Twinstarr Wanted

Brent Drake

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Yes they were done at Paducka Ky. But I was told that Woody has the rights and jiggs for it.
 

Rick Whittridge

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It is my understanding that Woody bought the rights to the Twinstarr design at the auction in KY. He should have the jigs & all drawing to produce the Machine. I was told that all the stuff went to the UK where Woody resides. Woody doesn`t know how many where built but with Brent being #21 that would be about it.I know that mine is #15. If you guys want to copy the machine you might want to think about contacting Woody before you get too involved.
 

Caribean_gyro

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0320

0320

Brent. I have an 0320 mod. as the mattituck red gold, angles in valve balance , blue printed, polish ports, etc. I was told that it did 180 on the dyno.

so buying the new lycoming kit engine from superior will be an excellent choice and cheaper.
:D
 

Caribean_gyro

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I have the engine pdf. but not the mount. I beleived aircraft spruce have it you just need to weld some minor tubes. Let me see if I have a pirck,

Now I have the manuals and I think tails drawings.
 

gyrowoody

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Location
Great Yarmouth
Twinstarr manufacturing status

Twinstarr manufacturing status

Dear all :

I have read with interest the thread on this forum.

I have just returned from abroad to do a very intensive conversion course onto a new type of helicopter (EFIS-equipped etc) that will be used offshore, hence the long silence.
I have this week also flown the Twinstarr across the Irish Sea (over 40 miles across open water-see upcoming article in the gyroplane press and magazines) to the Wallis Days, and at present am setting up our yearly gyroplane event, the Wallis Days. I believe this is a historic flight as nobody has ever crossed the Irish Sea in a fully-occupied two-seat gyroplane. This was done so that people would start to realise the true potential of this excellent design.

As I am at Wallis Days at present, it will take me several days to get back to you on this thread explaining a little more on the present status of the Twinstarr and its manufacture. There have been a number of inaccuracies quoted in this regard, and I will endeavour to correct them one by one in a future message on this thread, to give everyone interested the correct information.
Please bear with me until then. It may pay to do so. Good things come to those who wait.

In the meantime I would advise against any subsequent copying of the design etc by other parties than ourselves. This in conjunction with manufacturing rights infringements.

Till Thursday,

Sincerely,

Woody DE SAAR
 

EI-GYRO

21st Century Crankhandler
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Thom, Woody is unlikely to respond til after Wallis Days, i.e. Monday/Tuesday
next week. This is Ken Wallis 90th year. He's still flying.
 

gyrowoody

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Great Yarmouth
Twinstarr manufacturing status

Twinstarr manufacturing status

Dear fellow gyronauts :

As I promised in my last reply last week, I would come back to you with some more information on the Twinstarr gyroplane and its status. Let me first clear up some misconceptions/inaccuracies in this thread so far; previous quotes from this thread shown in boldface below.


If you have a Twinstarr, part of a Twinstarr or know of someone with a Twinstarr that might be willing to sell please contact me so that I may pass the information on to him.
Feel free to contact me directly any time on this email address :
[email protected]

or by phone :
** 44 1493 332 794 (A note to my overseas friends ; please take into account I am on Zulu time, and it isn’t really funny being woken up at 3 AM if I am on an early start that day or have been working a late shift previously and need all the sleep I can get).

Please note I work as an offshore pilot and the nature of that line of work is that I am sometimes uncontactable for some time. I will try to resolve most of your emailed questions as soon as I can though.



I was hoping to be a dealer for Woody but he is not interrested I guess. I can use mine and make a jig before I put it together. This would save on importing kits for the UK.
Not correct . I am interested to hear from any seriously interested parties who understand what this design is capable of. I am a pilot and am not interested in becoming lodged behind a desk as a businessman all day. I fly for a living and have a substantial experience in gyroplanes in particular. The business side of things is not my forte, on top of which I got bitten last year. Many may remember the thread started by Ken Padden about my dealings with him. I lost a good deal of money (including all of what I had saved to put it through the approval process ) through that deal. The thread was closed by the administrator for good reasons. You will therefore understand that I will not repeat that bad experience and that I will take serious measures to protect myself from anybody who likes to steal the design and manufacturing rights to this excellent (and frankly speaking: unequalled) design, or who thinks of acquiring it in a quick and dirty way. I will deal with people who know what they are talking about and who understand the value of safety of this subject and who will accept the terms and conditions as I lay them down to protect myself and the design. This has grown out of selfpreservation. I am sure if you are sincere you will understand and appreciate this/probably do the same. I don’t think these terms and conditions are unreasonable ones and I think it is only fair.
As for making a jig yourselves: please be aware that many tens of thousand manhours went into the design and manufacture of the machine and it may not pay you to do so, besides the legal complications. Frames and kits can be imported relatively inexpensively, and I have always strived to keep cost to the customer to a minimum. Those who know me personally well enough will testify and confirm this. There are enough USA (and other nations) citizens who know/remember me out there.


