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  • Sharing or renting a gyro

    All,

    Just started my lessons (thanks Allan!) and looking at what Gyro to purchase, will be one of the newer factory gyros, tandem with option for enclosed cockpit and open windscreen which leaves only 3 contenders, the DLA J-Ro, ELA Eclipse and ArrowCopter, and I'm trying to sort through the pros/cons of each of these machines to make a decision.

    One thing that intrigues me about the Gyro community compared to GA is that people don't seem to consider either sharing a machine or having machines for rent. The typical gyro spends a lot of time on a trailer or in the hanger and it seems to me there would be an opportunity to do partial ownership, which is common in fixed wing and boating world. Especially as the newer factory machines cost north of $100K for the 2 seaters.

    Similarly having an option to rent a gyro could also be a cost effective alternative if the arrangements were setup correctly. Insurance costs as well as familiarity with flying a particular gyro

    Maybe related is an observation as new person to the sport that there are relatively few pilots based in Sydney and Melbourne for their population size and its the country guys who are most active and also make up the majority of the instructors. I assume because its harder to get to an uncontrolled aerodrome. So I assume there isn't a critical mass of pilots in Sydney and Melbourne to make sharing / renting viable, although Brisbane seems to be an exception as there is an active SEQ club and the hanger at Caboolture full.

    Are there other factors that I don't see that makes partial ownership or renting of gyros unworkable?

  • #2
    Hi Deandob,

    First of all congratulations on taking up flying gyro's, I promise you won't regret it.
    i will try and answer a few of your questions,

    There are a few places that will hire out their machines under certain conditions. The biggest problem with hiring gyros is insurance, as the gyro insurance pool is so small one or two substantial claims put the premium beyond most people's reach. Inflight insurance for an experienced pilot will now cost around $ 7000.00 per year with an excess around 7K as well, based on a 100K machine.
    Without insurance, hiring gyros would be fraught with disaster for any business.


    You will find as you speak with the general public that gyrocopters have a stigma about them that in my opinion is unwarranted and is slowly but surely being changed in part by the introduction of factory built machines. These factory built machines, which are typically basic Benson machines clad in colorful fiberglass are more suitable to city slickers such as myself that dont want or unable to build their own machines. In my opinion, as the popularity of the " new generation " machines increase there will be substantial growth in the gyro community particularly in the major centers such as Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle. Six years ago there was 2 gyros at my airfield just north of Sydney, now there are 13.

    I have seen a couple of people "share" a gyro with mixed results. I think the pros and cons of sharing are quite obvious.

    Best of Luck with your gyro journey.

    Comment


    • #3
      "Are there other factors that I don't see that makes partial ownership or renting of gyros unworkable?"

      Simply the the high incidence of accidents, primarily amongst low hour pilots, and the exorbitant cost of insurance. Good two seaters and improved training and instruction has helped the former but we will wear the past accident rate for a long time to come.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have had a couple of strange reactions when I mention to people that I'm learning to fly a gyro, especially from people who have some familiarity with the aviation industry, common perception is that they aren't safe. However when I first looked into what type of aircraft to settle on, a gyro made the most sense because it is inheritably safer, most fun to fly and simpler (reliable & lower cost) - but this doesn't seem to be the consensus of the general public.

        Re: Insurance costs, definitely expensive. I'm thinking to either self insure or just insure for the first year as I get my hours up - I assume most minor accidents happen due to inexperience. Part of my gyro selection criteria is a machine with a wide track and castering nosewheel (not tied to rudder) so that a somewhat misaligned landing won't tip the machine over which seems to be a common occurrence (Arrowcopter seems best in this regard).

        Comment


        • #5
          Deandob recently one of my elderly neighbors commented that I must be crazy to fly a gyrocopter. This same guy flys to Bali using cheap carriers.
          My response was to ask him if he knew the condition and maintenance history of the jet he was about to board and the mental capacity and flying experience in critical situations of pilot and co pilot? I do!
          We have had 2 recent incidents over here with Air Asia - one where the turbine threw a blade causing SEVERE vibration of the airframe. The crews response was to turn around and return to Perth above Exmouth Gulf still with cruise power to both engines because they could not identify the faulty engine. Oh and the captain suggested that everyone on board should pray. Exmouth has a perfectly serviceable international alternate runway but I suspect that economics from head office caused that decision.

