Training may likely be the issue why so many Euro Gyro Accidents

Rotormouse

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Wrong yet again, Phil. Gyro-gliding continued until 2012, and only ended then because a greedy bar-steward told me a pack of lies to get the airfield to himself.

Phil has a very negative attitude to anything he can’t relate to, or that doesn’t fit within his dogma. A good instructor (like Vance) is open to ideas that could improve safety and benefit students, not make sweeping statements with no knowledge or experience that it can’t be done and won’t be done. Absolute rubbish! A proven method, there’s no reason why gliders or boom trainers can’t be updated and operated to a professional standard today. What do you want an airport for? All that’s needed is a reasonably level bit of open ground and a nice bit of wind. Fly one first, then your comments may have some credibility.

Accidents will always happen, unfortunately. The only way to be one hundred percent safe is to stay inside and never leave the ground again. This glider accident killed my mentor – a veteran gyronaut and the most experienced gyro-glider instructor in the country. He and our friend died because of complacency and arrogance. They died because the boss of the school that operated that glider, put a sunroof salesman in charge of maintenance when neither of them had a clue about what they were doing. Error compounded error in an accident chain that remained unbroken when every opportunity to stop it was missed. When my friends also failed to catch it, the final link was in place and they paid the ultimate price.

Using this example to try and blacken the use and great benefit of gyro-gliding is a new low, even for Phil. Take four head bolts out of a Cavalon or an MT – you’ll get the same result when the rotor assembly flies off. All those fancy instruments and operating handbooks won’t save them. Sick of this constant negativity and prejudice towards anything pre-2006. The ‘new’ ways aren’t working out so good either, so why not take the best of both worlds and don’t deprive students of any opportunity to become better pilots. Give them all the tools, after that it’s up to them.
 

Vance

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So you might reflect upon how the context of my prior post and your suggestion of limitations are not that far apart from your own limitations. I don't know anyone regularly flying or offering rides never mind instruction in a gyro glider in the UK for over a decade. The accident below pretty much ended activities from 1997. How about you relax the cheap shots?

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5422f3c540f0b613460004f1/dft_avsafety_pdf_501029.pdf

As an aside the old way, valuable and interesting experience as it may be does not prevent the worst from happening even with very experienced instructors.

https://assets.publishing.service.g...00aa7/Air_Command_532_Elite__G-BPFW_09-91.pdf
I am grateful I am a flight instructor in the USA and have a broad range of gyroplane experience available to me.

I have little information on gyroplane flight training in the UK.

I am confident I could find many places near my home airport to tow a glider if I decided that is what I wanted to do.

There are lots of private dirt roads across farmlands that would be suitable for towing a gyro glider.

I only mentioned the value of the towed gyro glider because you appeared to me to discount its value and escalated the difficulty.

Have you even flown a towed gyro glider Phil Bennett?

In my opinion the accidents you have cited are unrelated to anything that has been discussed in this thread.

I am not surprised that when a rotor departs a gyroplane it does not end well even with a towed gyro glider.

I doubt if any method of training would teach someone to manage the mechanical problems that caused the accident of G-BPFW.

None of my clients think flying gyroplanes or learning to fly gyroplanes is safe.

As a flight instructor I do my best to make them aware of the risk and mitigate the risk.

The study of gyroplane accidents helps me to adjust my training to address what appear to me to be causes of gyroplane accidents and recognize hazardous behavior.

I do my best to maximize the value of my efforts to help people have a fulfilling and safe gyroplane flying adventure.
 

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Philbennett

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Wrong yet again, Phil. Gyro-gliding continued until 2012, and only ended then because a greedy bar-steward told me a pack of lies to get the airfield to himself.

Phil has a very negative attitude to anything he can’t relate to, or that doesn’t fit within his dogma. A good instructor (like Vance) is open to ideas that could improve safety and benefit students, not make sweeping statements with no knowledge or experience that it can’t be done and won’t be done. Absolute rubbish! A proven method, there’s no reason why gliders or boom trainers can’t be updated and operated to a professional standard today. What do you want an airport for? All that’s needed is a reasonably level bit of open ground and a nice bit of wind. Fly one first, then your comments may have some credibility.

