Ultralight Gyro Accident Video << Newbie would like an explanation of how it was "predictable"

curtisscholl

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Vance and any other CFIs

I am very curious about the comments I read about the indicated video. I do not remember the thread this came from, but saved the url to study and learn.

This was brought up in a thread about proper takeoff procedures. The ultralight (?) gyro is on what might be a test flight of a new craft. The pilot seems to be self training by balancing on the mains, then takes an unexpected turn to the right, the left wheel coming off the ground, then is compensated for, smooths out. Then the left main comes up again, and the gyro turns turtle.


I read the threads, but I would like to know how the "cues" lined up to make it a "predictable" accident waiting to happen. I notice the lack of velocity down the runway, and to me as a newbie (but private pilot SEL) it seemed as though this was a fast taxi test down the runway. It was not intended to be a full fledged flight, to my eyes that is.

The engine seems to be in a loafing throttle, not fully forward to the firewall.

The rudder seems to be already displaced to a left turn position, to maybe compensate for a crosswind from the left? And as the gyro gets "light on its feet" about to take to the air, it turns turtle.

Was this because the pilot did not keep the rotor tilted to the left to compensate rather than just use rudder? Like setting the ailerons to compensate a bit for a crosswind?

I have read where cross controlling can cause issues, was this an example of not using cross control thus allowing the wind to catch the rotor unexpectedly?

Any input appreciated, as I am trying to learn said "cues" and how to avoid them.
God Bless all!

Curtis Scholl
Saline, Michigan.
 

Vance

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Vance and any other CFIs

I am very curious about the comments I read about the indicated video. I do not remember the thread this came from, but saved the url to study and learn.

This was brought up in a thread about proper takeoff procedures. The ultralight (?) gyro is on what might be a test flight of a new craft. The pilot seems to be self training by balancing on the mains, then takes an unexpected turn to the right, the left wheel coming off the ground, then is compensated for, smooths out. Then the left main comes up again, and the gyro turns turtle.


I read the threads, but I would like to know how the "cues" lined up to make it a "predictable" accident waiting to happen. I notice the lack of velocity down the runway, and to me as a newbie (but private pilot SEL) it seemed as though this was a fast taxi test down the runway. It was not intended to be a full fledged flight, to my eyes that is.

The engine seems to be in a loafing throttle, not fully forward to the firewall.

The rudder seems to be already displaced to a left turn position, to maybe compensate for a crosswind from the left? And as the gyro gets "light on its feet" about to take to the air, it turns turtle.

Was this because the pilot did not keep the rotor tilted to the left to compensate rather than just use rudder? Like setting the ailerons to compensate a bit for a crosswind?

I have read where cross controlling can cause issues, was this an example of not using cross control thus allowing the wind to catch the rotor unexpectedly?

Any input appreciated, as I am trying to learn said "cues" and how to avoid them.
God Bless all!

Curtis Scholl
Saline, Michigan.
That is a good question Curtis.

I feel it is a good example of why self-training may not be cost effective.

There is a lot going on here and I will endeavor to keep in simple.

A gyroplane has a minimum power required speed and anything either faster or slower requires more power to maintain level flight.

Because of ground effect a gyroplane may lift off but not be able to maintain flight so it will settle back down to the ground.

In The Predator at 1,100 pounds with 160 horsepower the minimum power required speed appears to be around 46kts and the minimum airspeed to maintain level flight out of ground effect is around 17kts.

In other words I could lift off but not climb out at 17kts indicated air speed in The Predator.

Climb is achieved when you have excess power to maintain level flight.

It appears to me that the pilot was trying to take off without having enough power to maintain flight at that very low airspeed.

It appears to me that he was trying to lift off using back cyclic without having enough airspeed and power to climb out.

A cross wind from the left would require right rudder as the gyroplane wants to weathervane into the wind and left cyclic to maintain the centerline after lift off as the wind from the left tries to blow him to the right. It appears to me there was very little wind.

