Why don’t they make safer gyroplanes?

Jean Claude

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The flex shaft prerotator on a Magni gyro, even though it can remain engaged during the takeoff run, certainly doesn't cut the takeoff run by 4.

-- Chris.
Yes Chris,
The continuous launch during rolling shortens the takeoff distance only if the torque of the launcher remains the same. This is due to the increased power of the launcher, since the rotor rpm is greater.
But assuming the same power (i.e same cost and weight), then the rotor rpm at the beginning is slower because the gear ratio is different, and the propeller thrust is reduced because of the ongoing launch.
Under these conditions I believe the distance will not shortened.
 
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birdy

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Thats why i refer to a PROPERLY setup spinner JC.
By this i mean, a spinner that brings the rrpm to @ 80% flight rpm.
Once this speed is reached, the disc is leveled, throttle opened and the now slipping clutch allows the engine to rev, while still aplying same torque to the rotor.
The TO roll is then only as far as it takes the machine to reach lift off speed with a flat disc at WOT.
Not very far.
 

Jean Claude

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Even if you launch to 100% in both methods Birdy, the shortening by the continuous launch will be little because the forward acceleration is still more reduced with the subtracted power to the propeller by the launcher.
Of course, I compare to simply stationary launch, in which the stick is pulled later that currently, like the Cierva C.30
 

birdy

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I get wot your sayn JC.
Wen i said earlier it is 400% shorter, i was compareng to an electric spinner.
Elec spinner-100/110rrpm- 140 paces min TO roll.
Mechanical spinner- @ 280rrpm-<30 paces TO roll.

I should have compared my method to the tub method i gess.
Still, keepn the spinner engauged will shorten the roll considerably while eliminating the risk of flap.
 

SIIaCanuck

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Not quite sure whether you are patronising women, gyro pilots or both? Or is it a self-deprecating remark regarding your ability to choose wives?

In the UK and Europe the vast majority of cars have manual transmission and astonishingly around 50% of drivers are female .....

People will earn what they need to learn in order to get the job done. If the only option is manual transmission then people ("even" women ....) will learn how to use it. The same goes with aircraft - people will learn what they believe is relevant to the operation of their machine. The challenge is persuading them that they need to understand this stuff - then they will learn it.
I lurk for months and then find a subject I believe important enough to comment on. This is one.

When you add the above to Eddie's 'that's all I needed to know about lift', you get to the nub of the problem with the lack of 'safer pilots'.

This is not aimed at Eddie, I've read enough of his threads to know that his attitude toward aviation is not represented by that glib remark.

A significant proportion of those 50% women driving manual transmission vehicles are a good deal more competent drivers in general than the 'auto only' crowd in North America. I know, I spent 21 years in the UK and re-settled back home in Canada some 3.5 years ago.

The problem is attitude and it's the explanation behind the Eurogyro accident rate. Simply put, automatic transmissions allow people who shouldn't be driving on to the public road, not 'shouldn't because they lack the talent/ability to be good drivers,' but 'shouldn't because they've never been forced to turn their latent talent into practiced skill.'

If you can pull out of the driveway and into traffic without engaging your brain, then a certain percentage of the driving public will do precisely that. The same is true of pilots.

My experience is in teaching military helicopter pilots, with sufficient exposure to pilots from three air forces, two armies and one navy. Of those six organisations, only three taught sufficient principles of flight and technical knowledge to a standard sufficient to permit the aviator in question to 'understand' the finer points of limited power take-offs and landings well enough to fly to the limit, safely, in any theatre of operation they got sent to.

I now fly and teach for one of the other organisations and it pisses me off constantly that I regularly have to teach front-line 'pilots' how to assess power available and determine if they can manage a VIGE (Vertical departure with only Inside Ground Effect power available), VOGE (Vertical outside ground effect departure), cushion creep, running take-off, etc, etc.

All techniques they should understand before they ever touch a helicopter and should have been taught to a reasonable standard in the first 50hrs of their flying careers.