Accidents will always happen, unfortunately. The only way to be one hundred percent safe is to stay inside and never leave the ground again. This glider accident killed my mentor – a veteran gyronaut and the most experienced gyro-glider instructor in the country. He and our friend died because of complacency and arrogance. They died because the boss of the school that operated that glider, put a sunroof salesman in charge of maintenance when neither of them had a clue about what they were doing. Error compounded error in an accident chain that remained unbroken when every opportunity to stop it was missed. When my friends also failed to catch it, the final link was in place and they paid the ultimate price.

Using this example to try and blacken the use and great benefit of gyro-gliding is a new low, even for Phil. Take four head bolts out of a Cavalon or an MT – you’ll get the same result when the rotor assembly flies off. All those fancy instruments and operating handbooks won’t save them. Sick of this constant negativity and prejudice towards anything pre-2006. The ‘new’ ways aren’t working out so good either, so why not take the best of both worlds and don’t deprive students of any opportunity to become better pilots. Give them all the tools, after that it’s up to them.
Shirley - so when I said:-
I don't know anyone regularly flying or offering rides never mind instruction in a gyro glider in the UK for over a decade.

...and you stopped in 2012 just how wrong was I? [2012 v 2021, over a decade...OK yeah wrong but come on...]

You continue with who needs an airport, etc, yet you stopped because someone else wanted your airfield to himself... yet who needs airport?

I'm not negative to other methods and I'd happily spend some weekends in a gyro glider but as I said before nobody is doing it and the west coast of the USA is a bit inconvenient for me and I guess the others keen to have a go living in the UK.

I don't think that is being unreasonable, rubbish, lacking knowledge or a sweeping statement. It is just the way it is.

You were doing it in 2012. You are not doing it now. No one is negative on things prior to 2006, its just some things aren't happening as they were. The BRA isn't the same, there is no publication, there is no kit gyros to build, nobody is really active with a single seater [yes 1 or 2 before i get run over but no depth of interest] and so on.

Regards the accident. It wasn't highlighted to "blacken" anything it was done to show that the issues we have today are likely no different to the issue of before - gyro gliding, the methods of yesterday, whatever. There are few new ways to hurt yourself flying.

Take the bolts out of a Cavalon or MT and the rotor assembly flies off but I suppose that is what a pre-flight inspection is for, we can read your own view on those elsewhere, and when you say:-

All those fancy instruments and operating handbooks won’t save them

Well perhaps because within a POH is.... a pre-flight checklist and the encouragement to use it.
 

Tyger

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They died because the boss of the school that operated that glider put a sunroof salesman in charge of maintenance when neither of them had a clue about what they were doing. Error compounded error in an accident chain that remained unbroken when every opportunity to stop it was missed. When my friends also failed to catch it, the final link was in place and they paid the ultimate price.
It's a terrible tale. It seems that it had been flown many times before the final accident, without anyone ever checking/noticing that those four critical bolts were completely missing:
"A photograph of the gyroglider in-flight, taken on the evening before the accident, revealed that all four bolts were missing at that time.
Testing at the AAIB indicated that, after reassembling the rotorbearing into its housing by heating the housing, a force of 870 pounds was required to extract it. The aircraft, without the rotor components which had become detached, weighed 120 pounds unoccupied. It was concluded that the interference fit alone had been sufficient to retain the rotor to the fuselage throughout the 30 to 50 flights undertaken during the previous evening, and possibly during flights preceding that event."
 

Martin W.

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It's a terrible tale. It seems that it had been flown many times before the final accident, without anyone ever checking/noticing that those four critical bolts were completely missing:
"A photograph of the gyroglider in-flight, taken on the evening before the accident, revealed that all four bolts were missing at that time.
Testing at the AAIB indicated that, after reassembling the rotorbearing into its housing by heating the housing, a force of 870 pounds was required to extract it. The aircraft, without the rotor components which had become detached, weighed 120 pounds unoccupied. It was concluded that the interference fit alone had been sufficient to retain the rotor to the fuselage throughout the 30 to 50 flights undertaken during the previous evening, and possibly during flights preceding that event."
This should bring up the accident investigation . PDF

 

WaspAir

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Please help me understand the value of gyro-gliders for initial training.

