Monday, May 30, 2011

HoneyBee G2™, The Year In Review Video Is Up At YouTube

When I first started cutting and pasting video into the storyline this time, I really did not have a plan on where the video (Click Herewould go. I just felt like making a video of my favorite aircraft in the whole world, the HoneyBee G2.

One thing that made this one come together was the music. If you get the right song, it will carry the spirit of the video into an emotional crescendo and bingo, everything comes together just like magic.  That's what happened this time with Ms. Anna Craig singing The Secret. She absolutely did it for me this time.  Thank You Anna! 

The last year has been an incredible year. AWI has brought on-board Mr. Jeremy Lockwood, an Aeronautical Engineer (graduate of University of Michigan) four brand new gyroplane frames: The Ultralight, The Microlight, The Single-Place High Performance and last but not least The Two-Place Tandem.  It has been a busy year, one with struggles and successes to show for all the hard work that has gone into it.  The good news is that we are just getting started.  There is so much more coming that will compliment the HoneyBee G2™ Platform. 

Thanks for tracking with us.  As the Two-Place finishes its Phase I Flight Testing, let's make sure that we get you into the G2™ Tandem over the next year and go flying together!

Take care,


Monday, May 16, 2011

Chapter #3: Taking the download, The Gyrobee and Dr. Ralph Taggart

Like most of you, the Internet changed my life and the world in which we live in.  More than likely, this has happened around the world for everyone that uses the internet. Our generation gains information and connects with the people and things that are of value to us in totally different ways than any other prior generation in the history of the world.  

My beginning with this global reconnection began in 1997 with the receipt of yet another "AOL" (America On-Line) disk that came in the mail. I don't know how many I actually received and did nothing with. AOL was  very good at getting these disks into the hands of consumers and I eventually succumb to putting the one (an AOL disk) into my laptop computer. Once it was in and it performed the install routine, it opened up a whole new world in a matter of minutes. Soon I was trying to understand what words like "browser" and "search engine" meant.  Who could fathom what a "URL" (uniform resource locator) was at that time let alone all of the new file types like HTM or HTML.  Struggling to get my little mind around it was fun and exciting and I knew I wanted to get to a "search engine" (which was captive inside of AOL) and type in words like "homebuilt aircraft".  I eventually discovered that the PRA had a website and once I discovered I was convinced that this was the real reason the Internet! While at the PRA site, I spotted the little animated icon that said something like..."Free Ultralight Gyro Plans".  The rest is history..... 

Back then I think that most of the civilian population was on dial-up. I lived in Grand Rapids at this time and that was the best that we could get at that time.  My experience grew quickly and I discovered one could actually "download" things and yet a whole new world opened yet again! I like perhaps thousands of people from all over the world clicked on the that animated icon and began their journey to build this little gyroplane, the Gyrobee! Once I started there was no turning back.  Soon I was printing page after page of PDF's onto my dot matrix printer thinking that it was going to die before the construction manual was finally done.  In fact the PDF file was so big that the printer would  crash if I tried to print the entire package at once. I finally figured out that I had to print it 20 pages at a time and eventually it was all printed, punched and placed into a three ring binder; now I was ready for some serious study.

At that time in my life, I was a Sales Rep for Rubbermaid®.  My territory began with all of West Michigan, from the Indiana State line all the way to and including the Upper Pennisula of Michigan.  As business does, things change and so did my territory. It grew to include all of Michigan minus Detroit and the "thumb" of Michigan. And then it changed to include Northern Indiana and then it also included supporting the Spring Shows for Gordon Food Service South as far as Columbus, Ohio.  All of a sudden I was so upside down on the mileage of my leased car that buying it was the only way out of "lease car suicide" that I was in.  What began as a 12,000 miles a year lease soon was out of control at 33 - 35,000 miles a year and lots of hotels and travel.  

It was at this time when I was given AutoCad LT o use on my laptop!; I thought I died and went to heaven.  Prior to AutoCad LT I had "Design CAD" and it really did not meet my new product designing needs at the time. AutoCad LT (ACL) allowed me to easily submit product changes to engineering and allowed me to export files to CAM (Computer Aided Machining) for the first time in simple DWG or DXF file types.  ACL would allow me to build my Gyrobee with the kind of quality, using CAM, that would make a show aircraft. I wanted a quality aircraft and now I had the tools to get there. 

Traveling like I did took on a whole different meaning.  Not that that I wanted to be on the road as much as I was, but now I could stay in the hotel and do CAD at night versus go work out to pass the time, watch television all night or entertain customers, etc, etc.  Besides staying in the hotel and working on a new gyroplane did not seem like work and it made the evenings fly by.  Some evenings I still had to go out for dinner with customers but when I got done and back to my room, on came the laptop and up came ACL!

