Vance's "BS-meter" ....and how to spot & dodge dubious deals/dealers!

GyrOZprey

Aussie in Kansas.
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
3,142
Location
Whitewater KS
Aircraft
Butterfly Aurora N5560Z / Titanium Explorer N456TE & N488TE/ - trained in MTOsport 446QT/488FB
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As always ...EXPERIENCE is a HARD teacher ...& some of us have been through the maelstrom & wringer ..when it comes to the darker-side of a FEW people involved in Aviation ....as in life-as-a-whole ...all Aviation groups have their share of seedy characters & outright crooks!
The latter DO get caught when their greed pushes them too far & trusting board/committees ..members WAKE-UP --- ( case-in-point our local EAA chapter in ICT KS ...is recovering from an energetic & seemingly wonderful president ...who STOLE a lot of money over the last few years ...he is in the legal prosecution process at present ...albeit ...Covid delayed - but he was caught red-handed in embezzlement of Chapter funds & property!). :(

It seems like Jim & I were crossing paths with SO many scammy-types on our search for a suitable ..."BIG-BOY" capable gyro.
When things did not add-up (& ... we almost pulled the trigger on one of those deadly UFO's) ...from Doc-B (then in KC area) ...but RESEARCH & learning from good folks HERE on the forum & listening to our spidey-senses ("THE BS-meter") ... held us back!

Then came OSHKOSH ...2010 ...when Jim followed Larry Neal up to OSHKOSH ...next he went to Mentone (against Larry's strong persuasion - and many here still recall the FUBAR of PRA$ mismanagement that LN did with the convention in Waxahachie TX) ..well before our time on the scene!
2010 ...the year that Jim Fields was plugging his "safest-ever" design gyros the HoneyBeeG2 range! ...we all know how THOSE turned out for the unfortunate money-man supporting the venture ...AND the poor CO kit buyer who actually got one after a long struggle & the company dissolution! My Jim came. back from OSH/Mentone ..full of enthusiasm & we looked hard at the HoneybeeG2 ....BUT MY BS-Meter was in full air-raid siren mode!

"OK so we dodged Scammer # 1 & scammer #2 .....and fell into the hands of LN!" ...Butterfly gyro's ...had been around some time & seemed well proven, he was CarterCopter's chief respected test-pilot ...he had lots of good men in the Nth TX gyro club community vouching for him!
It took a friend several years later who told us to read Martha Strout's book ..."the Sociopath next Door" ...before we understood how we & so many others were hoodwinked so completely by LN!
Now I DO NOT regret ALL of the GREAT times we had in the first 2 years...with Larry & our Butterfly gyro journey ... we learned SO much & his single-seat & ultralight models were GOOD machines ...at the time! My OZ-rora /Aurora is an awesome machine ...albeit now kinda heavy & crude in many parts when seen beside GyroTechnic's beauties! The Tiggy-B project was a lot of fun & we met amazing people made wonderful friends & had many good times !
...Sadly as the truth of Larry's shortcomings, incompetence & cover-up, denials ...then outright dangerous actions .(sending Jim & TiggyB home with a defective rotor to practice" balancing-on-the-mains"). became more evident as time went on and the project to get Jim a useable flying trainer stalled with issue after issue!
In retrospect I now grieve deeply and & am SO SAD for the toll it took on Jim's mental & physical health .... The ugly decision ( after 3 years of many 2nd -nth chances and hopes for a different outcome after learning-what-didn't work via experience, to hold Larry accountable for his broken signed contract, all the promises and then his hostility when challenged over ANYTHING ...his strange & increasingly "weird" behavior & his washing his hands of Jim & Tiggy-B ...) Jim had no option but to begin legal proceeding! (I knew it was futile ... but by then other skunked ...2 -place Butterfly owners had come to light & Jim was on a "Don Quixote" crusade to prevent others from being hoodwinked by Larry's sweet-talk ...inability to deliver!)

Jim DID get the satisfaction of a face-to-face deposition with the lawyers ...in late 2014 ...where Larry DID fess up to the issues that Jim wanted him to admit to ...in his dealings with Jim & the Tiggy-B project!
Just one week prior to a meeting with a Judge for mediation & settlement of Jim's lawsuit against Larry ....Larry Neal took his own life.
We then met Larry's daughter Lori a few weeks later trying to figure out what REALLY happened & the fate of the Butterfly LLC assets ( we were invested as DEALERS) & learned SO much more about the character of LN ..prior to becoming involved with gyroplanes! (It's NOT nice or "normal"!)

