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

Vance

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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.
Words have meaning and I don’t understand Phil Bennett’s desire to pretend he knows things outside of his window of experience.

It is clear he just makes things up and presents them as fact.

The reason for a lack of availability of towed gyro gliders is a good example with Phil Bennett pretending it was a safety issue.

He even went so far as to suggest it would not be workable in the USA.

I suspect he has never flown a 532 Air Command or a towed gyro glider.

It appears to me from his post; his condemnation of the 532 powered Air Command is based on his interpretation of gossip.

I have not studied the Air Command crashes in the UK. The one Phil Bennett posted about on this thread (G-PFW) clearly had nothing to do with the narrow power band of the Rotax 532.

The Air Command accidents in the USA I have studied mostly had to do with insufficient training and poor aviation decision making.

The gyroplane I train in; The Predator is a very stable gyroplane with near centerline thrust, a lot of horizontal stabilizer volume and a 160 horsepower Lycoming IO-320 that makes power in a linier way from idle to 2,700 rpm. The Predator has no noticeable power-pitch-yaw coupling and a very effective vertical stabilizer and rudder. The Predator has a free castering nose wheel, good suspension and a wide track.

Despite all these safety features when teaching someone to fly her I still occasionally have to take the controls to keep a client from destroying the aircraft.

On the other hand Phil Bennett teaches in underpowered high thrust line gyroplanes with noticeable power-pitch-yaw coupling and hard linked nose gear that in my opinion would likely litter the UK landscape without good flight instruction.

I stand on the shoulders of those that came before me. I hold them in high regard and try to learn from their experience rather than condemn them for doing something that is outside of my window of experience.

I make an effort to base the opinions I express on fact and experience rather than gossip and fantasy.
 
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DennisFetters

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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.

Phil, I'm not going to launch a long-winded response to counter another long-winded response, nor will more reading convince anyone one way or the other. Therefore, I'll just state the facts of the matter which should due for those that don't have a bias and simply want to know the truth. As one female hooligan said to Dr. Phill; "how bout at!".

The few crashes that happened in the UK were the same; Lack of training.

I went to the UK, shipped my training Air Command there, and established a distributorship, where the distributor had sole rights to all of the UK, and I protected that by not allowing anyone in the UK to buy factory direct nor allowing any other US dealer or foreign distributor sell within his territory. In-kind, that UK distributor would properly train his customers to ensure the safe operation of the fleet.

After there were two accidents, the CAA called me and asked how much training was needed to operate the aircraft. I informed them that every operator should have a minimum of 40 hours of dual and supervised training, and only released after they demonstrated sufficient proficiency, as in any aircraft.

A few days after that, the distributor called me and asked if I had received a call from the CAA. He asked what I told them. After knowing, he then said, and I quote: "I'm fucked". Come to find out the distributor was including training in the sale price of the aircraft, which amounted to 5 hours in the two-place, and then he turned them loose on their own. So, you can see that anything over 5 hours would have come out of the distributor's pocket, thus the reluctance to provide enough training. Come to find out, each crash in the UK had less than 10 hours of flight time.

After that, the distributor disappeared, and the CAA said that no further aircraft can be registered to fly, nor could any aircraft already registered to fly, further operate if there were no distributors in the UK to oversee the fleet. At that time I was in the process of selling Air Command to start Revolution Helicopter, so I passed on the responsibility to the new owners to establish a new distributor in the UK, which they never did. That is why the Commanders were grounded in the UK, like it or not.

Now, those are the plain, true facts. I don't care how you try to spin them, that is what happened.

