The most important PRA thread yet

GyroRon

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There has been a history here, perhaps nearly ever since around 2006-2007, maybe even before that, Of discussion of the PRA and it's " problems " and what it should be doing, or what it's doing wrong etc....

Overall, it has seemed rather negative.

No doubt, the PRA has seen shrinking membership levels, and less and less money to work with over the last 5-8 years. And also no doubt, the PRA is in trouble as far as a long term viability goes. There seems to be no shortage of talk here of complaints against where the convention is held, or the loss of a paper magazine, or what the board should be doing or isn't doing, not to mention all the flack the PRA has gotten for buying and owning it's own rural airport.

Reading all this negative stuff can leave some with a sour taste in their mouth.

It would be real easy for someone to read this stuff and say to themselves, I want no part of that sinking ship.

Well, here is what is important to understand... The PRA is the PRA.... It's problems should not affect you or keep you from enjoying this hobby or owning, building, flying a sport rotorcraft.

It would be nice if the PRA ever gets it's stuff together and becomes a strong powerful organization again. But we do NOT need a PRA to be able to enjoy being a part of sport rotorcraft aviation.

I made this post / thread... because I know there are people that let what they read on this forum fester in their minds, and they see all the negative talk about the PRA and they just decide they don't want no part of this hobby at all.
 

Gyro28866

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DITTO!

I agree Ron;
We each should be trying to assist the current Board in providing solutions to real and perceived problems.
 

BUD ONEAL

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Agreed Ron. However the board asking for money to help keep them afloat for another year while they ponder how to ask for even more money next year to "fix" the PRA gets very old. They do not listen to those who give the solutions to help. Not that I have offered any solutions my self because frankly I do not see any fix and I do not have any money to offer even if I thought it would help ! I say again, "to many chiefs and not enough Indians"
 

Steve_UK

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Simple question - approximately how many members does the PRA currently have ?
 

Arnie Madsen

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Ron , you are not the enemy of Gyro's .... PRA is not the enemy of Gyro's .... Rotary Wing Forum is not the enemy of Gyro's .... EAA is not the enemy of Gyro's .... SkyWolverines is not the enemy of Gyro's ... FAA is not the enemy of Gyro's .... Mentone Airport is not the enemy of Gyro's ... The European Gyro scene is not the enemy of Gyro's ...

And because we have no common enemy we tend to shoot at each other from time to time ... it is like we need target practice to stay in shape defending this unusual style of flying

I have been guilty of that as well .... but in the midst of us , a few pilots and volunteers and engineers , and manufactures try to sway us toward being part of an official group of some kind .... which we already have .... it is the PRA .... with thousands of members

You are correct of course GyroRon .... we do not have to be PRA members to fly a gyro .... you are a good example ... but to take the PRA down you will need several thousand rounds of ammunition .... and you cannot miss a single shot

So keep that in mind

best wishes
 

BUD ONEAL

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Ron , you are not the enemy of Gyro's .... PRA is not the enemy of Gyro's .... Rotary Wing Forum is not the enemy of Gyro's .... EAA is not the enemy of Gyro's .... SkyWolverines is not the enemy of Gyro's ... FAA is not the enemy of Gyro's .... Mentone Airport is not the enemy of Gyro's ... The European Gyro scene is not the enemy of Gyro's ...

And because we have no common enemy we tend to shoot at each other from time to time ... it is like we need target practice to stay in shape defending this unusual style of flying

I have been guilty of that as well .... but in the midst of us , a few pilots and volunteers and engineers , and manufactures try to sway us toward being part of an official group of some kind .... which we already have .... it is the PRA .... with thousands of members

You are correct of course GyroRon .... we do not have to be PRA members to fly a gyro .... you are a good example ... but to take the PRA down you will need several thousand rounds of ammunition .... and you cannot miss a single shot

So keep that in mind

best wishes


If we had "thousands" of members there would not be a problem with money. The probrem is that we do not have "thousands" of members, not even a simple"thousand " do we have:humble:
 

Arnie Madsen

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Igor Bensen started the PRA for the practical purpose of uniting Gyrocopter pilots into a club of some sort

Igor Bensen also understood that his gyrocopter company must make a profit , and his PRA club must make a profit to stay in business and remain relevant

To this day his concept has been successful

As Igor Bensen and his legacy faded away there were several individuals who kept the PRA membership alive , many were the old salts of the Bensen days and many of them are still here today .... we should thank them from the bottom of our hearts

Dennis Fetters with his Air Command gyro included a PRA membership with every gyrocopter he sold ..... we need to recognize him for that and how it kept the PRA alive and growing in that era

Today we have a handful of PRA leaders trying to keep the Gyrocopter pilots association alive in positive manner .... no need to make a list of who they are ... it is self evident ... we need to thank them more than anyone else ... they have nothing personal to gain but they do it anyway

Thousands of people from around the world are PRA members for their own personal reasons and I find that very powerful ... because of them we still have something ... and that is really something ... hats off to every single PRA member .