After organizing the plans for the Gyrobee, I noticed that there were little things that could be done to it to "pretty it up" and sort of make it my version of a great little gyroplane.  It was about this time that I noticed that Dr. Taggart's email address had an "edu" at the end of it. I also noticed that he was in someway connected to Michigan State, the best University in Michigan; MSU was also one of my customers!  Because prospecting in the sales business is a way of life, I decided to call the switchboard and ask for Dr. Taggart. I did not know that Dr. Taggart was in fact a professor; I did know that somehow I needed to connect with him because I had this idea.....putting the Gyrobee into production as a kit! What a great idea!

The day that I called MSU, Dr. Taggart was in class so I left a message. Later in the day, he returned my call and I was so geeked! He was open to getting together and talking about gyroplanes! I absolutely could not believe that a "Professor from the best University in Michigan" would like gyros, return a call to me and be open to getting together just to talk about this cool little gyro!  Better yet, he lived just an hour and twenty minutes from my home in Grand Rapids.  His home town was also in my sales territory.  What could be better than that?

We set up a date to get together, I brought donuts as a way of softening him up and we sat at his kitchen table and talked and talked and talked about ultralights and gyros, specifically the Gyrobee. When I got to the details of talking about how we could go into production with a simple kit, he asked...."why do you want to kit the Gyrobee when you can kit the next generation Gyrobee"?  I am sure that I looked at him kind of funny at that moment.  I really did not know nor was I prepared to think about some other gyro at that moment. I had already fallen in love with the Gyrobee. We started talking about small changes that needed to be made to the Gyrobee and after awhile, we were on the same page (napkin actually) with some ideas. I left feeling excited and sort of frustrated but none the less knowing that I was going to build an ultralight gyro. I am not sure but I think that Ralph suggested the name HoneyBee Gyro. (I will at least give Ralph the credit  because at my current age, I just don't remember)... 

Soon my ACL equipped laptop was humming and three views were popping out as fast as I could click.  Some of the areas of change were the tail surfaces, the nose gear, the main gear and later on the engine mount that needed change to accommodate the larger diameter props we would use. The overall layout of the next generation Gyrobee would be generally the same with the exception of these changes.  The effort would later on design its our control stick and rotor head, use RotorHawk Blades initially and ultimately lauch into production with its first five customers. 

I owe so much to Ralph for getting me in a practical sense,  started on becoming a gyroplane pilot.  I will never forget the lessons learned on a napkin from a kind gracious man like my friend, Ralph.  Find a friend that flies gyros and you have a friend for life. I consider Ralph one of those people in my life.  He and I are both getting older; the last time he and I talked, I committed to picking him up in Mason, MI and taking him for a ride.  A ride that both of us have waited for over such a long time..... Find a friend that loves gyros today...if you do you will have a friend for life!

Keep dreaming,


New Enclosure Overview Video

Good Morning! 

Ever since I first posted the enclosure pictures I have received a constant stream of kind words, support and interest in the project.  This part of the line seems to have expanded your vision of what you want your HoneyBee G2 to be and look like.  The upside to all of your interest is that I have needed to do a better job of getting information out to you.  Some have wanted Single Place pictures. Others want the Two Place Pictures. Yet others want more details for the Nose Cone/Windscreen/Upper Cover area. 

As a way of satisfying the need for more information, I decided this weekend to make a YouTube Video with virtually all of the pictures I have on file. When I get more, I will be sure to update the video.  Here is the link:  G2 Enclosure Video

Enjoy & please keep your suggestions on how to make it even better coming!

Have a great day!


Two Place Tandem Video Is Ready!

Good Morning! 

Just a quick post this morning to let you know that the HoneyBee G2 Two Place Tandem Video has been uploaded to YouTube! 


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Two-Place Tandem Update (5-15-11)

Happy Sunday Morning! It is raining in Hastings, Michigan, USA and it is not a day for flying. The ceilings are low, my Google Gadget for weather says it is 44 degrees and it is raining (for the last 24 hours) in fact... getting the rest of our April showers in May I suppose.  

This morning I want to communicate some of the performance data learned over the last couple of weeks.  Given that context, here is a summary... 
  1. The Suzuki 1.3L is a marvelous little engine for a 90 HP package. It is propelling the 969#'s through the air as we hoped but could we be in the hunt for more horsepower?
  2. The fuel use in our application is higher than what we were hoping for. Right now....
    • 3.125 GPH at 4,300 RPM's/True to original fuel use figures on the Suzuki. At this RPM, the aircraft will barely hold altitude. 4.5 GPH at 4,700 RPM's at 45 MPH, 5.0 GPH at 5,000 RPM's at 50 MPH, 5.5 GPH at 5,300 RPM's at 55 MPH, 6.0 GPH at 5,500 RPM's at 60 MPH, 6.5 GPH at 5,800 RPM's which will yield about 65 MPH, Redline is 6,500 RPM's
  3. Operating Speeds (for the current configuration)
    • Take Off at 35 MPH, you can make a soft field takeoff at 25 MPH
    • Cruise Speed: In the open frame, I like to cruise at 50 - 55. It goes faster but so does the fuel gauge
    • Landing: All pattern work to Final @ 50 - 55 MPH
    • Final Approach:  45 MPH at the turn, 35 MPH over the numbers
    • Touchdown: 25 MPH
    • Vertical: 0 MPH, simple straight forward recovery
  4. Flight times: Normal 2.0 hours...Up to 2.5 hours
The HoneyBee G2™ Two-Place Tandem is absolutely flying wonderfully. It is very forgiving in the pitch axis and roll axis, pitch dampening is even better than the computer programs  said it would be.  The Moving Mast offers a huge CG solution.  Within a "hang setting" the aircraft is very generous at the calculated CG settings.  The frame is demonstrating that it is  capable of carrying much more weight in the front seat; we are still on track for 300 - 350#'s in the front seat! 