Well, crap. It turned out to be a long-winded response. Don't get used to it.
 

fara

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Although I appreciate the discussion (or arguments) about the gyro glider and gyro kite usage for the purpose of teaching students subtler points about rotor management and of getting a feel of rotor RPM increasing or decreasing I think we need to keep on track of general training as is available in 2 seat gyroplane trainers today.
I personally would love to spend a couple of hours on a gyro kite like shown in one of the videos posted earlier on this thread tethered to the ground in some wind. How cool is that and I can see how it would teach the stick motions and pressures required to manage the rotor RPM steadily. To some that feel is hard to get I guess and to others it comes quickly. Everyone is different. I do agree also that without an engine that alone is missing something and having an engine effects how the stick is handled.
Just as in an airplane if you are making a steep bank to the right, you would almost oppose the right bank after getting it established due to left turning propeller producing right turning tendency via PTE (Propeller Torque Effect), so you would have the same in a gyroplane with left turning propeller. So just as in a light airplane the feel of the control doing a steep bank to the left is different than steep bank to the right, so it is in a gyroplane.
With an engine at high power setting, you are producing localized airflow over the tail of a gyro and that localized airflow is also hitting the rotor disc towards the rear to a certain extent so it creates a different effect than simply airflow from your usual relative wind which is generally the airspeed. These effects are also felt in small airplanes on the tail at least and they are handled by the pilot via training. These things cannot be felt or trained for in a gyro glider or gyro kite.
So there is a value to it but it certainly isn't the whole picture for flying an engine equipped machine.
 
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EI-GYRO

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Although I appreciate the discussion (or arguments) about the gyro glider and gyro kite usage for the purpose of teaching students subtler points about rotor management and of getting a feel of rotor RPM increasing or decreasing I think we need to keep on track of general training as is available in 2 seat gyroplane trainers today.
I personally would love to spend a couple of hours on a gyro kite like shown in one of the videos posted earlier on this thread tethered to the ground in some wind. How cool is that and I can see how it would teach the stick motions and pressures required to manage the rotor RPM steadily. To some that feel is hard to get I guess and to others it comes quickly. Everyone is different. I do agree also that without an engine that alone is missing something and having an engine effects how the stick is handled.
Just as in an airplane if you are making a steep bank to the right, you would almost oppose the right bank after getting it established due to left turning propeller producing right turning tendency via PTE (Propeller Torque Effect), so you would have the same in a gyroplane with left turning propeller. So just as in a light airplane the feel of the control doing a steep bank to the left is different than steep bank to the right, so it is in a gyroplane.
With an engine at high power setting, you are producing localized airflow over the tail of a gyro and that localized airflow is also hitting the rotor disc towards the rear to a certain extent so it creates a different effect than simply airflow from your usual relative wind which is generally the airspeed. These effects are also felt in small airplanes on the tail at least and they are handled by the pilot via training. These things cannot be felt or trained for in a gyro glider or gyro kite.
So there is a value to it but it certainly isn't the whole picture for flying an engine equipped machine.
There seems to be a perception that the gyroglider claims all sorts of benefits which it never did.
It was a very good intro to rotor management and had a few other benefits as well, but the only reason it surfaces in this thread is due to the perception that rotor management training is not adequate to the task, hence some of the takeoff screwups. So listing all the things a gyroglider does not replicate or cater for is not any use at all.
For those of us who learned rotor management on a gyroglider, the current takeoff screwups come as no surprise at all.
The same goes for landing screwups with rigid-linked nosewheel-rudder arrangements.
Rigid-linked nosewheels don't cause accidents, but, like prerotators that only operate in the horizontal plane, they open the door to mistakes,
and occasionally turn a bit of sloppy handling into an accident.
The Eurotub manufacturers are not going to change anything. There is a saying about repeating the same experiment and expecting different results.
 

fara

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There seems to be a perception that the gyroglider claims all sorts of benefits which it never did.
It was a very good intro to rotor management and had a few other benefits as well, but the only reason it surfaces in this thread is due to the perception that rotor management training is not adequate to the task, hence some of the takeoff screwups. So listing all the things a gyroglider does not replicate or cater for is not any use at all.
For those of us who learned rotor management on a gyroglider, the current takeoff screwups come as no surprise at all.
The same goes for landing screwups with rigid-linked nosewheel-rudder arrangements.
Rigid-linked nosewheels don't cause accidents, but, like prerotators that only operate in the horizontal plane, they open the door to mistakes,
and occasionally turn a bit of sloppy handling into an accident.
The Eurotub manufacturers are not going to change anything. There is a saying about repeating the same experiment and expecting different results.