I hope Woody reads this maybe he will see it is a good deal to sell them again here in the USA where it started and not just keep in the his world.
I have read it and am happy that finally the light is coming on in the USA (and perhaps the rest of the world may follow) and that people are beginning to realise how good the Twinstarr-design really is. There is plenty of good reason why, but it takes experience to recognise this. Look at the present market in detail and you will see there is nothing like it out there.

jigs are in KY
Not true; all jigs, fixtures and subassembly jigs have been brought over to the UK for several years now.

One problem with Woody making them (other than possibly not providing them in the US) is that from what I have read he plans on NOT using the Lycoming engine. Everyone that has talked to me about my Twinstarr wants the 0-320 setup.
Incorrect : the airframekit for both the Twinstarr (Lycoming 0-320) and the Twinstarrlite is identical. Perhaps you need to read again the article which appeared in the PRA magazine some years ago (August 2003) under the title: ”Twinstarlite : A New Block on the Kit; More (f)or Less ?” Some of the wordplay was lost in the typesetting for the magazine I think, so I would be happy to email an original copy to all who are interested.

If we make the information public domain (free) I wonder what the legal ramifications would be?Doing that with a protected design could create more than a serious legal problem for yourself. I advise against it. It would also open the door for any less knowledgeable individual to all sorts of experimentation and destroy by some silly accidents the reputation the Twinstarr has carefully built up for many years. Surely that is not what one wants ? I have been with the design from the start and believe me; I know what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes we have the duty of protecting the individual customer against himself.

Interesting, Tim; I was thinking along those same lines! As I have my TwinStarr completely torn down right now, I was thinking about taking precise measurements of the entire rig, tube by tube, and reverse engineering it in a CAD program. Then I could build my own jigs, change some things that could be slightly improved, and then make another one ... my way.Here again: do not take this too lightly. More work went into it at the Farrington Aircraft Corporation with at least a staff of 5 employees in the years there than any single individual can do in about 15 years at least, and that is taking into account only the work and development done by Farrington. It does not take into account neither the manhours nor the money my brother and I have put into it to develop the Twinstarrlite. At, say only 3 US$ per hour, you can calculate how much you would have to invest time- and money-wise before you would come up with the goods (if you did everything right the first time, that is). A lot more research went on than you might imagine. Believe me, I have been there. Why try to re-invent the wheel? Modifying and adding personal touches is inherent in the experimental aircraft world, but that is where the gyroplanes got their bad reputation from as well. There are more features on the Twinstarr design that make it into the brilliant design that it is than you can make out when you just copy or even modify it without knowing the original design brief. This is not just any gyroplane; it is one of the VERY few that were DESIGNED by professionals (not us, but Don etc.) instead of just built, and it shows in the performance, safety, handling, construction.... basically everywhere. BUT only if you know what to look for. Don't underestimate the quality of the design, even if you think you can improve upon it.


I was under the impression that the Lyc had VERY differn't engine mounts and that the mast of the Twinstarr would have to be modified to accept a differn't engine weight since we don't use 'standard' style cheek plates.
Again, this was already taken into account during the design phase:
The Lycoming engine comes in two versions ; dynafocal mounts or parallel (semi-focal?)mounts. We have the engine mount welding jigs for both versions. One of our machines is dynafocal, the other one has the parallel engine mount. The engines are interchangeable on the airframe (unique design). Look at the pictures. Other engines can be used, but the engine mount is critical to the success or failure of it. Many factors are involved. Best to leave this to us and ask for advice first. We are open to suggestions, but like I said before: we will not compromise the design by randomly launching untested options left, right and centre if we have not tested them or have them tested to our satisfaction and approved them. E.g; Chuck Peterson came up with an extended instrument panel. It looks very well made, but we have to test it before we can recommend it. If it’s OK, you can order one directly from him after we have approved that option. We will not steal the idea nor the production right from him.
Any customer can contact us for such a mod to get it approved or improved, as the case may be.

It seems these companies come and go rather quickly
I don’t think you can accuse the Farrington Aircraft Company from being shortlived; for more than 25 years they held the strong position of being the only fulltime gyroplane training outfit in the world, a reputation well deserved. They were renowned for their quality of instruction and their vast know-how on gyroplanes. It was (not for nothing) called “The Gyroplane Center of the World” for good reasons.

(1) Underestimating the time required for even a good design to become popular. Running a company through the time from product introduction to significant sales volume can burn lots of capital.
If Don Farrington would still be alive he would be the first one to confirm this. Like I said before; The Twinstarr took tens of thousands of manhours to come to its present state, and that was even before the advent of the Twinstarrlite ! It was designed more than 13 years ago and is still more than holding its own in the market.


