Training can be an emotional roller coaster.

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
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16,443
Location
Nipomo,California
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Givens Predator
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2400+ in rotorcraft
I have a client (Robert) who in my opinion was ready to solo in The Predator but still has some issues to work on to solo in his RAF. He took his aircraft back to his home airport to install a larger horizontal stabilizer and his Sport Copter trim system.

We scheduled a week of training at his home airport in Carson City, Nevada (KCXP) with the goals being to clean up his radio calls at a non-towered airport and solo him in his aircraft.

We were flying out of Carson City (CXP) and that had some challenges of its own. We typically saw over 6,000 feet density altitude in the afternoon and CXP is in sort of a bowl causing rapidly changing winds and rising terrain.

Robert and I are not small people and with fuel the RAF is carrying over 500 pounds putting us close to the maximum takeoff weight.

She is powered by a Subaru EJ25 and we are not sure she will climb out at my personal minimum of 500 feet per minute with the two of us on board even in the morning when the density altitude is around 4,000 feet.

It is a forty minute drive from Robert’s home in Sparks to the CXP so we left before dawn each day to maximize our time before the density altitude went higher and/or the afternoon winds came up. I was reminded what I don’t like about 27 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are not a lot of places for a successful emergency landing on downwind unless we can make it back to the runway. That is not always practical with a low time student pilot.

We worked all week to resolve minor issues and make minor adjustments. We had radio issues and we removed some seat padding for more headroom. Each setback took precious time away from training.

The first day as we finished out preflight with some minor repairs the wind came up early so we were grounded for the day. I currently have a ten knot wind limit with a minimal cross wind component flying this new to me RAF at this new to me airport.

The next day on my first takeoff demonstration I was having challenges with excursions when I inadvertently touched the nose wheel down during the takeoff roll. The steering seemed uncommonly twitchy to me. On another takeoff attempt I rocked back on the tail wheel and made an arc to the left. The rudder seemed ineffective when rocked back on the tail and she seemed disinclined to get the nose back down until I reduced power to idle. Robert had the only brake and I could not find the words to have him gently apply the brakes to ease the nose wheel down as we approached the edge of the runway.

It felt to me like there was some resistance to the stick coming all the way back. It was better as soon as Robert released the pre-rotator. Apparently the cable tries to straighten out when transmitting torque.

These did not seem to me like acceptable quirks for training a thirteen hour pilot.

With about 100 hours in RAFs and RAF derivatives I was feeling out of my depth with this RAF 2000 so I called my friend Duane Hunn and he patiently talked me through the nose wheel steering adjustment procedure. He is a very experienced RAF flight instructor.

We found the tail wheel turned slightly right compared to the keel and when we turned it upside down it was slightly left and she now goes straight when rocked back on the tail wheel.

We spent most of the second day testing our adjustment and adjusting till the wind came up quite suddenly at 2:30.

We were very pleased with her overall transformation.

I called Duane back with the report on our progress and my feelings of inexperience and he was kind enough to share his syllabus for teaching takeoffs in an RAF which is very different than mine for teaching takeoffs in The Predator.

Duane reported he had not soloed anyone in less than 20 hours of dual instruction.

It was very cold Thursday and the water temperature gauge would not come off the peg. I was proud of Robert when he chose to return to the hangar and investigate the problem. The radiator was cold so we figured it was either air in the system or a thermostat. Robert purchased a new thermostat at Napa and some antifreeze. Forty five minutes later the gauge was showing 160 degrees but the radiator was still cold. We spent quite a while chasing bubbles out of the system.

Once we got her running again with the temperature gauge apparently stuck at 160 degrees Robert took to the new procedure well despite my concern he would be frustrated with the slow methodical progress. We performed many full length high speed taxis practicing balancing on the mains and adjusting the steering.

I have never been a crow hop enthusiast. I can now see the value of spending more time balancing on the mains and doing crow hops; particularly in an RAF.

Our next step is to balance on the mains doing S turns across the centerline and I can see where this has value for landing challenges.

Unfortunately on the fifth day on the taxi back feeling satisfied with progress ready for our first lift off the wheel bolts sheared and the right main wheel departed the aircraft ending our training efforts to accomplish our goals.

As is often the case help magically appeared from new friends. I love the way people simply pitch in to help. We borrowed
a small wheeled cart, a jack and some tie down so we could tow the crippled aircraft back to the hangar. We had not previously met either of our new friends.

Robert has still not soloed although his non-towered radio calls are vastly improved.

Next time we may go to Silver Springs (SPZ) twenty six miles to the north east for a friendlier environment. It is five hundred feet lower and flat. It doesn’t have an AWAS so we will need to rely on the wind sock to manage our limits.

Winter is coming and we don’t know how long the weather will hold for a return visit.

The entire week was an emotional rollercoaster with success followed by delays and frustration. We were so near the goal when we had to stop for repair.
 