Yes I agree that gyro-kite or glider never claimed to be all of anything
 

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There are various elements of controlling a gyro that are unique to this particular type of flying machine...indeed as there are to the various arial contraptions that we use to free us from our normal land bound existence.

It behooves us well to learn the various idiosyncrasies of the particular machines that we choose, for each type will have it particular behaviours, foibles and gotcha’s, the last very often fatal.

There are a multitude of gyro types, and although there are common attributes and behaviours, there are also peculiarities for specific machines.

Carefully building up experience on any machine, using a fund of common knowledge, will take the pilot a long way, as long as they never lose sight of the fact that a lot of the time they are test pilots, exploring the parameter and boundaries that exist in the particular machine they are flying at the time.
 

fara

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There are various elements of controlling a gyro that are unique to this particular type of flying machine...indeed as there are to the various arial contraptions that we use to free us from our normal land bound existence.

It behooves us well to learn the various idiosyncrasies of the particular machines that we choose, for each type will have it particular behaviours, foibles and gotcha’s, the last very often fatal.

There are a multitude of gyro types, and although there are common attributes and behaviours, there are also peculiarities for specific machines.

Carefully building up experience on any machine, using a fund of common knowledge, will take the pilot a long way, as long as they never lose sight of the fact that a lot of the time they are test pilots, exploring the parameter and boundaries that exist in the particular machine they are flying at the time.

when we are talking of Gyroplanes of type listed in the thread heading no one needs to be a test pilot for operating envelope that is non aerobatic except for making sure assembly from the kit is correct. One needs proper training and transition training and one needs to take it humbly and seriously.
 
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Resasi

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type listed in the thread heading
Euro Gyro??

That’s a pretty unspecific term for huge number of different types, many of which will almost certainly have very different flight quirks.
 

Vance

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when we are talking of Gyroplanes of type listed in the thread heading no one needs to be a test pilot for operating envelope that is non aerobatic except for making sure assembly from the kit is correct. One needs proper training and transition training and one needs to take it humbly and seriously.
Perhaps we are using the term test pilot differently Abid.

It appears to me the FAA specifically wants some of the phase one flight time to be used for identifying V speeds, limitations and testing the stability of amateur built gyroplanes.

That reads like a test pilot to me.

It has been my experience that two amateur built experimental gyroplanes of the same make and model may fly differently.

I sometimes teach in the client’s aircraft and approach the process of learning to fly their gyroplane as a test pilot.

I have often found the performance numbers I record are divergent from the numbers in the POH.

Getting a feel for the altitude required to recover airspeed from a vertical descent reads like test pilot stuff to me.
 

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It appears to me the FAA specifically wants some of the phase one flight time to be used for identifying V speeds, limitations and testing the stability of amateur built gyroplanes.

That reads like a test pilot to me.

It has been my experience that two amateur built experimental gyroplanes of the same make and model may fly differently.

I sometimes teach in the client’s aircraft and approach the process of learning to fly their gyroplane as a test pilot.

I have often found the performance numbers I record are divergent from the numbers in the POH.

Getting a feel for the altitude required to recover airspeed from a vertical descent reads like test pilot stuff to me.
I agree.
It seems to me that part of the Phase I flight time is to allow the (kit) builder to gather the data for his own POH.
 

fara

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I agree.
It seems to me that part of the Phase I flight time is to allow the (kit) builder to gather the data for his own POH.
Yeah that’s true I guess
 

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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).
Just an FYI, I did “pat-up” on 27 foot Skywheels routinely 1987-1997 on a short Parsons II for training my students in those 10 years. We never installed a prerotator. I did “pat-up” on 30 foot RAF’s on a TwinStar (standing in the aft seat) when the electric prerotator gave out. Did 30 footers on an RAF when the mechanical prerotator on the owners gyro failed. Even held the stick while my student hand-spun the 28 foot rotor on his Barnett after he sheared the hydraulic prerotator drive at the head. Now I did the taxiing or coaching to complete the spin-ups in all cases since it is pretty critical dealing with low rotor rpm and getting the rotor spun up the rest of the way without doing major damage.