(2) Some of the most original designs come from dreamers, who aren't always the best businessmen.
How true ! And often the best designs do not get recognised until after the death of the designer and/or the demise of the company. It is no different with the Twinstarr. I flew and trained many students in it for years without any problems. It is the only machine that will give you that kind of reliability and low maintenance coupled to excellent performance and exemplary stability.
I am probably more of a dreamer than a businessman, but I have learned at my peril not to repeat the mistake of making myself vulnerable to crooks!! (Cannot afford it in the first place, after last year’s disaster)


mine is dynafocal 0320a normally are conical series e are dynafocal. The dynafocal has less vibration.We have both engine mounts available depending on your version of engine.


I think the Lycoming 0360 would be a better choice for hot weather flying.
There is no problem with hot weather flying ; Paducah had temps of well over 100 degrees F every day in summer. We still took off with students who weighed well over 320 Lbs!!!!! It may be useful to talk to other owners about “hot and high performance”. I have never heard any complaint about that. The 0-320 engine was chosen because it would still perform well in those temps, and it did! I can remember flying at hot Mentone days with passengers who other manufacturers could not carry because of their weight, and we still outperformed the other machines despite the fact that we were carrying a far heavier load than they were in the same atmospheric conditions. Saying 'more is better' becomes invalid where it concerns weight.

Woody doesn’t know how many where built but with Brent being #21 that would be about it.We have tried to compile a list of machines and their registration numbers as well as respective owners. We have located a number of them, but we would still like to hear from the following owners : Johnny Ray Lovingood, Hammond Richard Dwayne, and the present owners of the following previous owners ; Phil Horras, Tom Ballard (believed to be sold) and Harmon Mc Kenzie (believed to be sold), Marvin Smiley(unknown).
Of all Twinstarrs sold all but one are still in existence and none have ever had a fatal accident. Only one was destroyed while being flown by an unlicensed pilot, injuring pilot and passenger. In 13 years that is not a bad record, I guess.

Please give us an address. email or snale mail
See above for contact details.


And now for some exciting news :
1.On august 7 2006 an Irish registered Twinstarr (EI-DJX) flew across the Irish Sea en route to the British Wallis Days in a historic flight. See upcoming article in the press soon.

2.Present state of development of the Twinstarr is investigating the following:

-prerotator also for the rear seat, as well as instrumentation in the rear seat, probably digital.
-New construction method to build the tail surfaces. We are looking into using a “matched hole” method to simplify/speed up tail construction.
-We are trying to find more ways of reducing the noise output (and keeping or even improving the standard performance) by using different propellers etc.
-Possibilities of other engine options on the Twinstarr.
-Other engine options on the Twinstarrlite, given sufficient customer interest.
-Other rotorsystems to cut down on the stickshake. The most successful option so far is the Averso head and blades. Virtually stickshake-free (This is what we had on the Irish one flying across the Irish sea, by the way).
-Plans for a custombuilt trailer are to be developed and made available to customers.
-We are at present looking into what the best procedure would be to get it through for approval in most countries ; whether that be BCAR “T” or LSA approval or other. The FAA 51% rule was already met years ago.
-Enclosed version.
-Different, more modern looking shape for the pod without sacrificing aerodynamics or controllability (stability).
-further weight reduction (=increased payload) by using carbon fibre material for the pod.
-larger instrument panel (we will evaluate Chuck Peterson’s design which he then can manufacture as an option or even as the standard).
-Electric trim system in both roll and pitch axis.
-Creating a website with all relevant info and downloadable brochure.

Please take into account that these things take considerable time (not to mention money), and that none of these mods will be released until we have tested each and every one to our complete satisfaction, so be patient. Good things come to those who wait.
Production will be resumed as soon as we have at least 5 deposits of people willing to put their money where... With all the production tooling, including all the CAD files etc. at hand, we only need to know how big the real interest is before finding the necessary reliable investors for putting this professional machine for the enthusiast back on track.
For those who thought the Twinstarr design was dead, we do apologise for the disappointment.

Sincerely,
Woody
 

Brent Drake

Gyroplane Instructor
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Woody, thanks for the comments. I hope to see some more Twinstars soon.
There was some mix up on the ser# I have number 4, Ed has 5, I think Rick and Tim are 7 & 8
 

Rick Whittridge

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Ohio
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Bensen B8-M / Twinstarr
Woody, I bought my machine from Mckenzie & it is #TS97015.
So I beleive it is # 15
 

Caribean_gyro

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puerto rico
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Woody you mentioned prerotator from rear seat. I have this already. with the infinity joystick. Also look in to changing the stick from alum to chrome molley. more stiffer and reliable.

The full enclose Pod I have been looking in to it also since day one. I agree the machine is capable of many things.

