The Escape!

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Staff member
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
18,398
Location
Santa Maria, California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2600+ in rotorcraft
I spent the morning making sure I had everything for Carolyn Bayliss to do my taxes.

She is great; she actually enjoys learning about the nuances of tax law.

She gets excited about some dark corner of tax law that she has not explored.

It was still a challenge trying to imagine how to use her time in the most productive way.

The appointment went well.

Lap, Fatch, Meyers and Gallagher is less than two miles from the airport.

It seemed like a great day to fly to Santa Paula and both WeatherMeister and Lockheed Martin agreed. Winds were light and Variable, sixty eight degrees F, visibility greater than ten miles.

A quick preflight and I threw my suitcase in the back seat with two days of cloths and pushed her outside.

It was 11:30 when we taxied to 30.

The run-up went well and I worked through my preflight list. Experimental 142 Mike Golf holding short of runway 30, ready for departure, request left downwind departure to the East. ATC came back quickly; “left downwind departure approved, 30 clear for takeoff.” Those words are magic for me; they release my spirit and let me climb into the sky.

The take off was sweet and The Predator seemed to yearn for the sky. I let her climb to 2,000 feet at 75kts to journey across the green rolling hills toward Santa Ynez. I felt aggressive and in command. I held heading, altitude and airspeed with extra precision and found satisfaction in the process.

The smells, colors and the feel of the air combined in a sort of aerial rapture.

I could look in any direction and the beauty was breathtaking.

The hills rose up and then dropped away.

I called Santa Ynez area traffic from ten miles, 5 miles, crossing over mid field at 2,500 feet, downwind base and final. The words came naturally and each maneuver was executed with precision and alacrity. I pulled the power back when we turned final and the touchdown was right at the taxiway. We were quickly clear of the active and taxied to fuel. Even the self serve went well.

Onward to Camarillo!
 

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Onward to Camarillo!

Onward to Camarillo!

I checked SBA ATIS on my phone because it is hard to hear the ATIS on the radio with the mountain in the way. When I wait till I can hear Santa Barbara ATIS I am a little close to their airspace. As it is they couldn’t hear me clearly until we were at about 3,500 feet and 7 miles from the airport. They heard me on the second try and my transition through their airspace to the south along the 101 at 2,500 feet.

We climbed following the highway and things became even more beautiful and lush.

We crossed the San Marcos pass at 4,000 feet and began the decent.

I could feel the ocean air on my face as the pacific opened up before us.

We found lift along the hills and it slowed our descent.

Approach double checked my altitude when we were at 3,100 feet and made me aware of a Cessna maneuvering at 1.700 feet at my 12’O’clock. I had a little trouble finding him and let approach know I would arrest my descent. The Cessna was on a photo shoot and maneuvering in an unpredictable way. I love it that they are looking out for me. Once clear of his maneuvering I finished the descent and again found joy in precision of airspeed and altitude.

Radar services were terminated and I was to squawk 1200.

I checked Camarillo ATIS and runway 8 was in use.

I tuned in to ATC and runway 26 was in use.

I was about the have the Camarillo ATC experience.

I was told to report the 45 and had to wait for a moment of dead air.

When I did report the 45 still 4 miles from the runway I was clear to land, then I was supposed to overhead mid field at 2,200 feet and I was number 4. As I crossed mid field I ran into some pretty rough turbulence and was clear to land, short approach, Bonanza on 4 mile final. I pulled the power back and slowed to 20 kts aiming for the numbers. I was worried I would miss taxi way Bravo and Charlie and Delta were closed; that would mean a long taxi to Echo taxiway. At 1,200 feet I went to a straight vertical descent with the taxiway getting nearer. I thought I might have waited too long to pick up airspeed for the flair. The landing was as nice as could be right at the taxiway and we were off in a flash. The Bonanza went around anyway. I loved it, I felt like a rock star as I taxied to restaurant parking.

George with the Yak showed up unexpectedly and we had a nice lunch. He is always very animated.