WaspAir I would NEVER consider doing anything that “crazy” on your 18A since we both know that isn't possible for many other reasons. But in a pinch, you would be surprised what a “young” strong arm can do in many gyros. Not for the uninitiated or inexperienced and certainly not very safe for everyday flying. Once you know what to look for in the rotor, bringing it up to speed is an “adventure”. Been lucky so..., “Don’t try this at home” strongly applies.
 

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Thanks for finding this video, I've never seen it before. I don't remember ever meeting the author, so I can have no opinion on his character, so I have no idea how he could have one about me, but, whatever.

Only touching on the contents concerning the Air Commanders, It does back up my previous post on the Commander accidents in the UK.

I would also like to point out that the "pump stick" is a Bensen invention, and used for many years. The Commanders, as well as most all other gyroplanes of the day, used the same concept. They were simple and work well. The only difference is instead of the stick movement being forward and aft, the movement was forward and aft, with only at a slight angle with some up and down. This also had the advantage of helping to separate a fixed-wing aircraft from a gyroplane, by providing a "collective" movement feel much like a helicopter. Personally, I can use either style of a stick, but if I did it again, I would use a stick design that only moved forward and aft, not due to flight characteristics but due to travel restrictions within the aircraft.

The diagram where he was showing the Center of Mass according to the thrust line is way off. In fact, almost everyone measures the thrust lines incorrectly even with a double-hang test. As you will find in all literature posted by Air Command when I owned the company, people were warned to only use the McCutchen rotor blades provided through Air Command so we knew you had the right set, and never use another brand. There was a reason why we said this. Think about it; I tried to make the Commander as light as possible, so why then would I use a rotor system as heavy as the McCutchen? It was to keep the thrust line within a tolerance of the Center of Mass of the airframe where it could be safely flown. Do your double hang test, but try leaving the rotors on and see what you get. The rotors are part of the mass of the aircraft, which will change the location of the Center of Mass.

The problem came in when other rotor blade manufacturers started indiscriminately selling their much lighter blades to unsuspecting Air Command owners, which would dramatically lower the Center of Mass on the aircraft, making a power pushover or PIO probable. There are consequences when the blade company is out to make a quick buck and the aircraft owner is out to save a buck. Take the wings off a Cessna 150 and put them on another brand of aircraft, and you would expect the flight characteristics to change.

I hope this helps some people to understand better.
 

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Hello. Actually I'm not sure why there might be any thought that my view of you is negative, because it isn't and in that film I don't think I expressed a negative view of you either. As I said in a different thread I actually think you were[are] as influential a character on the gyroplane as people like Cierva, Bensen or Ken Wallis and it is a great shame that the process of pilot training wasn't controlled or handled [choice your own word] better in period because I think had it been gyroplanes would have become much more popular than they are today.

Just quickly on some points. Re: the stick it was just a reflection from this document.

Glasgow Uni aero study

page 173:-

A final point relates to observations of differences in control stick geometry. The two- seat variant was fitted with a 'pump-action' stick; perhaps they should have been fitted with a more conventional control stick that displaced in a fore-and-aft sense, rather than vertically. The already good speed stability might therefore have been translated into a conventional, and therefore readily interpreted form, for the pilot. It seems odd that pilots trained on the two-seater with one stick geometry, but had to progress onto the single-seater with fundamentally dissimilar control geometry.

It was taken as read and given the source had no reason to doubt its validity, if there is issue with it then fine I'm neither wedded to the issue nor particularly feel that it distracts too much from the main point I think I made which was training was at the centre of the issue.

I actually think you [Denis Fetters] have been scapegoated [I'm talking UK because that was the main focus of the film] by many who at the time neither voiced concerns, cared or knew anymore about the aerodynamics of gyroplanes than me sitting in my office in 2021. What does seem obvious is the finger pointing to you very much distracts from the short comings elsewhere and conveniently so.
 

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Hello. Actually I'm not sure why there might be any thought that my view of you is negative, because it isn't and in that film I don't think I expressed a negative view of you either. As I said in a different thread I actually think you were[are] as influential a character on the gyroplane as people like Cierva, Bensen or Ken Wallis and it is a great shame that the process of pilot training wasn't controlled or handled [choice your own word] better in period because I think had it been gyroplanes would have become much more popular than they are today.