I have done many improvements that I dont claim any rights for monetary purpose. I am willing to let you or any one else use it. For the instrument panel If there is interest I will have to verified the mold availability. This was an adiction I had and cost me big bucks to get a mold and several samples. that are avaliable at cost. The web site is a great IDEA since we can up load pics of the improvements and mods to be evaluate and share.

Perhaps been a maniac on vibration has push me to do several mods. I wil soon have pics of them to share..

thanks for staying in touch and let keep moving forward with the twinstarr fever
chuck Peterson
 

Brent Drake

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If there is that much interest in the Twinstar. Then, maybe Todd can add the Twinstar to the kit makers section and have its own heading
 

barnstorm2

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Woody thank you for the reply.

As I stated when I started this thread I have found MUCH interest in the Twinstarr. I am pretty sure if I had two more in my hangar I could have them sold before I got home from work today.

I am very glad to hear the Lycoming is able to be used with the kits you are making.

I am also interested to hear more about the custom trailer though I hope to never have to trailer my bird.

My Twinstarr was made by Tommy Ballard and is Number 14.

I am the owner and my name is Timothy O'Connor.

Serial Number TS97014

Number 1 is owned by Gary Goldsberry and I have flown it many times.

Number 4 is Brents'

Number 5 is Eds (accourding to Brent's post)

Number 10 is registered to HORRAS PHILLIP W

Number 15 is Rick's

The FAA shows 7 registered in the US.

Somewhere on this forum is a picture of a Twinstar in a Museum!

Big Questions:

When will kits be available?

How much for the kits?

Will there be a parts / price list?

When will your web page be up?
 

gyrowoody

Member
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Sep 2, 2005
Messages
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Great Yarmouth
Twinstarrs

Twinstarrs

Dear All :

Many thanks for your encourageing words. In order to compile the list completely, I would like every Twinstarr owner to email me their details , details of the machine (type of rotors, prerotator, engine, etc), as well as registration number, address and email address, previous owner, telephone contact number , and anything else. And oh yes, a picture, please, even if it is in the project stage.
We would like to put all the pictures on the website which will be made.(I hope soon!)
On looking at the list of current owners, I am proud to say that after all these years, ALL Twinstarrs are still there, but one that crashed in woods, piloted by a non-licensed pilot. It is testimony to the design that after this time all but one are still flying. How many other gyroplane designs are there like that ?
You should all realise that you are in possession of one of the very best machines ever made, and should keep good care of them. The machine deserves it, and so do you.

Where is this Twinstarr in a museum ? Anybody got the serial (or reg number) ? It needs to be rescued!

When will production resume ? See my previous posting; as soon as we have 5 deposits of customers.

How much will the kits cost ? I don't know yet, but we are using the original price list as a guide. Whether we will be able to manufacture it at the same prices of 13 years ago is probably not very realistic I fear, but we will endeavour to keep the price as low as possible.The reason we aim to keep the price as low as possible is that I do not agree to the policy of inflated pricing to artificially create a "sense of quality and superiority". If I see new designs on the market being sold at unjustified astronomical prices, I shake my head in disbelief. A good, quality design doesn't have to be necessarily expensive. The proof is there:The Twinstarr has always been known as extremely good value for money and I like to keep it that way.

Please pass on the word to everyone that the Twinstarr is far from dead. The guys who are really interested in buying one can put their deposit down.

Looking forward to receiving your individual details with pics.

I enclose also an article of a recent happening with the Irish registered twinstarr EI-DJX: (don't know if the forum will handle big replies like that)
Enjoy reading! I will be on an offshore base abroad next week. Till then.

Sincerely,

Woody

John Potter Memorial Flight
From Ireland to Wallis Days across the Irish Sea in a Twinstarr gyroplane​

On August 7, 2006 a Twinstarr registered EI-DJX flew from its homebase Kilrush (EIKH) in Ireland across the Irish Sea to Shipdham Airfield (EGSA) in East Anglia ( UK). Here is an account of this historic flight, which we have dedicated to our belated friend John Potter, one of gyroplane’s pioneers next to Don Farrington, Igor Bensen, Slim Soule, Johnny Miller (thankfully still alive at over 100 years of age) etc. We call it the Potter Memorial Flight.

It all began some time when the idea germinated to actually make a significant flight representative of the Twinstarr’s capabilities. To that effect we studied what flights would be feasible, given the intricacies of the British/Irish weather and its coastal effects in particular, Woody’s and Wim’s availabilities, the payload of the Twinstarr, legal requirements, proper equipment for overwater flying and a suitable occasion.