The flight to Santa Paula was short and sweet and we found a hole in the traffic. Touchdown was nice and I secured The Predator in transient parking. Al Ball was nowhere to be seen. I called the motel and checked in with airport management and I was getting ready for a nice walk Al showed up to drive me to the motel. Al is not going to be around in the morning as J.R. and JC get their 18A ready for the flight back to San Martin. I expect I will learn a lot and hope to fly with them.

My room is nice and I look forward to tomorrow’s adventure.

Thank you, Vance
 

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A Great Adventure

A Great Adventure

Thank you Jim and Paul, I love flying and I love sharing it with my friends.

Ed wanted to know what I was escaping from. Taxes Ed, taxes drive me crazy. We work all year at collecting things in a way to minimize our tax burden and at some point it comes to a head. In only gets worse when I have to pay them. I have felt like I am in a pressure cooker while working on them and I shot out of Carolyn’s office like it was pressurized.

When the wheels lifted off at SMX I did not have another dark thought about taxes.

Today started out with JP having great challenges with the numerous screws that hold on the aluminum panels around the rotor head. He would get all but one managed and then its nut would slip out of line and slide nosily down into the compartment. He would then have to remove some other panel to retrieve the nut. I feel he demonstrated remarkable tenacity.

All Ball shod up for a while and he was, well… Al Ball.

JP had a wonderful tool to check blade tracking and I hid in the creek while they were doing this emerging briefly to take the picture. JP would coat the tip of each blade with different color paint and J.R. would run the rotor speed up in flat pitch and it would go through several phases of resonance. JP would sneak up on it with his tool.

Just when I started to emerge there was a loud POP! And pieces of the tool when flying. It was some very exciting stuff!

After lunch JP used an adjustable spanner to bend the trim tabs and J.R. would run the rotor RPM up again. They would have deep animated discussions on the latest vibration patterns and then bend another tab and try it over again.

They eventually got it what they felt was smooth enough and did some takeoffs and landings.

They gave All Ball a ride.

Then I got my helmet and I had a ride in the 18 A.

There are not many flying and it was very exciting.

I feel privileged to have had this experience.

It takes off and lands very nose high.

This one has the kit to make it quieter and I am grateful for that.

Al’s 18A is probably the loudest aircraft I have heard and I was grateful all day for the noise reduction of JP’s.

We spent some time enjoyable time at an Irish Pub and we hope to get started flying north by 10:00 AM.

I had better get to bed because we are meeting early in the morning in the hopes of making a little progress before we take off.

Thank you, Vance
 

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A sort of flight of two gyroplanes!

A sort of flight of two gyroplanes!

Today went a little better with a visit to a wonderful hardware store to get some parts to repair the blade tracking device.

I found out that harvesting fruit from fruit trees is an exciting and rewarding experience and there are different clippers for lemons as opposed to apples. I love agricultural towns.

I checked the weather while JC and J.R. were breaking the repaired tracking device. They made a little progress before the bang and things were smoother.

I called Lockheed Martin and they had a PIREP for moderate to severe turbulence near Santa Barbara 18,000 feet and below.

Everything looked good but the winds were shifting around a lot on the Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts.

I made J.R. aware of what I found and we were wheels up by 10:30.

We had an air to air frequency but most of the route we had more interesting information on other frequencies.

J.C. announced that he would need a minute on the runway and there was an inbound Citabria over the junkyard who extended his downwind. I took off about 10 minutes behind and did not see the Big Red 18A until I was on short final at Santa Maria for runway 2.

Santa Barbara Approach seemed incredulous that there were two Gyroplanes asking to transition over the San Marcos Pass at the same time. They warned me I was a mile behind a gycopter at my 12:00 one mile ahead and I had ten kts on the other “gyrocopter”. I couldn’t find him so I asked for his altitude and remained above his altitude for the rest of the flight. I also slowed up 10kts to maintain spacing.

Over Lake Cachuma J.R. called me on the air to air and told me he was abeam the dam.

I cannot find him in the picture I took of the dam at the moment he called. It is picture number 6 and somewhere there is a big red blot. I couldn’t find him and agreed to stay high.

It was a little bumpy over the hills on the way to SMX and they were using runway two with winds 010 degrees at 15kts gusting to 25kts. A 10kt gust spread is my limit but the landing went well with J.R. coming in number two behind the experimental.