Unencumbered with such knowledge, my current colleagues continue to bend airframes, scare themselves and provide less battlefield effect at an astonishing rate.

The command chain calls it 'the natural risks of military aviation'. I, a former RAF Flight Commander and Special Forces Air Assault mission lead call it something else, 'incompetence stemming from a unprofessional attitude toward aviation.' In this case, it's a corporate issue, not an individual one. Most of the guys/gals I fly with are very keen to learn as much as they can and become as good as they can be, they are simply let down by a training system and command chain more interested in statistics and proper formatting of staff work.

When I went though flying training, I thought the old crusty instructors who believed that S-55 was the best training aircraft in history were nuts. I learned to appreciate where the sentiment came from though. All other factors being equal, the S-55 trained pilot flying a Bell 412EP will get more performance out of it than the guy trained in the 412EP.

All the skills required to fly the S-55 can be taught on the 412EP but, crucially to this discussion, aren't! So, I spend a couple of days a week teaching supposedly 'high readiness' pilots basic flying skills. If, while on 'high readiness', they get pushed out the door to some high DA dustbowl with a bunch of AK wielding barbarians trying to kill them, a significant percentage of them will do the enemy's job for them by failing to get the job done, damaging their own aircraft and just plain killing themselves.

The most important thing a CFI can teach is a 'professional' attitude toward aviation. Some of the most 'professional' pilots I have worked with were amateur enthusiasts and some of the least 'professionals' were, in fact, 'Professionals (paid to fly)'.

If you don't care how your rotor works or how your gyroplane flies, do us all a favour and sell it to someone who does. Spend the money on a flight sim where real people don't die when you crash.

If you know someone else who fits that description, you could 'accidentally' bump into their Eurotandem with your SUV. Nobody will die and the repairs will help keep manufacturers in business building better machines with better pre-rotators, two position heads and all the other stuff that might be useful.
 
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SandL

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I lurk for months and then find a subject I believe important enough to comment on. This is one.

When you add the above to Eddie's 'that's all I needed to know about lift', you get to the nub of the problem with the lack of 'safer pilots'.

This is not aimed at Eddie, I've read enough of his threads to know that his attitude toward aviation is not represented by that glib remark.

A significant proportion of those 50% women driving manual transmission vehicles are a good deal more competent drivers in general than the 'auto only' crowd in North America. I know, I spent 21 years in the UK and re-settled back home in Canada some 3.5 years ago.

The problem is attitude and it's the explanation behind the Eurogyro accident rate. Simply put, automatic transmissions allow people who shouldn't be driving on to the public road, not 'shouldn't because they lack the talent/ability to be good drivers,' but 'shouldn't because they've never been forced to turn their latent talent into practiced skill.'

If you can pull out of the driveway and into traffic without engaging your brain, then a certain percentage of the driving public will do precisely that. The same is true of pilots.

My experience is in teaching military helicopter pilots, with sufficient exposure to pilots from three air forces, two armies and one navy. Of those six organisations, only three taught sufficient principles of flight and technical knowledge to a standard sufficient to permit the aviator in question to 'understand' the finer points of limited power take-offs and landings well enough to fly to the limit, safely, in any theatre of operation they got sent to.

I now fly and teach for one of the other organisations and it pisses me off constantly that I regularly have to teach front-line 'pilots' how to assess power available and determine if they can manage a VIGE (Vertical departure with only Inside Ground Effect power available), VOGE (Vertical outside ground effect departure), cushion creep, running take-off, etc, etc.

All techniques they should understand before they ever touch a helicopter and should have been taught to a reasonable standard in the first 50hrs of their flying careers.

Unencumbered with such knowledge, my current colleagues continue to bend airframes, scare themselves and provide less battlefield effect at an astonishing rate.

The command chain calls it 'the natural risks of military aviation'. I, a former RAF Flight Commander and Special Forces Air Assault mission lead call it something else, 'incompetence stemming from a unprofessional attitude toward aviation.' In this case, it's a corporate issue, not an individual one. Most of the guys/gals I fly with are very keen to learn as much as they can and become as good as they can be, they are simply let down by a training system and command chain more interested in statistics and proper formatting of staff work.