John Potter.
To whom this name does not ring a bell, I suggest doing an internet search. Suffice it to say he was one of the pioneers in the gyroplane world. He worked shoulder to shoulder with Slim Soule (the first man to execute a real “Jump take-off” in a Pitcairn autogyro), when working in the early days for the Umbaugh Company developing the U-18 gyroplane as it was called. When this company’s assets were sold at a public auction by court order (later won back in US High Court Appeal), Don Farrington bought whatever he could find in terms of equipment, jigs, fixtures, finished parts, castings, special tools etc and set up a gyroplane school/company developing and marketing the fully certified 18-A gyroplane as it was renamed now. While Don was still flying for PanAm, the daily running of the business was left to John Potter and (later) secretary Glenda Whitis. For more info on this, I refer to “Don Farrington’s Legacy” in the Hofstra University Gyroplane International Conference Paper.(1)
For years, Farrington Airpark was the one and only gyroplane training center in the world offering gyroplane (amongst other flying activities) training seven days a week, 364 days a year (they closed only on Christmas Day). John Potter was always there, flying from dusk to dawn and even beyond. He trained the majority of the first “key” instructors that were active in gyroplane instruction throughout the USA (and often even outside the USA borders ; Farrington's was an international outfit).
At one time we found out that over 90% of the active gyroplane instructors in the USA were trained at Farrington’s.
John had more gyroplane flying hours than anyone I recall ; he stopped counting at 20 000 Hrs, he used to say jokingly. He must hold the absolute record number of gyroplane jump take-offs performed by one man, given the 20-plus years of everyday instructing that finer delicate performance act only possible in the 18-A gyroplane at that time.
After Don’s untimely demise in 2000 John moved to Florida, untiringly still smitten by the concept of the free-spinning rotor, to set up a new company and design a new generation of gyroplane, based on the 18-A , but with updated and improved contemporary technology and modern materials. Unfortunately he could not complete that quest: At 21.47 hrs on July 28, 2006 at the age of 83, John Potter’s heart slowed and stopped at Harbor Chase Hospital after a spell of health problems. So died peacefully one of gyroplane’s greatest. Having worked closely with him as my mentor for several years out there, it seemed appropriate to dedicate this flight to him.

The occasion
The biggest annual UK gyroplane gathering known as “Wallis Days” (honouring a perhaps even greater gyroplane pioneer; Ken Wallis) was nearing: August 12/13. This year was Ken’s 90th birthday and something really special had to be done for this momentous occasion. Fergus Kavanagh (part-owner of the machine) and Woody practically simultaneously came up with the idea of flying the Twinstarr to the Wallis Days event. Woody had some days off and it seemed the stars were in line to attempt the crossing of the Irish Sea. This to my knowledge had only been done in a single seat gyroplane by Jim Montgomerie in 1987 (2), but never before in a two-seat gyroplane. This time it would be a two-seat machine: the Kilrush-based Twinstarr. Kilrush Airfield is a very nice little gem of an airfield in the Republic of Ireland from where a group of gyroplane owners/builders operate and train on occasion. Take a look at www.kilrushairfield.com/ . The long term weather forecast looked favourable a couple of days before Wallis Days, and at the first opportunity of a weather window, we would set off for the crossing.

Route
The best routeplan seemed to be : fly Kilrush to Tuskar Rock and across the Irish Sea on to Haverfordwest. From there over Gloucester to Turweston to refuel, then straight to Shipdham Airfield (EGSA). This seemed very feasible. Should we however encounter strong headwinds, this would require a recalculation and a possible alteration of plan.

Flights were booked by commercial airline from Norwich to Dublin on Sunday August 6. My brother Wim had just travelled by car from Belgium, requiring an overnight at the docks the evening before to catch the first available ferry to Dover. With a partially finished fuselage strapped to the roof of his tiny car he arrived after four hours of driving on British soil in Yarmouth. Our local driver took us to Norwich Airport where we arrived to find the terminal building absolutely crowded with travellers trying to check in. We managed to queue through the check-in and security check only just in time to get to our seats in the plane and strap in when the engines were promptly started and we taxied out. Less than an hour later we arrived at Dublin where Fergus Kavanagh was waiting for us. He kindly took us to Kilrush where Ken Reynolds was already in attendance. We had to do some last adjustments on the Twinstarr, load it up and get airborne on a test flight to verify all was ready for the trip prior to setting off for real at the first available opportunity. Given the massive payload of the machine, we were able to pack it prepared for any eventuality with two occupants and full camping gear for two: a tent, two sleeping bags, food, clothes, full fuel, lifejackets, immersion suits, emergency beacon and the Twinstarr still had payload to spare. Not many gyroplanes can take that kind of load, not legally nor (equally important) performance-wise! So fully-suited and equipped we boarded EI-DJX after a very thorough pre-flight inspection for the short test flight. Climbout proved to be no problem at all (as was to be expected : it is a Twinstarr after all), and all checked to be OK. After landing we put our trusty steed away for the night after another thorough postflight check. An obligatory VFR flight plan and Customs Declaration had been prepared beforehand, as well as the mandatory document for Special Branch, who required at least 12 hours notice. These were duly faxed to the relevant people. Together with Ken and Fergus we had a “fast” dinner on the verges of a scenic Irish river teeming with trout before Fergus took us back to spend the night at his home where we checked the weather forecast again and viewed some entertaining gyroplane in-flight video taken by a helmet camera of a friend of his (interesting stuff) before hitting the sack.