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500e

Active Member
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a lot more now
I would be more worried about the wheel\s & pre rotor problems
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
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Messages
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Nipomo,California
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Givens Predator
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I suspect the wheel lugs will not fail again.

The pre-rotator seems to be working just fine. I just need to be ready for the feel of the cyclic to change when Robert releases the pre-rotator.

If I worried I wouldn't have as much fun as I do.
 

bugflyer

Bugflyer
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Lodi, CA
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owned C-205, Titan Tornado II, flown C150s, PA-140s, PA-18, R-22. R-44, 1 hour in P51C
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Vance;n1139982 said:
I suspect the wheel lugs will not fail again.

I'm sure you weren't worried before they broke...what changed to make you still comfortable?
smiles,
Charles
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Nipomo,California
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Givens Predator
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2400+ in rotorcraft
The people who make the wheels said it was uncommon for the bolts to fail.

I suspect Robert will use a torque wrench and will do everything practical to mitigate the risk.

Robert is an A&P mechanic and appears to me to be more skilled than I am.

The wheels on The Predator are held together with much smaller bolts.

I work to mitigate risk and do not find much value in worry.
 

500e

Active Member
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UK
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500c\d\e 300C & CBi
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a lot more now
The people who make the wheels said "it was uncommon for the bolts to fail." :noidea:
That statement would certainly worry me
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Nipomo,California
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Givens Predator
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yettie;n1140017 said:
The people who make the wheels said "it was uncommon for the bolts to fail." :noidea:
That statement would certainly worry me

We are very different people.

Sometime things just break for no reason.

Sometime things break from poor design.

It appears to me in is was not a typical failure so there is no reason to imagine it will fail again.

There are lots of parts that could break on The Predator; some of them flight critical. I would not enjoy the flight if I worried about each one.

Most injuries flying gyroplanes are from pilot error rather than from mechanical failures so I carefully maintain my aircraft and work to become a better pilot to mitigate the risk.
 

eddie

RAF, turbo subaru 230hp
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Polvadera,nm 87828
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It sounds like the axle was bent before and straightened,that probably started a crack and it eventually failed,a lot of RAF owners

have replaced the 5/8" bolt with a 3/4" one there are bearings 3/4" in size at Aircraft spruce.

that fit the rims.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,443
Location
Nipomo,California
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Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Good morning Eddie, It was the three lug bolts that broke, not the axle. My recollection is they are three 3/8 bolts. They broke at the face of the hub.
 

eddie

RAF, turbo subaru 230hp
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I have never heard of that happening,thanks for the info.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
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Nipomo,California
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My wild guess is at some point they were over torqued. Duane Hunn guessed exactly where they broke. The aircraft has suspension and disk brakes so I don't know how much is RAF.
 

Kolibri

FW and Gyros
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Sounds like a frustrating time.
Glad that the separating main wheel didn't cause injury.
I hope the next session goes better for you both.



The next day on my first takeoff demonstration I was having challenges with excursions when I inadvertently touched the nose wheel down during the takeoff roll.
The steering seemed uncommonly twitchy to me.
Hmmm, interesting. When I described the inherent challenges of the hard-linked RAF nosewheel ("twitchy" by my reckoning),
you snidely commented that competent pilots had no trouble with it, and suggested that I get more training.


An earlier comment of yours in that thread:

The linked nose wheel is more of a challenge on landings.
Misuse of the nose wheel on takeoff usually just leads to the gyroplane telling the pilot he needs more practice balancing on the mains.



On another takeoff attempt I rocked back on the tail wheel and made an arc to the left.

We found the tail wheel turned slightly right compared to the keel and when we turned it upside down it was slightly left and she now goes straight when rocked back on the tail wheel.
I've never heard of this takeoff technique with the RAF.
If one balances on the mains, neither the nosewheel nor the tailwheel should touch.
That little TW has only 8psi in it, and cannot handle much weight.

In my opinion, it should be used only in landings, and even then only sparingly and lightly.

Regards,
Kolibri
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Nipomo,California
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Givens Predator
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2400+ in rotorcraft
Kolibri;n1140041 said:
Sounds like a frustrating time.
I hope the next session goes better for you both.

Hmmm, interesting. When I described the inherent challenges of the hard-linked RAF nosewheel ("twitchy" by my reckoning),
you snidely commented that competent pilots had no trouble with it, and suggested that I get more training.

Regards,
Kolibri[/COLOR]

Now that the links are adjusted correctly it is easy for Robert to managing the hard linked nose wheel because it is not hard linked.

Part of good training is adjusting the rigging.

Duane helped me with adjusting the nose wheel linkage.

If you are having trouble with your nose wheel it may not be rigged correctly.

I am not responsible for what you read into my posts.

I am serious about feeling you need more training; there is nothing snide about it.

You appear to me to misunderstand some very basics elements of flying a gyroplane.

I have more than 100 hours of dual received because I feel there is always more to learn.

I learn from every flight.
 

