Worth buying an RAF 2000GTX-SE for $3000-$4000?

GyroJon

Super Gyro
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Sep 19, 2011
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94
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America
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Have seen approx 12 pictures of it. Could be 25 years old for all I know. A year was not posted in Ad. One pic shows it stored outside uncovered. Possibly for years but I don't know. Just has the look of not being moved in a few years in that pic. Sent a message to seller but no reply yet. He posted specs for a brand new RAF 2000 Gyroplane so I don't know if they are correct for this RAF. Says 130 hp Subaru engine. Comes with unused new rotor blades. Has a Horizontal Stabilizer that looks 3ft long and 8-10 in wide. Not sure how effective that would be. Engine could be seized if it was stored uncovered outside. Can't post pics here or details where it is at. Don't want someone else snagging it! Seen lots of crash reports on the RAF and looked at many discussions of design problems with them. Also seen posts and articles about pilot inexperience or flying errors causing crashes.
*(I've never flow one or anything else and know I would need good training to fly this RAF)
 
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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
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This is not focused on the particular aircraft you are looking at or RAFs specifically, it applies to all old experimental, amateur built gyroplanes (EAB).

The aircraft was built by an amateur who was using the build for education and entainment.

It is not unusual to find that some things are done incorrectly and they well may be hidden.

Since the original builder there has usually been a series of people who knew even less than the original builder and have tried to keep her going often making inappropriate compromises with maintenance.

I have had clients proudly show me the annual condition inspections and I have often found that they are a total fantasy.

I was involved with one aircraft that had seven annual condition inspections signed off by the same airframe and power plant mechanic. A part of a condition inspection is inspecting the wheel bearings. Out of the eight wheel bearings; seven were bad.

There were two other things found on this particular RAF gyroplane that could have killed us.

Almost all RAFs will have timed out rotor blades (the time varies with the version of the blade) so you will be buying new rotor blades.

Most EAB gyroplanes that old will need every wire, hose and switch replaced.

In my opinion buying a cheap, old EAB gyroplane is a way to spend more money getting flying than buying a nice newer one.

Even buying a nice one carries a lot of risk.

A pre-buy inspection by a qualified individual is an important part of mitigating the risk.

If you do not have a pilot’s certificate you will likely spend north of seven thousand dollars getting rated in gyroplanes and becoming a safe pilot.

You may have a hard time finding a qualified RAF flight instructor near you so travel expenses add to the cost and challenge of training.

Some of the early RAFs were badly underpowered and putting a later engine in them is not a small task.

I feel a better way to lower the cost of flying is to buy a nice newer gyroplane with a friend or two.

I wish you all the best on your gyroplane adventure.
 

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GyroJon

Super Gyro
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
94
Location
America
Total Flight Time
0.00
This is not focused on the particular aircraft you are looking at or RAFs specifically, it applies to all old experimental, amateur built gyroplanes (EAB).

The aircraft was built by an amateur who was using the build for education and entainment.

It is not unusual to find that some things are done incorrectly and they well may be hidden.

Since the original builder there has usually been a series of people who knew even less than the original builder and have tried to keep her going often making inappropriate compromises with maintenance.

I have had clients proudly show me the annual condition inspections and I have often found that they are a total fantasy.

I was involved with one aircraft that had seven annual condition inspections signed off by the same airframe and power plant mechanic. A part of a condition inspection is inspecting the wheel bearings. Out of the eight wheel bearings; seven were bad.

There were two other things found on this particular RAF gyroplane that could have killed us.

Almost all RAFs will have timed out rotor blades (the time varies with the version of the blade) so you will be buying new rotor blades.

Most EAB gyroplanes that old will need every wire, hose and switch replaced.

In my opinion buying a cheap, old EAB gyroplane is a way to spend more money getting flying than buying a nice newer one.

Even buying a nice one carries a lot of risk.

A pre-buy inspection by a qualified individual is an important part of mitigating the risk.

If you do not have a pilot’s certificate you will likely spend north of seven thousand dollars getting rated in gyroplanes and becoming a safe pilot.

You may have a hard time finding a qualified RAF flight instructor near you so travel expenses add to the cost and challenge of training.

Some of the early RAFs were badly underpowered and putting a later engine in them is not a small task.

I feel a better way to lower the cost of flying is to buy a nice newer gyroplane with a friend or two.