The flight

We got up after a refreshing night, had breakfast (courtesy of Mr & Mrs Kavanagh) and headed out to Kilrush where we found Ken again waiting there for us, as well as Derrick Doyle and a professional helicopter flight instructor known as “Helipaddy” who also happens to be a gyroplane enthusiast. They would follow us along in a Piper Cub on the first leg until the coast or so before heading back to Kilrush. Some of the pictures you see here are the result of their skilful flying that day.
We checked the weather and forecast winds, which showed a favourable tailwind component for the first part to Tuskar Rock. So far so good then! The flight plan was checked and confirmed by Shannon and all relevant authorities aware of our intentions. We filled the fuel tank to the brim going by the old philosophy that one of the three most useless things in aviation is the fuel left behind at the airport and by the assumption that refuelling points in the Irish Sea are rather scarce. With my luck they would be closed anyway. The airport manager was able to give us a duty-free fuel price (bonus!!) at the pump by use of a pre-printed form. They really are very switched on at Kilrush!!! A last check confirmed everything was securely fastened to the airframe, since anything coming loose in flight would go through the propeller with all kinds of nasty results, especially if this would happen over water. Some last minute adjustments, and the moment was there to don our immersion suits and lifejackets for an on-time departure as per the filed Flight Plan.
With a click of the starter the Lycoming engine burst into its steady idle and we let it warm up while taxying to the holding point of the active runway. After the usual checks (magnetos and carb heat were checked twice, just to make sure) some required additional items were checked and after a flash prayer the prerotator was engaged and we took off under the watchful eye of everyone present at this historic occasion. The route had been decided on as follows: to leave Kilrush and set course for Tuskar Rock, just of the southeast corner of Ireland. That would take us some 54 nautical Miles, of which 43 over land (which we thought prudent as well as useful if the engine would start to act funny or whatever other problem should show up), before venturing out over the cold waters of the Irish Sea. A suitable diversion (Waterford-EIWF) was nominated as well. From Tuskar Rock we would fly directly across the Irish Sea to South Wales, crossing the FIR boundary 4 nM SW of Slany reporting point, transferring from Shannon to London info. Our point of coasting-in would be St David’s Head, from where we would slightly alter course to Haverfordwest, only 14 nautical Miles further. Total distance of this leg was 106 nM, well within the reach of the Lycoming-powered Twinstarr, which can carry fuel for about three hours.