I KNOW there are still people around this forum who LOVED Larry & will be loyal friends ...to the end! (My airing of ..OUR REALITY of experiences with him will cause them pain!) WE HAD LEGAL PROOF & a wrapped-up case ..that was never able to come to fruition ...because he checked OUT!

...JUST as there are people here who think John did pretty serious stuff to screw up PRA ...I & others on the board .still have good friendship feelings towards John BUT in strict business mode we had to do hard things TO MOVE -ON ... WE ARE NOT throwing John, his efforts, or REPUTATION ...under the bus!
If other individuals ...like Teddy have axes -to grind with JR dealings ...PROVE REAL offenses ...but DO NOT slander ...without provable cause!

well ...that seems to be a provocative start to this thread ...more will come I'm sure !

keep this stuff OUT of the positive PRA thread - Thanks.
 
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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
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Oct 30, 2003
Messages
17,185
Location
Nipomo,California
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Givens Predator
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2400+ in rotorcraft
There was little in there about my BS meter and because I am in the title I feel a small explanation is in order.

I start out believing everything people tell me and sometimes small things cause me to recalibrate my BS meter.

“Send me the money for a product that doesn’t exist yet”: is one of them.

Divergent opinions about safety issues; is another.

Unreasonable promised delivery dates is another.

Negative comments about competitors is a cause for recalibration.

Unreasonable claims about specifications is a cause to mathematically recalibrate my BS meter.

Quantifying how much damage the relationship can do to my life is a cause to carefully calibrate the BS meter.

At some point the needle may be hard over and it is time for me to walk away.

I prefer to trust people; sometimes that is not practical.

I don’t reject the person, I simply shield myself from the damage.
 

GyrOZprey

Aussie in Kansas.
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
3,142
Location
Whitewater KS
Aircraft
Butterfly Aurora N5560Z / Titanium Explorer N456TE & N488TE/ - trained in MTOsport 446QT/488FB
Total Flight Time
936
Great explanation Vance .....Yes my Thread starter was designed to PROVOKE this kind of discussion on how to use what you dubbed as " BS -meter" ...and how you make it work to alert you to people's claims and promises ...that make no sense in reality!
 

Martin W.

Active Member
Joined
May 10, 2020
Messages
408
Location
Winnipeg
When I entered aviation I found it very refreshing to experience the honesty among pilots ... our lives depend on it.

Conversations and even verbal agreements can usually be trusted .... even when snags pop up they can be resolved.

I have only been skinned once ... an aircraft broker had imported several Cessna's and Pipers and contracted with me to change all the N-Numbers .... painstaking nit-picky work that required stripping all the old numbers , repaint the fuselage in those spots , then paint the new numbers .... sometimes there were also multi colored stripes that needed to be redone in those areas.

Aircraft were all faded a bit and I prided myself in blending new paint with old and you could never tell the difference .... took me a month to do them plus the costs of epoxy primers and all the various paints and colors I had to buy.

Typically I would be paid when he picked them up but he phoned and said he was out of the country and some ferry pilots would pick them up and later he would pay me. He never did ...... he had the whole thing planned out ... came to me because on his side of the border nobody would deal with the crook , this was before the internet .

Turns out he was only a broker , not even a pilot.
I still trust pilots.
 

Martin W.

Active Member
Joined
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Messages
408
Location
Winnipeg
Great explanation Vance .....Yes my Thread starter was designed to PROVOKE this kind of discussion on how to use what you dubbed as " BS -meter" ...and how you make it work to alert you to people's claims and promises ...that make no sense in reality!
That is so true .... in my case I met the broker in person when I first took on the job .... positive and enthusiastic and charming .... all the things you might expect from a good aircraft salesman . He even promised to pay me more than I quoted if I ran into difficulties.

If he was selling used cars in a back lot all my red flags would have gone up ... but my BS-METER was turned off because I thought he was a fellow pilot.