Kolibri

FW and Gyros
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Now that the links are adjusted correctly it is easy for Robert to managing the hard linked nose wheel because it is not hard linked.
Uh, how's that? His NW is no longer connected to the rudder pedals?

If you are having trouble with your nose wheel it may not be rigged correctly.
I'm not. I simple believe that a gyro's NW should have trail and free-castering.

You appear to me to misunderstand some very basics elements of flying a gyroplane.
Your misunderstand the matter, especially having never seen me fly.
I've much more time in RAFs than you do, and I fly it pretty well.
There's always something new to learn, but I'm not some 40 hour newbie, thanks.

Sorry, but you're the one having trouble balancing this RAF on the mains.
You're also misusing the TW on takeoff, in my opinion.

Regards,
Kolibri
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
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Location
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Kolibri;n1140046 said:
Uh, how's that? His NW is no longer connected to the rudder pedals?


I'm not. I simple believe that a gyro's NW should have trail and free-castering.


Your misunderstand the matter, especially having never seen me fly.
I've much more time in RAFs than you do, and I fly it pretty well.
There's always something new to learn, but I'm not some 40 hour newbie, thanks.

Sorry, but you're the one having trouble balancing this RAF on the mains.
You're also misusing the TW on takeoff, in my opinion.

Regards,
Kolibri

Roberts's nose wheel is not hard linked to the pedals.

You are entitled to your opinion.

I prefer a free castering nose wheel.

Many people do not and most gyrroplanes sold today have a linked nose wheel steering.

The goal was to get Robert's aircraft adjusted so I could teach him to fly it.

The steering was not adjusted correctly.

This is not a difficult concept for most here.

I don't need to see you fly to recognize from your posts that you have a lot of misconceptions about gyroplanes.

Insulting me because you misunderstood what I wrote won't make you a better pilot.

Please take your confusion somewhere else.
 

Kolibri

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Roberts's nose wheel is not hard linked to the pedals.
An RAF without hard-linked NW? That's interesting, and probably worthy of its own thread with photos.

The only other example I've heard of was a Sport Copter conversion of a blue RAF to add their trailed/free-castering NW.
It worked great, but was a real chore to install due to the RAF's belly shape and internal spaces.


Insulting me because you misunderstood . . .
Not trying to "insult" you, and I do not "misunderstand" that your RAF training procedure needs some modification,
especially in regards to not rolling on the tailwheel during takeoff. You've implicitly admitted such (see below).
Skill in balancing on the mains in an RAF is crucial. That said, I wish you both success in getting Robert trained for his solo.


I called Duane back with the report on our progress and my feelings of inexperience and he was kind enough to share his syllabus for teaching takeoffs in an RAF which is very different than mine for teaching takeoffs in The Predator.

I have never been a crow hop enthusiast. I can now see the value of spending more time balancing on the mains and doing crow hops; particularly in an RAF.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
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Location
Nipomo,California
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Givens Predator
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In my opinion if someone has a hard linked nose wheel in an RAF 2000 it is not adjusted correctly.

That is exactly what Robert had done because he didn’t like the way his followed the drainage channels while taxiing around the hangars at the Santa Maria Airport.

He is a motorcycle road racer and wanted precision so he preferred the hard linked steering until he started to pick up speed.

The steering then became too sensitive to manage well despite trying several of my tricks for smooth nose wheel control.

The plan was for me to teach and that is why I was in the right seat without a brake, pre-rotator or push to talk button.

After a somewhat disquieting take off roll I felt it was time to demonstrate.

I didn’t want Robert to get into trouble so I tried all the things low time pilots do like touching the nose wheel down at speed.

One is rocking all the way back on the tail wheel.

In my opinion I would be remiss if I didn’t find out what it did when mishandled and it did in fact steer the aircraft to the left.

Now it goes straight rocked back on the tail wheel as it should.

This is more important for landing.

Duane gave me the correct procedure for adjusting the nose wheel and after following it to the letter Robert’s RAF was in our opinion much improved.

We found that Robert could set the nose wheel down at takeoff speed and not have it dart at all at a specific power setting.

We expect to do some more adjusting as we learn more.

After following Duane’s syllabus Robert’s takeoff roll was much improved and I was planning; traffic and weather permitting; to have him lift off on the next time down the runway when the lug bolts failed on our taxi back.
 

Kolibri

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I didn’t want Robert to get into trouble so I tried all the things low time pilots do like touching the nose wheel down at speed.

One is rocking all the way back on the tail wheel.

In my opinion I would be remiss if I didn’t find out what it did when mishandled . . .

It didn't seem intentional, hence my comments. For example:
The next day on my first takeoff demonstration I was having challenges with excursions when I inadvertently touched the nose wheel down during the takeoff roll.

Glad to read that his RAF is now handling better.
I wish him a safe and satisfying solo! You will deserve to feel proud as his CFI.

Regards,
Kolibri
 
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