When I went though flying training, I thought the old crusty instructors who believed that S-55 was the best training aircraft in history were nuts. I learned to appreciate where the sentiment came from though. All other factors being equal, the S-55 trained pilot flying a Bell 412EP will get more performance out of it than the guy trained in the 412EP.

All the skills required to fly the S-55 can be taught on the 412EP but, crucially to this discussion, aren't! So, I spend a couple of days a week teaching supposedly 'high readiness' pilots basic flying skills. If, while on 'high readiness', they get pushed out the door to some high DA dustbowl with a bunch of AK wielding barbarians trying to kill them, a significant percentage of them will do the enemy's job for them by failing to get the job done, damaging their own aircraft and just plain killing themselves.

The most important thing a CFI can teach is a 'professional' attitude toward aviation. Some of the most 'professional' pilots I have worked with were amateur enthusiasts and some of the least 'professionals' were, in fact, 'Professionals (paid to fly)'.

If you don't care how your rotor works or how your gyroplane flies, do us all a favour and sell it to someone who does. Spend the money on a flight sim where real people don't die when you crash.

If you know someone else who fits that description, you could 'accidentally' bump into their Eurotandem with your SUV. Nobody will die and the repairs will help keep manufacturers in business building better machines with better pre-rotators, two position heads and all the other stuff that might be useful.
wow ! what a great post you nailed it through your real live experience ... plain facts that can not be argued against , i look forward to reading your future posts thanks
 
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C. Beaty

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The punch line of a grammar school playground joke went something like this:

“Me no know, me no tell, me push button and go like hell.”
 

NoWingsAttached

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Why dont' they make safer gyroplanes?
I feel a better question might have been why don’t they make safer pilots?
I don't know. Why not?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Or, one might ask, why do some of us try crazy $#!t?

Once I thought I'd give it a go at trying something no one ever tried before in a gyroplane: Taking off from a beach. Turned out my nose wheel equipment wasn't up to the task and need improvement. I learned something, but my choice to try something new caused an expensive accident. Could I have known ahead this was going to happen? I dont' see how, since no one else had ever tried it before, and although I had hundreds of hours flying numerous Air Commands with that same nose gear configuration, I'd never tried using it in compact sand and so was totally unaware of the danger of the thing doing what it did.

Another time when I was trying something new, landing in a rolling horizontal tube of wind, I also had a rollover. Lesson learned: next time, when the wind is unpredictable, do a go-around and land in a different spot on the runway with less turbulence.

A third accident was also trying something new: just plain flying. Thing was, I knew I had three gallons on board, but just didn't realize it was all unusable. with just 10 hours solo under my belt I was freaked out by the engine out and made a terrible choice where to land. Lessons learned: (1) Know your usable fuel load; (2) When the engine quits and you are at decent altitude, don't be afraid to turn around and go back to the best available LZ instead of choosing what appears from the air to be a great place to land straight ahead and then turns out to actually be very irregular terrain.

What makes a better gyroplane? Good controls and proper aerodynamic design, weight, balance, trim, and power.

What makes a better pilot? Experience(s).

Rare is the pilot with innate knee-jerk response and talent like a Ron Awad.

Nope, 99% of us have to learn by good examples, ground training and CFI lessons, and then lots of stick time with minimal time lapse between flights.

So should we stop trying new stuff? Well, it's certainly more dangerous than sticking with what we know, but then how would any of us ever get past flying dual time in 5-10kts winds, off a paved RW with no trees and flat, clear land all around? Did the Wright Bros ever decide to not try anything new?

With what we know today, collectively, there is enough knowledge that most of the gyroplane accidents should be avoidable.

No one will argue that good training and plenty of experience are the two most obvious factors leading to good piloting and decision making.

But I suggest that along with that a bit of pre-flight mental time is needed in order to tune in to one's inner peace and balance.

And when flying, if you lose touch with your inner balance, then it is definitely time to land safely and take 5.