A gyroplane on the ground steers with the rudder and once in the air the rudder is used to manage yaw and your position over the runway is managed with the cyclic, in other words cross controlled.

After the gyroplane lifted off and it appears the pilot was trying to steer with the rudder instead of the cyclic leading to left yaw in relation to the direction of travel.

When the gyroplane touched back down misaligned nose left it begins a roll to the right and the rotor pulls it the rest of the way over because as the gyroplane leans it is putting in un-commanded cyclic input to roll further right.

This will all typically be covered at length in the briefing before you first takeoff and your understanding will grow quickly with experience.

I continue to learn from each takeoff.

To summarize in my opinion the pilot did not have enough airspeed or power to climb out of ground effect and a failure to stay aligned with the direction of travel after liftoff using the rudder made for a misaligned touchdown and tip over.
 
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Philbennett

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Yeah think Vance puts it well if take off was intended.

Whatever the intention there seems no real commitment to a plan. If it was wheel balancing there wasn’t much of it, so low hops? Didn’t really see much pilot activity, particularly throttle had he got uncomfortable with his situation. In fact he seems very wooden and happily it all went wrong a nought feet.

Part throttle take offs. If you read my nonsense I think it’s a bad idea. I’m not saying pin the throttle from brake release but certainly once airborne (unstuck) it needs to be there. Only then can you confirm your aircraft is performing as expected consistently if it isn’t needed later in the climb out (your judgement) then you choose to pull the throttle.
 
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DavePA11

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Takes skill to balance on mains without taking off within ground effect, and students do not have the skill yet. So many ultralight pilots crash there aircrafts doing crow hops this way. Much cheaper to get instruction if possible than to rebuild.
 

Jazzenjohn

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I wonder how much of what one sees in a video like this is a projection of what they want to see or what point they want to make? What I see is a gyro that is using an engine made for a backpack paraplane. I'd estimate it at 25-30 hp at most. It is less powerful than the Thor 250 which is the smallest engine capable of flying a gyro I'm aware of. I see an attempt to fly a gyro that can lift off in ground effect with no ability to climb with that pilot onboard. It may not have ever flown and , if it is on one of its first flights, might be completely untrimmed leading to a much reduced ability to control it and an undetermined neutral position for the controls. In short I see this as a prototype gyro crash that may have had a pilot capable of flying a gyro under normal circumstances but not sufficiently capable of piloting that particular gyro at that time.
This may well be my projection of it.
This is my go to video of someone attempting to self train and failing miserably. The lesson of the last 10 seconds of the video would have paid for more organized training at least 2 times over.
 

curtisscholl

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John:

I can see your point about power and the observer's possible bias. I wondered about the power package on that first video as well. Not enough power except to push down runway with spun up rotors. Ground effect in fixed wing gives a similar effect, it only goes up so far....then right back down.

Your included video shows me some wild cyclic strokes. My take is that the pilot did not expect the takeoff with any plan on what to do if it went south. Much less understanding "small inputs". I have a firm understanding that hovers take delicate changes and moving one's head incorrectly, as in shoulder movement, can affect the hover. My one experience in a gyro ride with a little stick time reinforced the "small changes" requirement. It did not take much to make a turn, and I really overcontrolled the aircraft.

Curtis
 

curtisscholl

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Vance:

Thank you for your in depth explanation. I will use this in conjunction with the video to get a better understanding of the video.
If Covid is over and the PRA convention is still on, then I need to find an instructor who will be there and take some time under that person's wing.
There is a dearth of CFIs here with aircraft on hand.

Curtis Scholl
 

curtisscholl

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Phil and Dave

Thanks for the input. It is all going into the notebook.

Curtis Scholl
 

PW_Plack

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That UL gyro in the first video also looks really short-coupled. Even with the requisite skill, rudder authority might be marginal.
 

Gyro_Kai

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That is a good question Curtis.

I feel it is a good example of why self-training may not be cost effective.
:)Very good assessment, Vance.

