Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sun-N-Fun & 104 MPH Winds!

Ultralights do well in the wind!
When I was 12 years old, my family was in a tornado that I have never, ever forgotten. I will never forget the 2011 Sun-N-Fun event for the same reason. 

When our staff got the message that there was a Tornado Warning, they along with help from others were able to get the Pink Single Place and the Two-Place Tandem into a secure hangar. There wasn't room for the Ultralight and it had to weather the storm, whatever that meant. All that could be done was to point it into the wind and hope and pray for the best.  When tents, Porta Johns, tables, chairs, trailers and airplanes started flying, I thought that anything that we left out would be gone as soon as the storm was over.  Well, weather the storm is exactly what it did, without a scratch!  Who says that Ultralights don't do well in the wind?
 My New Friend Raul!

We are so fortunate that our staff is safe, the HoneyBee G2's are all fine and we will fly another day.  I want to say a special thanks to Raul Salazar and John Snider ( for their help in getting the gyros to the hangar.  Also a special thanks to our new friends at Safari Helicopters for allowing us to weather the storm in their new HUGE, beautiful and very heavy trailer.

It is great to bee amongst friends!

PS: Thanks for all the emails and phone calls of concern. We are all fine and getting ready to call it a day.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oh Baby.....

The full enclosure portion of the HoneyBee G2™ Project has now hit the "awesome stage"!  The blog responses show that you, our followers and fans, are really, really enjoying this part of the design.  In fact, since it has gone public,  the enclosure  has been the focus of virtually all emails. 
We have created a truly unique methodology that allows the HoneyBee G2 Platform, both Single & Two Place, to use the same "Nose and Rear" enclosure portions.  To outfit the Two Place machine, one adds the "Center-Gull Wing Door Section" in between the Nose & Rear portions.  This approach provides a uniform look, cost economies and a system approach to the overall enclosure. Additionally, this contributes to the interior finish, fit and function.    

We are working out cabin venting, additional storage, cooling ducts, final airflow, door and sealing schedules, lay-up specification, drag reduction, further fairings and a host of other details.  The goal is to create an enclosure system that is a great looking, world-class effort. 

Right now, AWI is in the "let's get lots of input stage" of the design.  So what have we missed? We want to hear from you. What do you like? What don't you like?  How much storage do you need? How much cross country flying would you do in yours? For those in the US, will you be flying into Class C & D Airspace? For those with an instrument rating, would you fly IFR if we offered an IFR Package? Do you want A/C? What color do you want your G2 to be?    If you had an aircraft, would you use it as your primary aircraft?   

Please write me and let me know what you are thinking. 

Have a great day!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ooooh la la!

Okay G2™ Fans....

There is so much going on here at AWI.  Of the 40 some updates that have been published on this blog to date, I believe that each has delivered the look, touch and feel that one  would expect from the HoneyBee G2™ Line of gyroplanes. 

One of the largest elements of the design (though not discussed much) has been the full enclosure for the Single & Two HoneyBee G2™  platforms.    My friend Tony Morrill, 3TD Creative/T3DCreative, has captured the exact look that our design Team has been dreaming of.  For that, the AWI Team is so grateful to have such a perfect partner. Rarely does a partner come along with a perfect vision of where a product line like the HoneyBee G2™ is going!  For that, we say a HUGE Thank you to Tony! 

There is much more to show you! 


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Flying Season Has Begun In Michigan!

With both University Of Michigan and Michigan State University on the sidelines for the rest of March Madness, there is absolutely no reason not to go out and go flying here in Michigan. After all it is almost the end of March.  

For those in the southern hemisphere, today probably was a great day to fly.  Not so great here in Michigan; Hastings specifically! The temperature was  around 34 - 36 degrees, it was raining at times, the winds were blowing 10 - 20 MPH and at the end, there were actually "ICE" pellets bouncing off from the instrument pod.  What a great way to begin the flying season!  The "World Famous" Hot-Neon-Pink Single Place-High Performance HoneyBee G2™ performed "beeautifully"!   

This frame stayed in the shop over the Winter months and got totally updated with a myriad of little things bringing the frame totally up to date with all the improvements.   A gyroplane that has a good feel and response, both on the ground and in the air is an art to create and a joy to fly.  I do believe that the G2has achieved that.  