I wish you all the best on your gyroplane adventure.
Thank you. Excellent advice and info. More things to consider than I thought. Safety should be top consideration. This RAF is likely a money pit to get it flying. Likely best thing for me would be to go for a ride in a few different ones and learn something! I could still buy this thing but just to play around with on the ground and no flying it.
 

j4flyer

Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2004
Messages
357
Location
Woodland, Ca
If you are tempted by the RAF, hire a knowledgeable RAF guy to help you inspect it. If Dwayne Hunn is still around (he was in Texas) He knows RAFs and travelled in the past to do this service. There are probably others but, your location might dictate who would be the closest.
The RAF had a history of bunt over accidents. Most of these were caused by the factory refusing to accept the fact that they needed, and still do, a large horizontal stabilizer. Putting a large stab on changes them from a tiger to a house cat. Disclaimer: I haven’t flown one with the little wing like trim feature invented by Dwayne. Having said that you still need to learn rotor management, ground handling and all things associated with fight. You will either kill yourself or severely damage your gyro and person if you don’t take lessons.
As for your question on purchasing to just do ground operations. Don’t do it. You need to learn how to do ground operations or you could total the gyro on the first blade spin up. Once you attach the blades the temptation is too great to do something beyond your experience.
I totally agree with Vance on the topic of inspecting a gyro. The only safe way to buy and fly the RAF would be to disassemble and inspect. You will need to change every hose and belt as well as (maybe, maybe not) the fuel pumps. All pivot points need disassembled, inspected and lubricated. Although most rotor head bearing seem to last forever, a new one is less than 100 bucks, cheap insurance. RAF had a rodend service bulletin. The original rodends proved to be to small. Jim Logan had one break while taking off with a student. Jim Mayfield found one ready to break during a preflight. Make sure it has the upgraded rodends.
The first RAFs came with the EA-82. It was the overhead cam version of the 81. It didn’t have enough power for the size of pilots today. (Although Dan H flew the heck out of his) The cabin was also smaller than the revised versions.
The one you’re describing sounds like the EJ-22 powered RAF. They perform very well and have the larger cabin. The carb’d engine was bulletproof. After the EJ-22 they used the EJ-25. (Someone correct me if I’m wrong) The 25 had issues with the fuel injection. I believe they got the problem solved. My buddy Gary returned his 25 to a carb for reliability.
I like RAFs with stabs. They are a good two place and well priced in today’s market. (The stab does give the gyro a lighter nose so new cheek plates will likely need made. The stab also gives some cabin hop) anyway, good luck in your quest.
 

lindandavid

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Jun 16, 2014
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Alto, NM
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Sparrowhawk
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Some years of the 2.5's had head gasket issues. I had one fail and the engine momentarily quit after sucking coolant into the intake. It did recover and I got it on the ground safely. There is a very good FelPro gasket to use and I also replaced the stretch type Subaru head bolts with aftermarket ARP head bolts. The head and block surfaces must be literally polished before reassembly. Also have a comment on the SDS and Stinger ECU. Having used both, I prefer the SDS for 2 reasons, first the SDS is easier to program, and secondly the SDS will continue to function at a much lower voltage if there is an alternator failure.
 

Rene Genest

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
65
Location
Quebec
Aircraft
Bensen and RAF 2000
Since three years now unable to recover my medical, I want to sell my RAF 2000. First in service in 1993, engine replaced in 1997. engine airtime 156 hours and cell 205. Since I purchased it in 2010, I replaced all circuitry according to the aviation needs as I am an electronic technician. I also put a brand new rotor from Vortech in 2013 and a new prop from Warp Drive. Since all of that, it being used for ground roll testing only. Everything works great. I always stopped the engine with the crank at the ''top'' position. At each season's end I also always filled the engine with nitrogen from the carburator to the exaust to prevent inside from any moisture or humidity. Samething for the engine's oil carter. The rotor blades always being rested on a support as you see on the picture. No damage history and always hangared. Never being left outside even for only one night. I'M asking $10000. I'm located in Quebec city, in Canada.
 

Rene Genest

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
65
Location
Quebec
Aircraft
Bensen and RAF 2000
Have seen approx 12 pictures of it. Could be 25 years old for all I know. A year was not posted in Ad. One pic shows it stored outside uncovered. Possibly for years but I don't know. Just has the look of not being moved in a few years in that pic. Sent a message to seller but no reply yet. He posted specs for a brand new RAF 2000 Gyroplane so I don't know if they are correct for this RAF. Says 130 hp Subaru engine. Comes with unused new rotor blades. Has a Horizontal Stabilizer that looks 3ft long and 8-10 in wide. Not sure how effective that would be. Engine could be seized if it was stored uncovered outside. Can't post pics here or details where it is at. Don't want someone else snagging it! Seen lots of crash reports on the RAF and looked at many discussions of design problems with them. Also seen posts and articles about pilot inexperience or flying errors causing crashes.
*(I've never flow one or anything else and know I would need good training to fly this RAF)
My own is for sale at $10000 USD and never slept one night outside. More infos http://servicecamerapro.com/RAF-2000.html
 
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