I have instructed in glider-gliders (meaning sailplanes) but never gyro-gliders. In sailplanes, I have launched by aero-tow, winch tow, and auto-tow, so I know a bit about behavior of an aircraft at the end of a rope. However, all the instructing I have done in gyros has been with engine power.

How does one teach rotor management in a gyro glider, when the "throttle" is controlled by the driver of the tow vehicle, not by anyone in the aircraft? I'm having trouble picturing what happens after a manual "pat -up" of the blades to ensure the proper rpm/airspeed balance and avoid divergence.
 

EI-GYRO

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Please help me understand the value of gyro-gliders for initial training.

I have instructed in glider-gliders (meaning sailplanes) but never gyro-gliders. In sailplanes, I have launched by aero-tow, winch tow, and auto-tow, so I know a bit about behavior of an aircraft at the end of a rope. However, all the instructing I have done in gyros has been with engine power.

How does one teach rotor management in a gyro glider, when the "throttle" is controlled by the driver of the tow vehicle, not by anyone in the aircraft? I'm having trouble picturing what happens after a manual "pat -up" of the blades to ensure the proper rpm/airspeed balance and avoid divergence.

Rotor management and its subtleties can be taught on a gyro glider in a light breeze without moving at all.
Tie down the machine, pointed into wind, and pat up the blades by hand to 45 rpm, within the capabilities of any moderately
fit person. Then work up the rrpm on the breeze. Work it up and down a few times between say 45 and 120 rpm, and you'll get the drift.
You can even creat/simulate blade sailing/rotor flap, at low energy without damage to anything.

The good thing about following the Bensen method is that there are no large steps from one item to the next, all the way to, and including, first solo with power.

Regarding towing, the driver needs to be know more than the pilot, as he controls the airspeed, but the necessary co-ordination is not difficult.
Patience is key. Suitable conditions appropriate to the student's level of proficiency and understanding are vital.

Most people don't have sufficient patience.

Rotor management by numbers is, in my opinion, inadequate.

Caveat; The rotors must be hand-startable, of course.
 

Vance

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Please help me understand the value of gyro-gliders for initial training.

I have instructed in glider-gliders (meaning sailplanes) but never gyro-gliders. In sailplanes, I have launched by aero-tow, winch tow, and auto-tow, so I know a bit about behavior of an aircraft at the end of a rope. However, all the instructing I have done in gyros has been with engine power.

How does one teach rotor management in a gyro glider, when the "throttle" is controlled by the driver of the tow vehicle, not by anyone in the aircraft? I'm having trouble picturing what happens after a manual "pat -up" of the blades to ensure the proper rpm/airspeed balance and avoid divergence.
A gyro glider was not a part of my initial gyroplane flight training.

I had more than fifteen hundred hours as pilot in command of a gyroplane and had begun instructing when I had some time in a gyro glider.

The time was not logged so I can’t be precise about the numbers nor are they important.

In my limited experience as a flight instructor I had found primary students tend to over control particularly as the get near the ground and they imagined that they could steer with the rudder in flight.

If they had fixed wing experience they would often try to rush the takeoff ignoring the rotor rpm and want to rotate at some specific indicated air speed.

I feel as a flight instructor I can explain these errors well and they are spelled out in the Rotorcraft Flying Hand Book. Still to this day I have clients with a tendency toward these errors.

The gyro glider allowed me to experience rotor divergence (flap) and recognizes how subtle good cyclic control inputs are. I could stop the divergence with forward cyclic.

The gyro glider made it impossible to imagine that in flight steering was done with the rudder as we could happily fly along at considerable angle to the tow rope (uncoordinated) and if I wanted her to move left or right I used the cyclic.

Because we were near the ground all the time it was easy to recognize quickly how pointless stabbing at the cyclic was.

The experience was part of my reason for transitioning into only giving the client the cyclic for their first landing. It seems to work very well and most of my clients can land successfully in their second hour of flight instruction.

It could be said I am simulating a gyro glider by only giving the client control of the cyclic and keeping control of the rudder and throttle until I feel they are ready.