At first I thought, what can go wrong? He accelerated slowly, back-stick, rotor accelerating, front wheel lifted.
But then. --nothing--.
Normally with the right power applied, in this attitude, the gyroplane would just slowly lift off and fly. But it didn't happen. If he had too much back-stick and enough power, the front wheel would have lifted further.
But again --nothing--.

So I fully concur, that there just wasn't enough power to make it fly. You can rip it off the ground, but the push is not sufficient to keep it flying, so it comes down again. The rest is explained in detail above.

Kai.
 

Rotormouse

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I don’t see any intention to take off, just some early stage groundwork getting the feel of it and learning how to balance, which he did quite nicely at one point.

It looks like a typical pick-up when you get a little extra gust through the rotors and it lifts the machine off a foot or two. Normally just ride it out and it’ll settle back down by itself, which it did initially but on the skew. Power off and some left stick would have planted it safely. Shame.

Some horrible nose wheel shimmy didn’t help him either – I had that with mine in the early stages (until we fitted a damper). It can be very unsettling when everything is a new experience.
 

Resasi

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Just one, of many observations I have about the video John posted. It has been my experience that in flying single seat gyros, the stick is held lightly but firmly, and moved in small increments smoothly.

The gent who so unfortunately was demonstrating how just about everything that should not be done, was wielding a stick of such massive proportions/length, that it magnified every single one of his wild and frenzied gesticulations that looked more suited to the riding style of a show riding cowboy on a bucking Brahma Bull, and with the solution to his various problems gripped firmly in his left hand, and all he had to do was close the throttle.

While many early gyro pilots were self taught...and survived, it can be surmised that they carefully followed a well though out and described sequence of skills that were gradually built up over time.

I had a great friend who flew with me as a co-captain for a few years on an executive 727, he had been a Royal Naval Fleet Air Arm pilot on Sea Vixens and was a very capable and talented aviator. While doing time at RNAS Yeovilton on Vixens, he saw flying, was intrigued by, and purchased a Benson.

As a service trained fighter jock he felt fully capable of mastering this new flying machine. His first attempt at flying this exciting new acquisition resulted in a lift-off and subsequent brief loft into the wide blue yonder, that resulted in airborne blade sailing episode that ended rather violently into a ploughed farmer’s field with both he and his new machine in a state of sad disrepair.

The station commander considered putting him on a charge for damaging valuable government property...himself, but took pity, and simply wished him a speedy recovery, and instructions to lose the scrap metal. He joins my eldest son a present 757 Captain with an airline in thinking that I am completely nuts by continuing to be hooked by these wonderful machines.

I have had the pleasure and privilege of flying I think of probably over thirty different types or aircraft, of varying methods of flight, including a simulator of the Wright Flyer...which was very tricky to fly. Single seat gyros are incredible flying machines if made to conform to certain important principles, and some of them do and some don’t...and require instruction to master, which means some, less well designed, and the people who attempt to fly them without instruction, can have this combination kill them in a heartbeat.

Forget the monetary cost of getting instruction, and simply have a look at the value of your life.

Regarding the title of the thread, I think that the results of having a sixteen year old would-be-surgeon attempting to perform an appendectomy would probably have predictable results.

I hope your build goes well, and that you will have some happy and safe flying ahead of you Curtis.
 
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Kevin_Richey

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This Russian compactly fold-up gyro flew just fine, zooming along an airfield w/ lots of spectators watching. The engine looks to be about the same size or make of the one in the above video.

His landings need work. My suspicion is that he is an accomplished trike or airplane flyer who has transitioned over to this light-weight gyro project, from the amount of excessive airspeed of his landings.

It may also be that he had not much "float" to speak of in the rotorblades, due to their small diameter (20')...they look to be Dragon Wings. Their electric prerotator on this machine is most impressive! (As seen in the very beginning of the video). We had heard this gyro crashed awhile back, & no further news since then.


