Value of the traffic pattern!

Vance

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Quote from Doug Riley from the thread on Pre-rotate before entering runway​

“I try to inform FW pilots who might be using the runway at the same time as me about my operating needs. I bring it up at the morning pilots' briefings at flyins, for example. The "special needs" I announce include (1) the delay caused by prespinning, (2) my close-in patterns, and (3) very steep approaches.

(#3 has caused more trouble than anything else; I've had fast FW planes do their finals UNDER me and land in FRONT of me while I'm on short final in a gyro. They are watching the numbers and don't look ABOVE them for something descending steeply toward the same spot. I've developed the habit of frequently turning around and looking behind me, up the "10-mile final" glide slope when on final. Many fixed-wingers turn final in the next county over.”

Doug brings up a good point that was not really a part of the topic of this thread so I am going to take it to Training.

In my opinion flying a close in pattern has some specific value at non towered airports that sometimes can get lost over time.

Early on many of my clients will focus on the runway when turning base to final so they don’t overshoot the runway instead of looking closely at the approach path for aircraft on a big pattern or making a straight in.

As Doug writes the fixed wing pilots are focused on their aiming point and likely will not see a gyroplane descending into their approach path.

I encourage all gyroplane pilots to start searching the approach path as soon as they turn bass and take a last careful look before turning final.

I remind them that there is no requirement for someone to use a radio at a non towered airport so see and avoid is the primary tool.

It is my observation that often fixed wing pilots will report their final incorrectly and may in fact be much closer than they report.

Many fixed wing pilots imagine that gyroplanes are flying the same pattern at the same speed and when I report midfield, downwind they may imagine they have more time than they do.

If they are reporting by the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) I make certain I have them in sight and can extend my downwind if there is a conflict.

If there is a mid air collision likely all aboard both aircraft will receive fatal injuries so they too are motivated to see and avoid.

I feel this is important even at an airport with an operating control tower because air traffic controllers are not perfect and the consequencies of a mistake are dire.
 
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WaspAir

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I feel this is important even at an airport with an operating control tower because air traffic controllers are not perfect and the consequencies of a mistake are dire.
Even when ATC performs flawlessly, other pilots may misunderstand or misobey. ATC gives clearances and instructions, but they don't actually "control " any aircraft.

One of the closest near-miss near-midairs I ever had was with another pilot who thought a tower instruction was intended for him when it was not, and he cut incredibly close in front of me on a base to final turn (KPAO allows simultaneous left and right traffic for the same runway with head-on base leg paths, so one has to stay sharp). The controller was justifiably upset with him, but I, not the controller, would have paid for that misunderstanding. It was my last-moment avoidance maneuver that prevented a disaster, not tower instructions.
 

Doug Riley

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Vance, this brings up a point on which you and I have offered different viewpoints in the past. I think the difference derives from your use of a much bigger and busier home airport than the grass farm strips I usually use.

I close the throttle to idle while on base, and take my hand off the throttle handle. When teaching, I had my students do the same. The idea was for them to get very comfortable with the gyro's steep glide angle.

Many gyro pilots carry partial power all the way down their final, only closing it after touchdown. This, of course, makes their final much shallower. Also, on some gyros with small rudders and big cabins, the rudder is ineffective without strong propwash over it. this technique, however, leaves you vulnerable to landing short, off field, if the engine quits.

Depending on the situation, keeping power on and doing a shallower approach (possibly faster, too) might be be the best way to reduce the risk of being hit from behind on final. That safety advantage may outweigh the risk of landing short should the engine quit.
 

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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
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Thank you for your input Doug,

I feel we don’t have a divergence of opinion Doug; perhaps we have a divergence of teaching style.

Yes; a small non towered airport for me may have three to five aircraft in the pattern

My post is about see and avoid rather than the approach to land.

I feel that looking for traffic is just as important at an airport with five operations a week as one that has 400 operations a day.

I feel see and avoid as well as radio calls need to be taught until the procedure is a habit even though mid air collisions are rare because the consequences of failing at see and avoid are so dire.

When it comes to landings I teach power on landings first and progress to power off landings.

I start with power on landings because the timing and control inputs are more relaxed.

A power on landing in The Predator is at 1,600 engine rpm.

When moving toward a power off landing we reduce the power 200 engine rpm each time they have an elegant landing until we reach engine at idle.

Power off approach and accuracy landings is one of the practical test standards:

1. Exhibits knowledge of the elements related to performing a power-off approach and accuracy landing.

2. Selects a reference point in the landing area for touchdown and reduces power to a zero-thrust position.

3. Adjusts glide path to terminate approach and touch down beyond and within 300 feet of the reference point.
 
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