I feel the lessons learned about pre-rotation with the Predator’s one hundred rpm pre-rotator are also similar to but not quite as valuable as hand starting the blades with a gyro glider.

Part of my syllabus is to rush the takeoff at least once so the client can get a feel for rotor divergence and what to do when they feel it.
 

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WaspAir

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The gyro glider made it impossible to imagine that in flight steering was done with the rudder as we could happily fly along at considerable angle to the tow rope (uncoordinated) and if I wanted her to move left or right I used the cyclic.
I had considered this behavior, but thought it a serious disadvantage, in that the rope provides an artificial stabilizing force and the direction of the thrust it provides is inconsistent with yaw angle / expected prop thrust axis. This seemed to me to be a potential source of incorrect expectations for the student once a powerplant is added and the tow abandoned.
 
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WaspAir

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P.S. As a possibly interesting contrast for the curious, flying a sailplane on tow is often a more demanding flight regime than free flight and can take longer to learn. Airspeed and g-load control are critical for winch and autotows, while aerotow offers the complications of following the towplane through turns while maintaining turn radius and rope tension, and avoiding the towplane wake in the vertical plane
 

EI-GYRO

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I had considered this behavior, but thought it a serious disadvantage, in that the rope provides an artificial stabilizing force and the direction of the thrust it provides is inconsistent with yaw angle / expected prop axis. This seemed to me to be a potential source of incorrect expectations for the student once a powerplant is added and the tow abandoned.
I can only say that I never found any issue in this area. That said, I was following the Bensen method, a slow and progressive process.
I cannot say how integrating gyrogliding into the Eurotub training process would work. Paid instruction with its time/value pressures is a much less relaxed approach to training than Bensen's needed to be.
 

Rotormouse

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‘The accident below pretty much ended activities from 1997.’
Activities continued successfully for another fifteen years.

'You continue with who needs an airport, etc, yet you stopped because someone else wanted your airfield to himself... yet who needs airport?'

Oh dear. Let me spell it out for you. My house has no garage, no driveway and nowhere to safely keep the two gyroplanes and a gyro-glider that no longer had a hangar. Delta-J actually spent three months outside, wrapped up behind a neighbour’s hedge. The glider and the other machine had to be stripped down to component parts, otherwise I would never have got them up the stairs into the back bedroom. A friend was planning to establish a gyro school in France, so I gave him the glider so they could make good use of it. Unfortunately the project fell through and I don’t know what happened to the glider.
So to repeat: gyro-gliders and/or boom trainers do not need an airport to operate. A reasonably level piece of open ground will suffice.

'I'm not negative to other methods and I'd happily spend some weekends in a gyro glider but as I said before nobody is doing it and the west coast of the USA is a bit inconvenient for me and I guess the others keen to have a go living in the UK.'

All evidence to the contrary, and as you have stated before that you’re building a glider, I suggest you try flying it. You might finally open your eyes and realise just how much is lacking when flying by numbers.

'I don't think that is being unreasonable, rubbish, lacking knowledge or a sweeping statement. It is just the way it is.'

A very narrow-minded view and a distinct lack of knowledge displayed in many posts, both here and on You Tube. I’m not fussed when you show your ignorance but your constant disrespect of the veterans and the early days is contemptible, and with this post you hit too close to home. They can’t defend themselves, but I will.
Those who taught me (and many others), felt very strongly about what they were doing and worked hard to make sure we stayed safe. They cared. Thanks to their diligence, I have never damaged a rotor blade – or flown by numbers. Maybe they did know something after all. They had none of the advantages we have available now, but when it came to training they did the best they could with what little they had. And they did a darn good job.
So before you go rooting round for more second hand reports and old crash videos to ‘prove’ how dangerous they all were back in the day, some of these people you ridicule were well known to many of us. We survive because of their dedication in sharing what they had to learn the hard way, and we respect them for that. You have no idea beyond the context of the UK in the present day, and what you can regurgitate from the internet. Wise up for god’s sake.