We had a thread on the forum about this machine:
 
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Jazzenjohn

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It isn't the same engine. If you look carefully the orange tail folding gyro that flies, it has a Polini Thor 250 water cooled engine of ~ 35 hp. Notice the radiator above the engine. The first gyro isn't water cooled and is smaller. Perhaps the Thor 200, but that is a guess.
 

Vance

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The engine in the crash video does not sound like it is wide open to me and the gyroplane is very different than the folding gyroplane.
 

jany77

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the engine in the first video based on the green muffler looks to be simonini mini evo rated 33hp
 
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curtisscholl

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Vance:

After watching the vid a few more times, the guy <to me> seemed to be a few inches above ground and lost the control with a gust, came to earth and tried again, and he did not have the experience to know to use cyclic rather than rudder on the second gust.

I took a while to digest all this information. I keyed in on this line:

"A cross wind from the left would require right rudder as the gyroplane wants to weathervane into the wind and left cyclic to maintain the centerline after lift off as the wind from the left tries to blow him to the right. It appears to me there was very little wind. "

I recall in my experience in an Magni M16 that <in the air> the craft crabbed all by itself as I tweaked the cyclic to follow a road. So it "weathervanes" as you state, into the crosswind. Thus the thrust of the prop at the crab angle kept me lined up with the road with the stick centered. Bearing vs Heading. But the point is made, it "weathervaned" into the wind.

So in order to maintain a straight line down the runway, the gust from the left would be compensated for by the right rudder input to keep the airframe straight down the runway (against weathervaning), and cyclic to the left to compensate for crosswind itself.

In a fixed wing this is a Slip..Bank left, rudder right? But not for a landing.

Thanks for bearing with me here.

Curtis Scholl
 

Vance

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I am impressed with how hard you are trying to understand this Curtis and I look forward to spending some time with you at the PRA convention at the Mentone airport.

We can watch what people are doing and imagine how to do it better.

I don’t have much time in a fixed wing so I don’t know what compensating for a cross wind is called in a fixed wing. In the Stearmans I have flown it would be left stick and right rudder.

From post two: “To summarize in my opinion the pilot did not have enough airspeed or power to climb out of ground effect and a failure to stay aligned with the direction of travel after liftoff using the rudder made for a misaligned touchdown and tip over.”

Written he lifted off slow and plopped back down when he reached the edge of ground effect because he didn’t have enough indicated air speed and power to fly out of ground effect.

In addition he was misaligned with his direction of travel because he didn’t use the rudder correctly.

In my opinion the situation was exacerbated by not being in the middle of the runway and wanting to be there without knowing how to get there.

I don’t know if gusts were involved, they would not be necessary for this to happen.

In the most basic terms he turned hard left and over she went to the right.

This is particular mistake is common for an untrained pilot who is “just trying to a feel for the blades without flying.” He wants to be slow and near the ground so “nothing bad can happen.”

The longer you are around gyroplanes the more times you will hear those words.

He was actually doing very well with his rotor control inputs and was simply unprepared for the gyroplane to lift off.

A gyroplane operates very differently on the ground compared to in the air. On the ground a gyroplane steers with the rudder, in the air a gyroplane steers with the cyclic and the rudder is uses to keep her aligned with the direction of travel in case she plops back down on the runway.

Please understand this is all conjecture, I was not there, I don't know his level of experience, the conditions or how the gyroplane flies. I can only guess based on conversations with people with similar accidents what he was thinking.

An actual conversation would probably work better than posts so I can get a better feel for your questions. You may always call me at (805) 680-9523 9:am to 9:pm Pacific daylight time or we will talk at Mentone.
 

ventana7

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This is particular mistake is common for an untrained pilot who is “just trying to a feel for the blades without flying.” He wants to be slow and near the ground so “nothing bad can happen.”

The longer you are around gyroplanes the more times you will hear those words.
Except for the incredibly rare mid air collision almost EVERYTHING bad that happens to aircraft involves being near the ground.
Rob
 
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