Thank you
 

Steve_UK

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Simple question I - approximately how many members does the PRA currently have ?

Simple question II - how has this changed over say the last 10 years - trend increasing, trend decreasing, more or less unchanged
 

Arnie Madsen

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If we had "thousands" of members there would not be a problem with money. The probrem is that we do not have "thousands" of members, not even a simple"thousand " do we have:humble:
Maybe you are right Bud .... maybe I am thinking thousands of dollars of PRA dues and got confused

I have no way of verifying that because PRA information is blocked from my access because I am not a paid up member in 2014 and that is fine

But because I have randomly donated to PRA and been a member various times I always felt I was one of them . I still do

best wishes Bud .... you are one of my favorite Indian Chiefs of all times ... if I could keep my mouth shut for one hour , listen carefully to what you say ... sip your coffee .... and enjoy a bowl of your killer potato soup .... I would probably learn a lot

Thank you my friend
Arnie
 
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NoWingsAttached

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Allow me to back up for a moment.

Pretend there NEVER was a PRA, period. None then, none now.

Now, realizing that there are about 100 active gyronauts per state - builders, sideliners who just like to watch, photographers who like to take pix and vids, sketchers and drawing board dreamers, as well as serious engineers and such, folks who just dabble in parts, buying/selling, what have you, and then all the people who crave rides, FW guys who want a new flying experience, Helo guys who want a cheaper personal ride for weekends....PILOTS....and....CFI's.

You mean to tell me there is no NATIONAL, UNITED STATES of AMERICA, GYROCOPTER ASSOCIATION? What, with 5000 - 10,000 enthusiasts and interested Janes and Joes from Alaska to Hawaii to Puerto Rico to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the Florida Keys, Texas to Maine and back to California?

Why, on Earth, would there NOT be a club.

I am really glad there is one, and I hope everything everyone can do to make it better is being done, right or wrong.

One thing is certain: CHANGE is the only constant in life. Change is coming to the PRA, you can rest assured. It is taking longer than should have and longer than hoped, but it is happening.
 
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cgmg

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Arnie,

At the membership meeting this year, we were told that at one time there were 5500 members of the PRA. The latest count is just over 1300. About 1/4 every year don't renew, but are replaced by new members. Over the last couple of years, the new members have slightly outnumbered the the non-renewals, so the PRA is on a bit of an upward trend.

For all the naysayers on here complaining about the lack of benefits provided by the PRA(in their eyes), imagine any special interest organization trying to increase what they can provide to their customers with 3/4 of their revenue gone.

The problem with the PRA is too many indians who don't want to contribute either time or money to help improve the organization. Lots of ideas from everyone about what somebody else should be doing. That's why the PRA is in the shape it is now.
 

Arnie Madsen

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Arnie,

At the membership meeting this year, we were told that at one time there were 5500 members of the PRA. The latest count is just over 1300. About 1/4 every year don't renew, but are replaced by new members. Over the last couple of years, the new members have slightly outnumbered the the non-renewals, so the PRA is on a bit of an upward trend.

For all the naysayers on here complaining about the lack of benefits provided by the PRA(in their eyes), imagine any special interest organization trying to increase what they can provide to their customers with 3/4 of their revenue gone.

The problem with the PRA is too many indians who don't want to contribute either time or money to help improve the organization. Lots of ideas from everyone about what somebody else should be doing. That's why the PRA is in the shape it is now.
Thank you for those numbers and updates , it brings some clarity to past and present PRA , and I hope PRA remains and increases in the future

Now I will try to make an important point .... there are thousands of Gyro Pilots on the face of this earth ... most of them are not members of PRA , or members of this forum ... this makes us flinch sometimes because we think the sun only shines on us

Every single one of those worldwide Gyroplane pilots is in a unique club without actually belonging to a club of any sort

They are just like us because they are Gyrocopter affectionados or gyrocopter pilots .... no other definition is required .... no club rules are required .... no club membership is required .... no PRA membership is required .... none whatsoever ....