'Take the bolts out of a Cavalon or MT and the rotor assembly flies off but I suppose that is what a pre-flight inspection is for, we can read your own view on those elsewhere'

Yes, you can read the Getting Acquainted chapter in Short Hops, if you so desire. Written directly after this glider accident in 1997, to preserve the knowledge given to me by Chris Julian so that others might still benefit from it after his death. How about that – I wrote my own checklist to share, all those years ago when everyone was so reckless and undisciplined.

Back to the playground with you, I’ve got better things to do.
 

Chris Burgess

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Rotor management and its subtleties can be taught on a gyro glider in a light breeze without moving at all.
Tie down the machine, pointed into wind, and pat up the blades by hand to 45 rpm, within the capabilities of any moderately
fit person. Then work up the rrpm on the breeze. Work it up and down a few times between say 45 and 120 rpm, and you'll get the drift.
You can even creat/simulate blade sailing/rotor flap, at low energy without damage to anything.
I wanted so to produce a video demonstrating exactly what you described above. Not moving and listening and watching the rotor as it speeds up and slows down teaches some rotor management that never gets covered or introduced to the 100K owners. Perhaps an underlying causal factor in several accidents cases. Well stated EI-GYRO.
 

WaspAir

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I wanted so to produce a video demonstrating exactly what you described above. Not moving and listening and watching the rotor as it speeds up and slows down teaches some rotor management that never gets covered or introduced to the 100K owners. Perhaps an underlying causal factor in several accidents cases. Well stated EI-GYRO.
If it's done with a tied-down gyro, the presence or absence of an engine wouldn't seem to matter (only the suitability of the blades for pat-up).
 

DennisFetters

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Yeah, right. That is known as a self-serving interpretation, but this has all been chewed over many times. Not worth another lap around the block.

Nothing self-serving about sharing the documented facts. Obviously, it has not been "chewed over" enough if the facts were not absorbed. I can't talk about other people's designs of gyroplane accidents, but I can share on the subject of when I started and owned the Air Command Commander gyroplanes accident rate and the cause of accidents. We did a study and compiled all the written information mostly from federal records or credible witness testimony.

I hope this study is beneficial for others to learn from;
 

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JETLAG03

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Nothing self-serving about sharing the documented facts. Obviously, it has not been "chewed over" enough if the facts were not absorbed. I can't talk about other people's designs of gyroplane accidents, but I can share on the subject of when I started and owned the Air Command Commander gyroplanes accident rate and the cause of accidents. We did a study and compiled all the written information mostly from federal records or credible witness testimony.

I hope this study is beneficial for others to learn from;
Shame the report did not include the accident reports and how each person managed his final feat.
 

Philbennett

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This forum is a funny place. The first hazard is that a post that you might start casually becomes entangled in language and hyper analysed to prove what?

Shirley so you carried on since '97 to around a decade ago, in most peoples world when you have one or two engaged in an activity in the entire UK that might count as "pretty much ended". In many ways it is kind of irrelevant but you have to be less emotional because frankly you entirely miss the point of my comments.

I'm not down on the past nor the people involved in the past but you have to see the woods for the trees. I have enormous respect for one of the people I'm sure you would call a friend [TM] and the nicest person you could meet but wow he is lucky to be here, and he'd admit it himself. Does that make him a bad man? no. Does that make him a poor pilot stick and rudder wise? no. But by the same token some of the points you hate being made are that, if you are trying to hammer home to the student to keep him safe, there are many many snags beyond stick and rudder.

I used to be a professional racing driver for almost 2 decades but on a track, on the road I'm a terrible driver. That is the parallel here, rolling out the war stories of tales of derring do is fine in the company of peers but students in training possibly less so.

Ironically Dennis Fetters turns up because what happened with his machines in the UK was arguably the greatest shame because of the opportunity lost as for a brief period gyroplanes had become more popular through the efforts of Fetters than almost anyone since Cierva and Bensen. When you speak to many of the people you claim I'm so down upon they [in conversation] whole heartedly agree that many of the activities that went on were regrettable and that is why the landscape is as it is in the UK today. Almost all of the old faces that are around today are quite united in a view that is the biggest show stopper to the Air Command in the UK was the wide adoption of the 532 motor option which had a very narrow power band and the training element where the importer was stacked out and in some cases buyers just didn't want to wait for training - they just had a go.
 
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