When we get home from Florida, I am going to be putting up a number of videos showcasing these "40" some odd new improvements: some of this video will be shot in Florida. If you are coming, be sure to stop in to see all the new Standard Feature of the line. 

I know one thing for sure, when we fly in Florida, we are  really, really, really going to appreciate the warm flying weather!  The news tonight says we should get up to 1/4" of ice tonight!  

Leaving for Florida in four days!


Friday, March 18, 2011

New Panels!

As we get closer and closer to the Florida Shows, more and more new things are showing up on the HoneyBee G2™ Line! The Pink Single Place-High Performance has a totally new Pod and instrument layout. The Two Place Tandem has the same Pod but is arranged for the needs of the Suzuki/GEO 1.3L. Probably the most notable addition will be the all new instrumentation on the Ultralight! Compact, complete and cool!

We leave next Saturday morning! Hope to meet a lot of you there!

Have a great day! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Forum Questions

This evening my post is geared to respond to a couple of questions that have come up on the Rotary Forum.  Thank you Bill for sending me the information....

Here we go...

Morse-Teleflex Cables: We have totally gotten away from the Morse Teleflex cable design.  There was too much break away force. Even though they seemed like a good fit to our initial needs we have totally changed the design. We will be displaying the solution in Florida.

Shock Absorber Conversion: There are a number of ways to look at landing gear design.  Since I don't have the total context, I will answer the question two ways.

First, early on AWI did a lot of study for this sort of arrangement/option. We decided that in our initial offering of frames, we would use an "amount of travel" that would be consistent with Part 23/General Aviation norms.  The average aircraft in General Aviation delivers between 4 - 6" of travel.  Normal flight training procedures have proven that this amount of travel is sufficient for "Utility Category" landing gear requirements.  The current landing gear system on the HoneyBee G2 has proven to be rugged and reliable and seems to meet the GA norms.  As a point of reference, the Pink Single Place High Performance G2 has been intentionally dropped from 3' over the runaway with no damage to the gear or frame. It was our design goal that the gear design would protect the passengers in the worst of situations. Our Main Gear has an "engineered failure sequence". This means that the gear components are going to absorb severe loads and conditions in a sequence that offers the most protection to the passengers.  The Main Gear is designed to provide a sturdy landing gear that provides a comfortable, suspended ride but will in the event of a disaster, maintain its structural integrity in its "core structure" to protect the passengers. When the ancillary components of the Main Gear are failing, the central "core" is designed to stay intact to around 15 G's of concentrated gear loads. 

Second, if the question was related to long travel suspension, then one must first  consider  the effects of "negative coning forces" on the blades during a "vertical descent/landing" that ends with a "Highly Decelerated Impact". If "Rotor Blade Life" is reduced by 25% when used on grass fields, what do you suppose the consequence will be when "Highly Decelerated Impacts" are normal operations?  If grass field operations alone reduce blade life by 25%, what do you think will happen when  blades are subjected to long-term "Highly Decelerated Impact" landings?  These are considerations that those of us that design and fly  gyroplanes need to think about including the liabilities of such operations.

Conversions: I wrote a post awhile ago on "grand fathering" on how options for our frames work out with upgrade possiblities. Please see that post for more details on this.

Enclosure: Hope to have a rendering by the Florida shows!

Look us up if you make it to Florida!


Florida Bound!

HoneyBee G2™ parts are really flying together now!  This picture was taken by John (W) and shows Jimmy (O), John (H), Jeremy (L) and me (Jim F) working on aircraft for the Florida Shows; such a beautiful sight. We are making wonderful progress.

Today this same crew will be working on two Yellow Ultralights  and Pinky.  This now world famous Hot Pink Single Place-High Performance gyro should be done with all the updates by Friday and ready to fly again shortly thereafter. 

When these frames are done, we begin packaging a Yamaha Blue Microlight kit that ends up in South Carolina.  Last but not least, the Two-Place is now back in the shop for a couple of days to get some updated parts as well.  