Sound like a lot of hippie nonsense to you? I'm serious. I don't care if you are some gun-totin', cigar-chompin NRA redneck or a Zen Buddhist monk.

In each case of every one of my three accidents I later realized in retrospect that I had lost touch with my inner balance and had ignored it at the time, pushing unease aside in favor of the excitement of the moment.

This is one of the keys I found when learning how to win racing GT1 Porsches. Before a race, I meditated and found my calm. During a race, if I lost that calm I found that that was when I was on the edge of getting inot serious trouble. Anyone can drive a car to 90% of its potential and get around the track. The true race drivers are the ones who take it to 99%, most of the time. The winners are the ones who can go to what we call 9/10ths - which is to say 99 & 9/10ths %. That's not just a skill, it is an art and it takes terrific awareness and foresight. I tell you, I avoided some horrific crashes using "the force" and getting my car to go where I wanted it to in my mind, first, during trouble.

I have used this practice to fly and found it helps me to stay safe and make better choices. When I have forgotten and not first sought my calm before and during flying, I have experienced some bad results on occasion. Virtually each time I damaged my aircraft I can tell you I was not in tune with my inner peace.

Good mental preparation is a great way to stay in touch with your inner spirit - which is there to keep you safe in the first place. If you won't tune in and key yourself to listen, then you can't hear your inner voice and you won't know when it's telling you something is wrong.
 

thomasant

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Great post Stew!

Being from a military aviation background myself, I understand where you are coming from.

When more gyroplane pilots adopt a "professional" attitude towards flying, instead of an often cavalier one, we will have not only safer gyroplanes, but safer pilots.

Designing out some of the fundamental flaws in the machines have helped to a great extent. At least now there seems to be a better understanding of the physics involved; and the machines that are now being built are more forgiving.

Sadly, I do not believe that is the case with the older generation of ultralight gyroplanes of the Bensen era. The recent fatal in Arkansas in a Bensen is one more tragic example.
 

Resasi

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I think the biggest problem with starting the rotor by the numbers with EuroBensens is the failure of both student and instructor to understand the quickest way of rotor slowing is by pure edgewise flow past the rotor disc.

With the rotor disc at zero angle of attack, the increase of drag on the advancing far exceeds the drag decrease on the retreating side. With edgewise flow, the decrease of rotor speed is greater than it would be if standing still.

Once both student and instructor grasp that fact and fully understand the only thing that makes a rotor turn is flow through the disc, rotor startup without trauma is the norm.
This is a ‘nub’ of vital knowledge in rotor control that can be easily demonstrated and then understood by the student siting stationary, engine off, no prerotator, in the small single in some wind accelerating and decelerating the rotor rpm simply by playing with the disc pitch.

Sadly an exercise not taught enough, and very pertinent to Vance’s original thread conclusion, and of so may others here on the Forum, that it is the pilots that should be made safer.
 

Rick E

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In my opinion the most important factor in making a gyrocopter safe is the competency of the person strapped into the pilot seat.
 

C. Beaty

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Tail heavy FW airplanes are unstable with respect to angle of attack, pitching the wrong way in response to gusts, but non the less, can be flown by skilled pilots.

But why should anyone fly unstable FWs when the remedy is well known?

Same with gyros; Cierva solved the stability problems in the 1930s, but the knowledge has been slow in trickling down.
 

SIIaCanuck

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I don't know. Why not?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Or, one might ask, why do some of us try crazy $#!t?
I'm not against doing 'crazy $#!t', but I've tried to follow the advice of my first Sqn OC. 'Stick with the SOP! If you want or need to diverge from the SOP, plan it, brief your crew/formation, let them critically examine your plan and then, if you still want to do it, do it.'

I've broken most of the regulations in my career, one doesn't chalk up 80 wartime SF missions by being afraid to scratch something, but I've always known exactly what I was breaking, by how much and, most importantly, why.

I like your racing analogy. I track a bike and find a very close relationship between getting in a 'race bubble' and a 'mission bubble'.
 

