are pro crow hop.

Thank you
 

PW_Plack

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...I just looked at more than ten years of fatal gyroplane accident NTSB reports just to make sure of my point of view and there was not one where a reasonable case could be made that it was caused by or happened during balancing on the mains or crow hops.
Vance, I agree with your general conclusions, but on this one specific data point I think the NTSB is not a good source. From what I've seen, most low speed accidents near the ground in gyros result in non-life-threatening injuries, and are swept away to a dumpster without being reported. In fact, the official distinction between "accident" and "incident" allows a gyro to be pretty much totaled without rising to the level of "accident."
 

Vance

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I tried to be specific.

I tried to be specific.

Vance, with his thoroughness and eye for detail, has not found any NTSB report regarding accidents caused due to hops or wheel balancing.
I found no fatal gyroplane accidents in the last ten years of NTSB reports that could reasonably be attributed to balancing on the mains or crow hops.

Abid was writing about fatal gyroplane accidents and that is what I was addressing.

I did find at least four non fatal gyroplane accidents out of sixty eight non fatal accidents that could be reasonably attributed to crow hops.

I feel that many roll overs are not reported so if anything my numbers are probably a little short.

I feel very low wind limits are necessary for the execution of safe crow hops.

Gusts and cross winds seem to make the exercise much more hazardous.

I don't know the best way to transition a person into a single seat gyroplane.

Thank you, Vance
 
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scandtours

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The most enjoyable and most exciting part of my training (self taught) was
when I started practising with crow hops. It was a real fun and I had learned almost everything at this low altitude. I learned how the gyro behaves, how to control it, how and when to use throttle/stick and how one affects the other. Practising how to spin up the rotors by hand without prerotator ( this is very important part too.) I can add one more hundred how.
So I can say that more than 90% of all of my training was gained from these practices.
I WILL NEVER REGRET IT but here I must say
WE DID NOT HAVE ANY OTHER CHOICE N EITHER. We did not have the luxury
of an Instructor.
 
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scandtours

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Hi Giorgio,

speaking about crow hops we are mixing several realities which are not comparable :
1/ learning to fly a gyro with and instructor and a towed gyro
jmi

Hi Jmi.
My short answer to 1/ earning to fly a gyro with and instructor and a towed gyro.
I will revert shortly with the rest, ( short with time)
At that time when I was trying to learn to fly my gyro there were no even instructors giving lessons on a glide. I flew the glider only long time after flying my gyro with engine. My fist thought after that was that “thanks God I did not try to learn on a glider alone.”
I could kill my self. In my opinion the car driver needs the same training and knowledge as the glider pilot. I could not just trust anybody because he had a license to drive a car.
It’s the same with fix wing gliders (I think) that the one who sits on the winch controls has to be a fix wing glider pilot. Not anybody can do this job.
 
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