J.R. called JC and he was still 40 minutes out so J.R. filled up with gas and pressed on.

SMX ATC seemed entertained by the two gyroplanes and I received a call on my cell phone from Glen Ray asking if I knew about it or was flying it. He had not seen me land in The Predator.

I like flying to the same destination better than trying to fly in formation.

It was fun to be a spectacle and fly with a gyroplane almost as rare as The Predator.

The flight was 1.3 hours for 89 nautical miles for an average speed of 69kts.

I am sorry I didn’t get any air to air pictures.

Thank you J C and J.R. for a good excuse to have a gyroplane adventure and escape from the pressure of business tax preparation.

Thank you, Vance
 

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Vance- Thanks for sharing again. That is a beautiful 18 A, glad you got a ride in it. Did you get to take the controls...or were you just baggage this time?



Stan
 
Vance- Thanks for sharing again. That is a beautiful 18 A, glad you got a ride in it. Did you get to take the controls...or were you just baggage this time?



Stan

Just Baggage

I did not have the opportunity to manipulate the controls.

It was sort of a last minute thing.

I felt honored to have a ride in such a rare aircraft as the 18A.

I found the way it managed the jump interesting.

We did not do a high jump and she sort of staggered into the air from about 15 feet.

On spin up she shook like a washing machine with towels in it.

She was pretty smooth once she got going.

We climbed to around 500 feet and she flew very nose high once around the pattern.

I found it very exciting and my heart pounded.

I followed along on the controls but there was not a lot of movement.

I have a helicopter plug on my head set and she uses the airplane style plugs so we could not communicate during the short flight.

She seemed to handle the wind well on the way home.

She is a remarkable machine.

Thank you, Vance
 

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I asked Vance to get his headset for hearing protection before we took off, and he fetched his helmet from his Predator. Vance's helmet has a helicopter-style single plug, but the aircraft has airplane style double headset plugs, so we weren't compatible for using the intercom (and I didn't have a spare compatible headset handy). With me in front to operate the spin-up process and him behind me incommunicado because of the plug issue, we made it just a ride this time. Even over all the aircraft noise I could hear him laugh now and then, which I interpreted as enjoyment (and not a response to my hairline as seen from behind).

It was fun spending that time with you, Vance. By the way, I can't find myself in that picture, either. I was just past the left edge of the dam at the time.

I had lots of 20kt headwind to buck on the second half of the trip home, so my groundspeed suffered, and JP was only about half an hour behind me in his truck.
 
Looks like we were typing at the same time, Vance!

There's always some rocking around on spin-up until you get the blades flying, the lead-lag dampers working, and out of the low rpm range. After our additional tracking efforts this morning, it was smoother today, and once we get the Chadwick on it, we'll have it back in its intended no-shake state.
 
Very exciting!

Very exciting!

Thank you again J.R.

I found it very exciting and the journey home was nice.

I felt we were fortunate that the wind didn’t really start until past Lake Cachuma.

I have found those hills along the coast can magnify the perturbations.

I found a pretty strong wind shear several times. I wanted to stay above 2,500 feet to give your invisible aircraft plenty of room.

The gusts picked up after your departure from SMX.

How much fuel did you use?

I thought we did well averaging 69kts for the trip.

I was usually a little under 75kts indicated air speed.

Those gyroplanes are hard to see; I know you had trouble finding me from a little over a mile even though SMX ATC told you exactly where to find me.

I didn’t see you till I was on short final.

Thank you, Vance
 
I burned almost exactly 8 gallons per hour. That's not bad for an O-360.

Spotting you depends very much on relative position, and the aspect presented. You are much easier to see from the side than from behind.

If you ever want to be sure somebody has a good chance to see you, you can consider a brief heading change to place your side toward him. When I fly gliders, it is common for an approaching sailplane to be invisible from the front or rear because they are very, very sleek and offer minimal area to catch the eye. I've found that a brief "wing up" bank can make a flash of reflected sun off that big wingspan so that makes spotting much easier. Rotors can have that effect, too.
 
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