SIIaCanuck

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Tail heavy FW airplanes are unstable with respect to angle of attack, pitching the wrong way in response to gusts, but non the less, can be flown by skilled pilots.

But why should anyone fly unstable FWs when the remedy is well known?

Same with gyros; Cierva solved the stability problems in the 1930s, but the knowledge has been slow in trickling down.
There is a part of the population that can't see the difference between brave and foolish. Too many gyro CFIs and 'old sweats' who have got into the 'that's how gyros fly' and invented all sorts of BS reasons to support their view, 'more agile/maneuverable/higher performance/etc'. The fact that they're wrong doesn't seem to bother them.

We have had many threads on this subject as you know.

That said, I'm not above taking on a good engineering challenge, as my signature block demonstrates.

Birdy probably recalls a discussion about 18 months ago where some forum members didn't understand the difference between agility, maneuverability, performance and instability.
 

eddie

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Mr. Beaty I really think the differences between a long fuselage tractor Gyro of the 30's

and the short coupled pushers of today can't be compared to each other,the only thing

in common is that they both have rotors and even those are different in construction.

They each have there own unique flying qualitys/faults,what works for one probably

won't work for the other.



Best regards,
 

birdy

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The problem is attitude and it's the explanation behind the Eurogyro accident rate.
Not many see it the way you do Canuck, unfortunatly.
If anyone took the time, theyd realise the only reason why you are still with us is coz of your attitude.
Thered be alot less incidents of pilot error if the pilots understood wot they were flyn, no matter the type of craft or their proficiancy.
Ingorant pilots will always say sumthn like ' i always fly within my/my machines limits'.
How could they, wen they know neither, and dont understand the consiquences of exeading either?
As any new chum, i didnt hava clue where my machines limits were.
But my job ment id be getn close to them wether intended or not.
A good understanding of why and how it worked ment i didnt have to blindly push till i found it, recognise the signes of getn close, and wot to do wen i got there.
Plus a little humility to help accept wen id had it rong.
 

scandtours

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Why don’t they make safer gyroplanes?

As long there is life there is creation. We will never reach perfection in this life. What is perfect today tomorrow can show it was a myth.
The Greek Philosopher Socrates expresses it very nicely. The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

So…… Till we find a horse we ride a donkey.

But I must say that there are gyro manufactures that build safer gyros, I can name at least one.
 

Doug Riley

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Eddie:

Re your Post #116; The biggest difference between long-tailed and short-tailed gyros is that the HS on a short-tailed gyro will give the craft a different mix of static stability and dynamic stability.

In gyro talk, for example, that means differences in how much PIO resistance vs. PPO resistance a tail of given size and leverage will provide.

Luckily for us, this does NOT mean that we have to put up with inadequate stability of either type. There's no such thing as "too much" stability in a direct-control rotorcraft.

Yes, we'll have to use an extra-big H-stab on our short-coupled pusher to get us to the same place as a smaller one would on a long-armed tractor. But we can get to that place.

The craft will be just as maneuverable -- because the control power that creates maneuverability comes entirely from tilting the rotor, not from tilting the fuselage. We are better off if the fuselage stays pointed into the relative wind. There's no such thing as a fuselage that "points too much into the relative wind," any more than a stud in your house can be "too plumb."

I'm been talking here about pitch stability. The principles are the same with yaw, except that our control power comes from the vertical surfaces, not from the rotor. So, with our extra-big vertical tail, the movable portion (rudder) must be proportionately larger in the tractor than in the pusher. But again, we can achieve the same stability and control in tractor or pusher if we use design our surfaces right. We don't have to put up with marginal (or non-existent!) yaw stability.

Roll stability again follows the same principles.

With pushers, it's important that the fuselage taper back over the engine to avoid blanketing the tail with "dirty" air. You can see this done in professionally designed pusher gyros, from the 1930's Buhl pusher (a Cierva-Pitcairn spinoff) through the McC J-2 and A&S 18A. I.e. there's nothing inherent in pushers that makes it impossible for them to be stable.
 
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