But I bet that many of them wish they could be a part of a larger group ... and if they went looking they would eventually encounter the PRA .... it is a large group but they do not have access to it ..... know why ? .... because they are not PRA members

We have lost them on the first click

And all they wanted to do was join with us

Let them

And if they like it , they will be sure to send some money once in a while.

I guarantee it.

best wishes
 

Chopr1

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Ron, was thinking along the same lines as you today. Glad I didn't have access to internet or the negative info. 30+ years back or I would probably never have built my first RW helo. Have enjoyed and met many a friend threw the years with my aviation experiences. Be it gyros, helios, fixed wing, good family memories.
The negative attitudes, not only on this forum but others as well does not make this sport appealing to any new young pilots, which I think now are fewer and fewer each year.
I don't know the answer to increase membership or building up the rotor sport, but sure am glad to have had the chance to enjoy my times and try to convay to ANYONE the fun and information learned from sport of aviation.
 

Earthboundmisft

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Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm not sure of exactly how the PRA affects me enjoying my gyro. With the internet, and forums, it's easy to support my machine, and communicate with others who fly gyros.:noidea:
 

GyroRon

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My point in making the thread, was to simply say, to all, don't let the negative constant PRA" Doom and Gloom" that happens here all so often, drag you down or curb your enthusiasm for this hobby.

As for a " Club " or more specifically a " Gyro Club " as someone posted earlier in this thread.... The PRA is NOT a club. Your local chapter is the club. That is where your focus needs to be on, not a mother organization that at present times is really nearly totally disconnected from its chapters.

I just sit back and read the forum lately, not jumping in most threads, but just simply reading. And there is ALOT of negative threads. And ALOT about the PRA. I just want to point out that its been my observation, being into this hobby since 2001, that as nice as it would be to have a strong healthy PRA, We don't need it to have fun and enjoy this hobby, and to not let the PRA discussions discourage you from this hobby.

I would also encourage people who want to make donations and efforts to improve the PRA to look first at their local chapters and clubs and see if putting your time and money there wouldn't be more beneficial.
 

ultracruiser41

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It's really quite simple......no need to complicate things.
Does joining the PRA give a member any useful benefits with value?
What are they?
 

fara

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It's really quite simple......no need to complicate things.
Does joining the PRA give a member any useful benefits with value?
What are they?
I think this is the problem. I was at Mentone as a vendor and joined the PRA and I saw that the event was indeed well organized. The airport is nice (some cracks on the runway that could be filled but nice). People were friendly and kind. Food was decent. The fireworks show was "incredible" and must have cost a pretty penny.

However, I think not every member can make it to such a great event.
So there have to be benefits outside of the Mentone event.

In this regard, we should look at EAA and its benefits.

1) Representation to FAA in rule making. Indeed lobbying FAA to change rules or stop rules that may hurt aviation
2) Representation to FAA even for light sport aircraft manufacturers or kit manufacturers to keep national policy guidance to a reasonable level
3) Local Chapters that are EAA chapters with technical councilors helping locals etc.
4) Young Eagles events
5) Oshkosh AirVenture
6) Online and/or print magazine
7) EAA insurance

To me and this may be due to ignorance for which I apologize in advance, PRA seems to fall a bit short on these except the event.

But its easy to talk and harder to do. EAA has volunteers all over. That is how they are able to do this. Their technical councilors are all volunteers. Young Eagles events are all local chapters with pilots who volunteer except EAA does provide insurance for the flights.

There seems to be rift between local chapters and national PRA. That is not good and things don't work when that happens. Our local chapter does a lot. Its more active than EAA chapters here. There are new people who show up every event who are truly researching starting to fly gyroplanes. I don't know what the support for local chapters is from national PRA.

Insurance is always a problem and perhaps a group discount policy for PRA members would go a along way in helping members feel the benefit, especially instructors who are taking great liability while training.

Perhaps help to local chapters in the form of partial funding for some get togethers etc.

A commitment to engage and lobby FAA both for the pilot as well as kit supplier side so industry and participation can be made easy and grow.

Just my $0.02 looking in from the outside without having history or background in it.
 