With a sharpish right turn-out we set course for Tuskar Rock, waved goodbye to our Irish friends on the ground and said our goodbyes over the radio before checking in with Shannon, who activated our Flight Plan and gave us the altimeter setting. We climbed to 2000ft and flew over the beautiful green Irish scenery passing Tullow, Buncloddy and Ferns. The groundspeed was not all that fantastic and those forecast tailwinds were not quite as real as forecast (everything as usual in aviation, then). If this continued I knew it would result in a headwind for the leg over water to Haverfordwest. Shortly thereafter we were indeed joined by Derrick and Helipaddy in the Piper Cub who were taking pictures to document those two intrepid gyronauts in their yellow machine. (See pictures courtesy of D. Doyle). My onboard photographer Wim was returning their shots with some electronic imaging. At about Blackwater they headed back for Kilrush as we were about to coast out. A quick calculation showed that we were still within the fuel requirements. Soon we were over the cold Irish Sea waters and Tuskar Rock came in view. Ahead lay nothing but grey-blue wrinkly sea, 2500 ft beneath us. It was a pleasant day, with good vis and a ceiling of about 3000 ft. Soon Shannon transferred us to London, but we were unable to contact them at first with our ETA for the boundary. A friendly fellow aviator kindly provided a relay for us and passed on the Wessex QNH.
I had hoped we could stay within gliding distance to vessels of some kind or another should the very unlikely happen, but there was not a single ship within range that day (we saw three alltogether). Wim and I went over the ditching drills again in detail, just in case. We turned at Tuskar Rock and quickly it became apparent by looking at the wind direction and waves (after years of offshore helicopter flying I have become used to “read” the wind direction and strength by looking at the wavepatterns) that our groundspeed was a lot lower than what the forecast winds would have allowed. Luckily I had taken this into account and knew we were well within the fuel range of Haverfordwest, despite the stronger headwind component. The mixture was leaned out properly as well, so all was in hand. It is a lonely feeling hanging there above the sea, relying only on the engine to keep on running. All t’s and p’s were in the green though, and the Averso rotors above kept on turning in their supersmooth way. Groundspeed dropped even further as time went by due to increasing headwinds. Still no reason for concern though as a visual check of the tanks confirmed the presence of sufficient “go-juice” for Haverfordwest.
The sea below reminded me of the film “Titanic”, and made me think of the book “The Lonely Sky and the Sea” about (a.o.) crossing the Tasman Sea in a Tiger Moth (albeit on floats) in the earlier days of aviation. No radio nor modern navigation equipment, just a compass and a sextant to take a sunshot (try that from an open cockpit in flight!).The pilots of those days really were some tough pioneers, I came to realise. I soon dispelled these thoughts to concentrate on the navigation part of things. I started a climb to 3000 ft since the ceiling had lifted sufficiently, primarily to increase my radio range and improve communication with London Information. My copilot behind me reported that everything was still strapped securely as it should be, and that he was feeling fine despite the rather nippy temperatures at this altitude. I gave London Info a revised ETA as St David’s Head came into view about 40 minutes later. The Welsh coast looked inviting and I found myself trying to increase the speed to get there quicker, and the Twinstarr continued at its steady pace without missing a beat. A comfortable feeling flying an expertly-designed excellent machine that does deliver the goods, I thought. We coasted in over St David’s Head and took a picture of the beautiful scenery at the sundrenched bay. Lovely place. Shortly thereafter London advised us to change frequency to Haverfordwest, who promptly came back on the radio. Did I detect a little surprise in their voice ? I was about to find out why. We called again 5 miles out and were given joining instructions. There was a northerly wind blowing 25 knots. Not a problem for a gyroplane, but it would require a recalculation of the rest of the route to Shipdham. We complied and soon were lined up on finals. After a textbook landing we congratulated each other on the historic flight across without a glitch and were directed to the visitor aircraft parking. The fuel truck arrived as soon as we had stopped the rotors. I had requested by radio to close my Flight Plan, to which I had received a very puzzling answer: “you better come and see us in the tower since we did neither receive your Flight Plan nor any notification”. Trouble ahead then. We refuelled and went up the tower. It turned out to be that for some reason or another, Shannon had not passed on our details to them. London Info seemed to have been aware though. A scary thought, since if we had ditched, I wondered when, or more likely IF, a Search and Rescue unit would have been advised at all????? I could produce from one of my pockets a copy of the Flight Plan however. The Customs Form and Special Branch notification was another matter, since I had not brought these copies with me. I insisted they checked with Special Branch, to no avail. Shortly thereafter a friendly policeman arrived, wanting to take my details. More useless delays, I thought. As he was taking notes, the police radio advised him that his office had managed to find the faxed documents after all. The previous night-crew had forgotten to pass on the details and had put them in some tray somewhere which could not be located immediately. After lots of calling around the documents were finally found. Situation resolved, we sent a text message to the boys in Ireland, and one to our local gyrofriend John Goldspink. Ken Reynolds sent us one back stating that he was coming over in a fixed wing to Haverfordwest. Good old Ken. John Goldspink showed up later after some other commitments he had to attend to.