.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
17,185
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Gyroplane claims that cause me to calibrate my BS meter

Unrealistic takeoff distance

Unrealistic range

Unrealistic fuel consumption

Unrealistic cruse speed

Unrealistic top speed in level flight Vh

Unrealistic horsepower numbers

It is thoroughly tested

Revolutionary design

Unrealistic sales numbers

Uncommonly low price

Too many excuses

Free anything
 

Doug Riley

Platinum Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Messages
6,744
I'd add this advice:

Ask the promoter of an aircraft very pointedly about his/her engineering training. "School o' hard knocks," "I got a good feel for it," or "real men don't need 'em no stinkin' mathy-matics" are not sufficient answers.

Of course, a PhD engineer can still be a crook, but scamcraft are more often the product of eyeball engineering. Usually in these cases, there's much attention given to the "eye candy" aspects, and little or none to the dull number-crunching.
 

Mayfield

Gold Supporter
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
966
Location
Avondale, Arizona
Once, many years ago, I was with my employer at Sun n Fun. Chuck Beaty had just looked at our Gyro and was walking away. An “ultra light” gyro instructor who flew a very heavy, tandem Air Command walked up, accompanied by several sycophants, and asked if I could give him a CFI initial checkride.

I replied that I probably could. “Who gave you your commercial pilot ride?” I asked.

He responded, “I don't need no commercial, I'm ain't gonna to charge em!”

BS meter pegged hard over!

Or the guy that brags on a forum that he has “thousands” of hours in all kinds of weather, shooting approaches to minimums, flying his belchfire 3000 to Catalina Island, Mojave, Edwards test range, etc. You know the “there I was, flat on my back pulling 8 Gs” stories.

So out of curiosity you pull up FAA.GOV and check airmen certifications and find out he has an Airplane Single Engine Land certificate with no instrument rating or medical in many years.

BS meter pegged.

People are interesting and, for the most part, pretty darned wonderful to be around, but some make even my credulity fragile.

The really sad thing is that most of us do amazing things every day! We don't need to BS folks.


And “Stability is not an opinion” (Still no BS)
 

DavePA11

Active Member
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Messages
1,229
Location
USA
Outside of an issue with one pilot friend stealing money and everyone keeping it quiet so not to hurt feelings, I have found most of the pilots I meet are very honest and very diverse group of nice people. Maybe this is due to most of my pilot friends fly Cubs and Gyros.

I did however run into many pilots selling their airplanes which were way over priced, and many times the photo was way out of date not showing the real condition of the plane. Happened many times so if you ever buy an aircraft its always best to check it out in person, review all logs scanned electronically and ask for recent photos taken before spending money on commercial flights to check it out.

If the owner will not send recent photos or scanned copies of the log books don't waste your time. Either they don't really want to sell it or they are hiding something.
 

First pilot

Newbie
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May 27, 2017
Messages
85
Location
Windsor Canada
Great explanation Vance .....Yes my Thread starter was designed to PROVOKE this kind of discussion on how to use what you dubbed as " BS -meter" ...and how you make it work to alert you to people's claims and promises ...that make no sense in reality!
It is smart to pay for anything by a method where a signature is required to convert to cash and send it by registered mail. EG. Money order, Cashier's cheque, or certified cheque.
it is a criminal offense to use the mail to commit fraud, punishable by jail time and a heavy fine..
Tony.
 

Martin W.

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Messages
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Location
Winnipeg
Mosquito helicopter draw (few years ago)

I don't think this was a scam or a fraud but years ago there were tickets sold for a draw for a brand new Mosquito helicopter .... I bought three tickets (about $50 each) and a lot of people on this forum bought tickets also. Many $thousands$ poured in.

Then things went quiet .... it was the type of draw where tiles were sold (tiles were embedded in a picture) and at the end they would pick a random tile and announce the winner.

I think it was based out of New Zealand ... it was legitimate I am sure .... we waited patiently but likely they were not able to sell all the tiles .... anyone remember that or know what eventually happened ??
 

Martin W.

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Martin W.

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Martin.....I had one of those tiles....and its been so long ago it faded to the back of my mind.
That is what happened to me also .... I figured it would maybe take a year or two to sell them all so it wasn't something a person needed to check on a regular basis ... and like you said it faded from memory .

Going by their numbers $75 USD X 2000 tickets would total $150,000 ... prize value was $60,000 so even if only half the tickets were sold there were enough funds raised to cover the cost of the machine.

I bought my tickets around 2006 ..... I was able to look up nz corporate records and the company was dissolved around 2016.
 
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