Just quickly on some points. Re: the stick it was just a reflection from this document.

Glasgow Uni aero study

page 173:-



It was taken as read and given the source had no reason to doubt its validity, if there is issue with it then fine I'm neither wedded to the issue nor particularly feel that it distracts too much from the main point I think I made which was training was at the centre of the issue.

I actually think you [Denis Fetters] have been scapegoated [I'm talking UK because that was the main focus of the film] by many who at the time neither voiced concerns, cared or knew anymore about the aerodynamics of gyroplanes than me sitting in my office in 2021. What does seem obvious is the finger pointing to you very much distracts from the short comings elsewhere and conveniently so.

Hello Phil,

Thank you for your response. I'm able to answer you now while we are both under sunlight at the same time. I'm in Abu Dhabi working now.

Thanks for explaining your position, and I don't take much offense being called a "character", being called much worse. I apologize for taking it wrongly.

I believe your video was very good, in fact. Thank you for taking the time to make it. Your kind words and understanding of that situation back then are greatly appreciated.
 

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I liked your in-depth video, Phil. Lots of good info.
Did that fellow in Massachusetts ever find flight training?
 

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Thanks for the kind remarks and genuinely it was made with some honestly done research and an honestly made view/opinion [and I know there are other views but I guess they can be heard in their own films of the same]. BTW - the view I expressed here on the 532 Air Command [and as it relates to G-BPFW] was that of the instructor of that very aircraft and pilot of many of the UK Air Commands in period. One mans gossip and fantasy another mans learning from the experience of others.

I don't know what the guy in Massachusetts did but I exchanged some emails - I think he was in the early stages.
 

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I loved flying my Air Command . I bought it used and it had a 532 on it. It was qell known for its peaky powerband.

I was having engine out after engine out....and no, I am not very knowledgeable on the correct ways to keep a two stroke running. After 8 engine outs, I do know how to make money, and i just wrote a check for a new 582 bluehead. END OF PROBLEM!
I flew it 175 trouble free hours after that...
and one trip was a 121 mile flight to Mentone. I had external fuel tanks, and I so remember packing my duffle bag of clothes into my pod, then slipped my long legs in and over the duffle bag....and off I went to Mentone. I had a built in GPS that was really cool for 2002.

I loved that machine, but got tired of being hounded by the CLT guys. Why dont you add the conversion kit? I would hear all the time. I was very aware of how a PPO could occur if I unloaded the rotors....but nothing but nice flying with it. I would buy another one.

Then I built an RAF2000...and flew that a few years....
 

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I loved flying my Air Command . I bought it used and it had a 532 on it. It was qell known for its peaky powerband.

I was having engine out after engine out....and no, I am not very knowledgeable on the correct ways to keep a two stroke running. After 8 engine outs, I do know how to make money, and i just wrote a check for a new 582 bluehead. END OF PROBLEM!
I flew it 175 trouble free hours after that...
and one trip was a 121 mile flight to Mentone. I had external fuel tanks, and I so remember packing my duffle bag of clothes into my pod, then slipped my long legs in and over the duffle bag....and off I went to Mentone. I had a built in GPS that was really cool for 2002.

I loved that machine, but got tired of being hounded by the CLT guys. Why dont you add the conversion kit? I would hear all the time. I was very aware of how a PPO could occur if I unloaded the rotors....but nothing but nice flying with it. I would buy another one.

Then I built an RAF2000...and flew that a few years....

The 582 was definitely an improvement on the older 532. But we could only use what Rotax had during the days.

It's really a shame about the CLT-scare that the CLT competitors were peddling at the time. Little did they know that in time they were cutting their own throats soon after. They severely limited the US market of people willing to fly such an ugly gyro as a CLT, and when those people ran out, everyone else was so afraid to fly a classic gyroplane that they stayed out of the market and had too much self-respect to fly a CLT erector set. This killed the US market and allowed the Europeans to overtake us. All for a fast buck.
 
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