Rescheduled remainder of the route
A weather check showed the forecast winds to be stronger than before (which we had already noticed) so we had to re-plan the route. Cliff, a local flight instructor and good friend of John, suggested a small detour via Swansea. This meant the planned route Carmarthen-Gloucester-Turweston-Shipdham would have to be changed into the longer Carmarthen-Swansea-Gloucester-Turweston-Shipdham. So it was decided, but the day was getting on and we had to get our skates (and suits) on if we were to arrive at Shipdham before sunset with this longer route. In the meantime Ken Reynolds had landed from Kilrush in a Morane and we had just enough time to say hello and goodbye. With the Twinstarr already refuelled we set out routing just South of Carmarthen to avoid the active danger areas D117/118 before turning South towards Swansea. The Carmarthen bay was in plain view. Strangely enough the smoke from the Port Talbot industrial area showed a favouring wind, whereas our groundspeed proved to be the opposite due to local effects and the terrain. From there we went on across the beautiful Welch hills, passing by windfarms and hilly picturesque scenery that would do postcards justice, via the BCN VOR to Gloucester, where we asked ATC to call Turweston Airfield for an extension, since we would be arriving after their published normal closing time. Not a problem I thought, since I had phoned the Turweston operator last Friday and had explained them the situation, on which they assured us we could ask for an extension of opening hours for fuel if needed. The answer from ATC was nothing like that however; the Turweston firecrew had a meeting that evening and fuel would NOT be available. More route changes then. ATC advised us that Oxford would still be open for fuel however. In the meantime the headwinds had increased even more despite the fact they were forecast to actually drop as the day went by! We landed at Oxford with a 13 knots crosswind, parked up in between a Citation jet and an arctic exploration aircraft. What bigger contrast to these extremes in aviation. We must have gotten some strange looks from the local flight school pilots. Refuelling was prompt and we set course immediately for Shipdham. Danger area D129 was not active apparently, which was surprising given the good weather, and neither was Bicester gliding site where some parasailing buggies were maneuvering about on the ground. There must have been a glider meeting going on though, judging by the amount of caravans, tents and glider trailers on the field. Avoiding the restricted R214 zone at Milton Keynes we watched a C-172 taking off from Cranfield as we cruised almost overhead.
From there we could clearly see the humongous airship hangars at Bedford, once home to the ill-fated R101 and other famous airships such as its far more successful sistership the R100, designed by our patron’s namesake Wallis (Barnes Wallis this time, who also designed the Wellington bomber which Ken Wallis (unrelated) flew during WW2. Barnes got the idea for geodesic construction from designing the successful R100 airship and used it later on the Wellington. Ken Wallis claimed that the geodesic construction of the Wellington actually saved his life when he flew into a balloon barrage at night on return from a bombing mission over Europe).(3)
The sun was now getting lower and we had still about 57 nautical Miles to go. Routing North of Ely we crossed the very long straight parallel lines of the Old and New Bedford river and squeezed in between the MATZ’s of Mildenhall and Marham, and missing the D208 Danger zone we set course for the last leg to Shipdham. Headwinds had picked up even more and must have been around 20 kts or more by now. The fuel was now beginning to approach the reserve stage but as we saw the familiar sight of Shipdham village we knew we would be able to make it without having to use our reserve. We landed long on runway 02 and taxied up to the hangar where we shut down the engine and rotors for the final time after having accomplished a significant feat that day.
It was a satisfied crew who watched the sunset that evening. We had accomplished a historic flight in honour of our belated friend and mentor John Potter. In less than 8 hours we had flown from Kilrush to Shipdham, covered almost 350 nautical miles and crossed the Irish Sea despite headwinds stronger than forecast for the majority of the route. We could have done it faster probably, but a speed record was not the goal.
The trip did prove however what a splendid and capable machine the Twinstarr-design really is. Carrying that load safely for that distance in all comfort is no mean feat (how many gyroplanes can you name that would carry two crew, camping gear and safety equipment, take full fuel and perform well all-in-one?) and the seacrossing makes it even more interesting.
The Twinstarrlite (4) would even better this performance, since its fuel consumption is a lot lower than the trusty Lycoming engine. The Wallis Days 2006 trophy for the longest flight was strangely enough presented to a crew which had flown in from the Oxford area, our last refuelling stop?

I would like to thank the following persons who have helped make this possible: first and foremost my brother Wim for his never ending support, Fergus Kavanagh and Ken Reynolds and the gang at Kilrush, John Goldspink, Cliff, and the late Don Farrington and John Potter. (Should I have forgotten anyone here, it is not intentional)

Notice/Warning/Caution: Readers should be aware Woody De Saar flies offshore helicopters in (or to put it better: over) the North Sea for a living and hence is used to flying in hostile environments such as over open seas, often at night. In addition offshore pilots have to perform helicopter ditching and dinghy drills on a regular basis in quite realistically simulated conditions: real water, flooded helicopter fuselage under water, turning upside down in the dark, waves, launching dinghies, winching by rescue helicopter etc.
I would NOT recommend to repeat this exercise to anyone without this essential proper overwater preparation/required skills/level of experience/expertise and insurance. This was/is by no means your typical Sunday cross-country navigation exercise flight.

References.

1. Don Farrington’s Legacy.
Hofstra University International Autogyro Conference :
From autogiro to Gyroplane: The Past, Present and Future of an Aviation Industry. April 25-26 2003.

2. Five Countries in a Day by Autogyro
by Jim Montgomerie.
July 3rd 1987

3. The Lives of Ken Wallis
Ian Hancock, 2001
ISBN 0-9541239-0-5

4. Twinstarrlite: A new Block on the Kit- More (f)or Less?
by Woody DE SAAR
Rotorcraft Vol 41 August 2003 pp 4-8
 

enewbold

COB Senior Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2005
Messages
823
Location
Columbus, OH
Aircraft
Varieze N42XP / GyroBee
Total Flight Time
1100
barnstorm2 said:
Number 5 is owned by Ed Newbold
That's true. The original builder was Terry Mock in Tallahassee, FL. The Feds haven't caught up with their backlog of registrations yet, but I definitely have #5. It's being rebuilt right now due to problems the original builder introduced to it.

Ed Newbold
5657 Balkan Place
Columbus, OH 43231
 

enewbold

COB Senior Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2005
Messages
823
Location
Columbus, OH
Aircraft
Varieze N42XP / GyroBee
Total Flight Time
1100
Good posting, Woody. Thanks for the story about the event. And, we all look forward to seeing more TwinStarrs in the air in the not-so-distant future. =Ed=
 
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