SWaRC

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There seems to be rift between local chapters and national PRA. That is not good and things don't work when that happens. Our local chapter does a lot. Its more active than EAA chapters here. There are new people who show up every event who are truly researching starting to fly gyroplanes. I don't know what the support for local chapters is from national PRA.
I can answer that. Nothing. There is no communication nor perks coming from the mother organization. Your observation is right on.
Volunteering is big part of Sunstate but I must add that using the club's income to further the hobby (sorry I just can't use the word "sport" associated with gyros) by re-investing into events that draw the new blood. Unless you do invest into something in a meaningful way people don't think they want to be or even part of that thing whatever it might be.
Inclusive open business without shady deals and characters so anyone can be assured what you are doing.
Honesty can be a good start. No question is unfair when it comes to club matters.
The last I had heard from PRA was when Chris Toevs had sent out the questionnaire. I wonder how many feedback she got from the chapters and how long it took for them to do so!
I am 100% with you Abid. I see your point and experiencing it myself too. We have such a great opportunity to shape our own future.
I don't see it to be dark at all. It's just not going to happen by itself and definitely not without major course reversal.
Cut the chord with the "talkers" and put the "doers" in charge.
By definition they are already proving themselves by "doing" things.
BTW guys like you are our hope for the future that we can maybe blossom again as a great community.
Gab
 

OuterMarker

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ok, I'll put my toes into the water on this topic.

I was a member, for one year. I wrote and submitted a few articles when there was a call for articles. When members were asked to apply to be considered onto the PRA board, I did that too. I drove to the convention as well as flew into the convention. I was an "ok" PRA member in my opinion. I learned all that I could about the PRA with “babies eyes”. This all took place a few years ago. My interests are in fixed and rotor wing aircraft as well as model aircraft. I support the EAA, AOPA and AMA with memberships. This also means magazines from each and then a few more which I subscribe to. I try to stay current with magazine reading but fall behind every month...too many magazines! They are stacking up everywhere if I don't find new homes for them.

Here is my point. I have always had an issue with the cost/value of being a PRA member. If you want me to open my wallet, reduce the cost of membership to say, $25/yr. I'd be willing to wager many more would also open their wallets and join. Perhaps the membership issue is just that simple; increase the size of the PRA by dropping the membership cost. Then what? Will the PRA lose them after one year like me? What will hold a person’s interest year after year? A magazine can. I’d suggest the PRA once again merge with that other magazine again. I was excited about the magazine merge and bought it. I liked the idea of "blended concepts" with respect to flying light aircraft. There is a lot commonality which I feel will also help grow the excitement of gyroplane flying within those pages. Seekers and cross-over pilots that might not have had an interest or current information about flying a gyroplane will now have good information on the gyroplane community. Slowly, perhaps, the “old” word on the street about teaching yourself to fly a gyroplane and you don’t need a license to fly will fade and new growth with rise.

This forum is so important to the gyroplane community too. For reasons like this one. Information is read or written in an instant, no three month delay. The PRA should continue to post here to grow interest, the magazine continues the interest because it is casual reading which can be shared and handed to another, developing friendships and bonds which grow chapters and clubs.
albert
 

GordonT

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First of all, I am not yet a PRA member although I am a member of Sunstate Wing & Rotor Club (SWARC) and I am also a member of EAA. I do see a benefit from SWARC and EAA and not so much for PRA.

One of the best programs I see in EAA is their Young Eagles program designed to introduce aviation to youth. IT WORKS!!! It is run by the chapters, not national. National provides all the materials (brochures, log books, certificates, etc.) although it is the chapters that organize, manage & run each event. The only requirements for pilots are a minimum liability insurance policy on their aircraft (which EAA increases to $1,000,000) and current sport pilot or higher certificates. This is one area where joining with EAA could produce tremendous benefits, although individuals with 2 place gyros can join EAA and participate with local EAA chapters that offer the Young Eagles program so youngsters can get a free ride in a gyro in addition to airplanes (why aren't more 2 place owners doing this already). Get youth exited about gyros and you will see growth.

Now for a more radical idea! I read in various threads about issues with PRA including communication and direction. I also see some comments on the importance of getting involved in the local chapters where growth is taking place. So, my radical idea for PRA is to completely restructure its governing board by assigning one board seat to each chapter (no more annual elections). Each chapter will choose who will represent their chapter on the PRA Board so each chapter can send their own "doers" to get things done. This also solves the communication issues because PRA then becomes the accumulation of all of the local chapters where things actually get done.
 
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