          With regard to your castering nose wheel selection, don't try to use your machine on rough surfaces. I have witnessed on 2 separate occasions castering nose wheels hitting rocks and depressions on their departure runs which have catapulted their machines off course before the nosewheel has become light. I have not used a sealed runway in the last 2 years over here in W.A.

          Regards.........Chook.

          Comment


          • #6
            G'day Deandob, - a few comments on your post.
            (1) "I'm thinking to either self insure or just insure for the first year as I get my hours up - I assume most minor accidents happen due to inexperience."
            Too true, as well as a lot of major accidents. Also it may well take considerably more than the first year to get your hours past the high risk period unless you fly the ass of the thing. Besides, putting aside self insurance of $70,000+ for your first year of flying might be a big ask.

            (2) "Part of my gyro selection criteria is a machine with a wide track"
            It is usually mishandling of the joystick or the rudder that tips the machine over. A track wider than the norm will not stop the rotors pulling the machine over, and so too the wider track will only be a minor influence on directional stability (rudder) once the rotors are up to speed. It all comes back to the first point, it is inexperience and/or lack of good training that causes ground accidents, not the width of the track.

            (3) "and castering nosewheel (not tied to rudder) so that a somewhat misaligned landing won't tip the machine over which seems to be a common occurrence (Arrowcopter seems best in this regard)."
            This one is a debatable point for many. I personally believe that the nose wheel should not touch the ground until the gyro is at a standstill, or at least so close to it that it will have negligible effect when it touches down. When the "new" generation of factory machines first came out I used to shudder to see them touching down at flying speed with a consequent long ground run at high speed, steering only with your feet. My fears were soon realised when one gyro overran another at a championship, wrecking both machines. I have manufactured ~ 33 gyros and trained 35 pilots - all with linked nose wheel steering and never had a problem.

            I'd hate to dissuade you from your dreams and passion and hope you continue on with your pursuit of the freedom of gyro flight, because it is the second best thrill you can have.
            Just treat this as the ravings of an old "has been".

            Comment


            • RossM
              RossM commented
              Editing a comment
              Tim, as I said on the phone to you, I enjoy reading your post. They always pass on your knowledge from the many years you have been involved with Gyros.
              Ross

          • #7
            the best Christmas gift to hand out is to print out a gift voucher of the gyro and say they get a free ride with you. it cracks them up and it only cost you the price of the print. . of course I had dinged mine a couple times before hand so that didn't help. I wished I had discovered the forum way back on the original forum , learnt so much. listening form everyone. you should write it all down in a book tim.

            Comment


            • #8
              Great feedback, thanks guys.

              The gyro selection is a tough one as I don't have enough experience to really know the pros & cons (eg. castering versus rudder linked) so getting the type of feedback in this thread is helpful. Tim, good point about having the gyro at a slower speed on landing (no issues with stalling!) so that any problems with the front wheel (eg. hitting a rock) has less effect. And be smooth on the cyclic (as Allan keeps on reminding me during training....).

              Comment


              • #9
                We are all very lucky to have people like Tim, Allan, Ian and the list goes on and on.
                By listening to their advice in regard to purchasing a machine you can't go wrong.
                i personally fly a machine with a linked nose wheel and have never had a problem, but as Tim says it shouldn't be on the ground when travelling at speed anyway.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Alan is a good choice of instructor. Not only has he a mediocum of flying hours and experience but he is also a good swimmer. 😃 It's good to see he is teaching you the correct terminology. I incorrectly used the commonly used term "joystick" in my last post whereas in rotary wing "cyclic" is correct. Whenever I used the term joystick my dad would correct me with "control column" (rotary wing wasn't big in his day). Joystick is of course a different animal altogether.
                  Last edited by Tim; 1 week ago.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Gents it would seem that my point was missed. Its not the landing phase which is the problem with the castering nose wheel- its the departure or takeoff phase where you don't have the slow option to become airborne. Generally you need 40 - 60 kts to get these gyros off the ground which includes the nose wheel.