Committed to building the safest Gyroplanes in the world

Florida bound!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Suzuki-GEO Update

Yesterday was a great day for the staff. We were able to get outside and fire up the Suzuki-GEO again after a long winter in the shop. The time running the engine convinces us that this is really a good engine; we believe that it is the right engine for our application. The engine is quiet, power is smooth and there is a huge amount of thrust; approximately 550#'s.  More on this later....

While we were running the engine we learned how to better route the coolant to the radiator and significantly improve cooling to the engine.  Fuel usage is running between 3 & 3.25 GPH....again we are thrilled!

We hope to be flying both the Pink Single-Place and the Tandem soon. We will do our best to get the video up for everyone to enjoy! 

Have a great day!


Friday, March 4, 2011


What's the best way to build a light Ultralight?  

You begin with the best materials and optimize their structural properties. You do this while exploiting their properties in most efficient manner possible.  When you get to this point, you need to eliminate the portions that add weight and do not contribute to strength. What you end up with looks magnificent! When you manage the ounces (sometimes the grams) the pounds take care of themselves! 

This picture is a closeup of the Lower Fuselage Section on the all new HoneyBee G2 Ultralight.  Jeremy, our Aeronautical Engineer has done a marvelous job in creating the lightest possible structure with this great new look. Those that have seen it at the plant have been so impressed! It is absolutely BEEautiful!  Great job Jeremy!

This is complimented further with the all new light weight, certified fasteners. These special components have further reduced the Ultralight's weight, made the building process easier and offer a really trick look. 

For those of you that love the HoneyBee G2 Ultralight, stay tuned! I will be putting up a whole new updated Ultralight Page on the Blog.  It is a BEEautiful Little Gyro!   

Looking for the ounces!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You Said Yellow Right?

There you have it.... Yes, more beautiful Yellow HoneyBee G2 frames.  So far we have made Pink, Yellow and soon a Yamaha Blue frame with Silver accent parts.  Ooooh is that one going to be beautiful. 

The Yellow frames you see on the T-Cart are actually being built today.  The assembly crew is here in full force and by the end of the will be a beautiful sight. 

As we build more and more of the HoneyBee G2 Frames, each with customer colors and combinations of power plants and options, I am sure that our color offering will expand.  We are adding Red, White, Bright Green, Olive Drab and an entire selection of colors to choose from. 

So what color will your Honey G2 be? I want to hear from you so I am putting up a survey later today.  The survey gives you the opportunity to tell AWI more about your G2™.  If the color you want is not listed, just send me an e-mail at Tell me what color you want, even if it is Hot Neon Pink!

Yellow for me!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The GyroJournal™

14 years ago, I began writing the GyroJournal™.  It was the story of what I was doing, what was going right and what I was struggling with in regard to the original HoneyBee.  I found it to be a wonderful way of "bringing along" those that loved the original HoneyBee Gyro (G1) on my journey. 

Unlike the earlier post called, "A Journey Worth Taking", the GyroJournal was more technical and factual in nature. I was trying to help others with their struggle of getting the CG right, how to plan a 100+ mile cross country flight, deal with blade angle settings, prop pitch settings, max static RPM's, thrust, fuel/oil issues and the list went on and on. 

My question to you is, "Are you interested in this kind of information"? It is a lot of work so I want to be sure that it is helpful to a large group of you before I begin.  If you think it will help you, please drop me a quick e-mail at  All I need is a..."write it Buckaroo"  in the subject of the e-mail and I will be off and GyroJournaling.

Don't forget to go flying!


Grand Fathering!

I love being a Grandma but that is not what this post is about. 

My post this morning is about updating the HoneyBee G2™ Pink Single Place frame. One of the overall design strategies used with the G2™ platform is  "Grand Fathering". This approach allows new or updated parts to be bolted onto the original G2™ frame. That allows the builder to continuous grow and improve their HoneyBee G2™. 

For the "Pink Frame" it is getting more fuel, complete new Rudder Pedal system and a host of new components. When it is done, this aircraft will look like a brand new HoneyBee G2™.  

On top of this, the frame is enclosure ready.  When the new enclosure comes out of the mold, the shells just bolt on.  It is our goal to keep this process for each and every new component that is offered; there is nothing like being Grand Fathered!

Have a great day!