                    Regards..........Chook.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      "I have witnessed on 2 separate occasions castering nose wheels hitting rocks and depressions on their departure runs which have catapulted their machines off course before the nosewheel has become light."

                      Chook, your point about free castering nose wheels is valid and wasn't lost on me. I have witnessed at least 4 occasions that come to mind, one where the gyro (pilot) hit a sheep pad at about a 45° angle. Two others where the gyro ran off the strip in that never-never land where the nose wheel becomes very light but not enough forward speed for effective rudder control. Another related to the pilot loosing coordination between the reversed control between the rudder and nose wheel (very common on early gyros). One other was the pilot running off the side in a mild crosswind and hit a grader wind-row.
                      In my opinion none of these need have happened with linked rudder/nose wheel steering.
                      I also believe that the gyro should not be doing more than 6 to 8 kts until the nose wheel either lifts or becomes light. For this reason I do not subscribe to the idea of pre-rotating to 200 rrpm then balls to the wall. That has to plant significant weight on the nose wheel, (especially on a tandem) as well as inviting unnecessary prop rash. Acceleration should always be smooth and gentle.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by chook View Post
                        Gents it would seem that my point was missed. Its not the landing phase which is the problem with the castering nose wheel- its the departure or takeoff phase where you don't have the slow option to become airborne. Generally you need 40 - 60 kts to get these gyros off the ground which includes the nose wheel.

                        Regards..........Chook.
                        Point taken Chook, obviously there are variables that affect the takeoff roll before the nose wheel lifts.
                        I was training this morning with a 95kg student in the front seat and me (95kg) in the back seat and the nose wheel gets light at around 20 knots.
                        Your right though, in the takeoff phase there is no choice unless there is a strong headwind.
                        I know of at least one accident that was caused by a student pushing full left rudder when the nose wheel lifted only for the nose wheel to touch down, shoot off to the left and we all know what happens next.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Spent the day today at St George with Don Cramer looking at his DTA J-Ro (Thanks Don - lovely machine!) and we discussed the nosewheel pros / cons castering versus rudder linked. Don made a good point that a grass strip will be more forgiving for a
                          linked nosewheel
                          compared to a bitumen strip, as the grass strip will allow a misaligned wheel on landing to skid/slid until the gyro gets itself on the ground proper, while in a bitumen strip once the wheel bites into the bitumen if it is misaligned there is a much higher chance of rolling it. And a grass strip was better for beginners / new pilots to use because it is more forgiving (apart from hitting large stones / potholes...).

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Guys, more questions - still looking at options for my first gyro.

                            The new factory machines are so expensive for what they are (to quote RickE "basic Benson machines clad in colorful fiberglass"), especially when compared to light fixed wings. Sharing / renting is not practical as per previous posts, then the only other option is to buy a second hand factory machine. I suppose DIY is an option as well, although I love DIY and can see the attraction, a big negative for me is the safety aspect - one mistake in design or build could be fatal and its just not worth the risk. A factory machine at least has had proper R&D, competent assembly and has been proven in the field.

                            Back to second hand options for my first gyro, I have been scouring the ASRA magazines as well as the online aircraft marketplaces and there is very little available for near new factory machines up to 8 year old. So my question is has anyone considered importing a used gyro from the US or Europe? The range available is better and prices cheaper. I have imported cars previously but a while back in the early '90s so out of touch with how it all works now. I assume if the gyro can fit in a shipping container then have a shipping agent handle it, so costs are container costs (around $5K) + agent fees + GST. I assume there are no other duties to pay.

                            For those that have imported previously, do share your experiences.

                            Also, any links to the best online marketplaces or forums in US / Europe to go looking for a gyro?

                            I may end up with a new factory machine but wanted to check out all options before putting the moolah down. I'm also thinking if a new one is the best option then I might as well wait for one with the new 915IS (yes - more expensive but should be better resale when I get to sell it down the track).

                            Thanks.
                            Last edited by deandob; 4 days ago.

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