Committed to building the safest Gyroplanes in the World!

Take care,


    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Blogger Down For Maintenance

    Just an FYI on Blogger..... 

    I normally try to post 2 - 4 times a week but this week Google's Blogspot has been down for maintenance which is highly unusual.  Blogger is one of the best in the world!  Thank you Google!

    I have lots to share with you.  I will try to get caught up next week!

    Have a great weekend!

    Rotors Over The Rockies Update

    Most of you have heard by now that the HoneyBee G2 Two Place Tandem is flying wonderfully.  In fact it is flying so well that no changes are going to be made to the airframe.  The Phase I Flight Testing has included all normal operation maneuvers and pitch stability testing in some extreme conditions.  We are thrilled by how the aircraft has performed.  

    In spite of this very positive beginning, we feel that a trip of the 2011 ROTR (long distance & high altitude) is slightly premature and ambitious at this stage of the project.  This decision to rethink attending is mainly due to the time crunch in getting the Turbocharging System onto the Suzuki and perfecting it over the next 25 days.

    For those that were coming to the event to see the aircraft, go for a ride or just to talk, please accept my personal apology for this change in the Summer Plans. If you were coming to see the aircraft please write me so that I can connect with you at a later date. We will be heading West, just not to this year’s ROTR Event.



    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    FREE Flight Training: AWI 2011 Ultralight Spring Special

    AWI 2011 Spring Special

    AWI is having its first Annual Spring Special!!! 

    This year AWI is including FIVE HOURS OF FLIGHT TRAINING with the purchase of your HoneyBee G2™ Ultralight for the month of May. Friends, this is a $750 value.....

    Here are the details: 
    • Offer good for the month of May, 2011 only
    • Applies to our Standard HoneyBee G2™ Ultralight, $15,995
    • Limited to the first ten buyers
    • Applies to kits only, not the R-T-F Model
    • All flight training will be scheduled in Hastings, MI at the AWI location
    • NOTE: This offer applies to all buyers that are currently under proposal with AWI for a HoneyBee G2™ Ultralight 
    Sale begins 5-9-11 at 8AM EST on a first come first serve basis.


    Call me direct at 616-915-9252!


    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    Have I Told You Today How Much I Love Flying Gyros?

    I don't know if you have ever heard this from me before or not but I love flying gyros!   There is nothing like a gyro! I especially love flying the HoneyBee G2! ™ and right now I am loving flying and building hours in the Tandem. 

    There is still a lot of testing and charting to do, but for now here are the numbers: 
    • The Aircraft/Tandem weighs 675#'s
    • 14 gallons of fuel weighs 84#'s
    • I weigh 195#'s
    • Clothing: All the "electric & heavy cloths" weigh around 15#'s/I have to wear all the clothes because it is still cold in the AM around Hastings yet
    • The total package weighs 969#'s
    • NOTE: We will start adding weight in the back seat later next week
    The current performance for the 1.3L Suzuki before we start changing props, etc.: 
    • Cruises at 55 - 65 MPH depending on how hard you spool it up. 
    • Average fuel burn so far is 4.5 GPH  
    • Flying in segments of 2.5 hours
    • Rotates for takeoff at 35MPH
    • Approach Speed is 35MPH 
    • Stops flying at 25MPH!  
    • Being in Michigan, it has already been up in winds up to 25MPH, ROCK SOLID
    • Stability: I have had the aircraft in ridge light (uneven terrain) and convective lift with vertical rise as high as 1,300 FPM!
    • UPDATES:
      • Flattened prop pitch to 11 degrees to get 5,500 RPM on take-off & climb out; significant increase in performance. Going to 10 1/2 Degrees on 5-9-11 
      • Repositioned Fuel Use Sensor and re-confirmed 4.5 GPH @ 5,000 RPM 
    Havin' a blast!

    PS: More later on the Moving Mast and how well it is working....

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    The HoneyBee G2 Tandem Flies Again!

    Many of you have called or written to me on a regular basis about the status of the HoneyBee G2™ Two-Place Tandem...I have so much appreciated the encouragement! Bringing four completely new gyroplanes to the market at once has been a blessing, a challenge and a THRILL to say the least! 

    Well after several months of tweaks, changes and dedication, I am so pleased to tell you that the G2™ Tandem is even more stable in pitch than we had ever dreamed it would be, the Moving Mast™ works like a charm (in flight too!) and the Suzuki is working just great!  

    Weather pending, the balance of Phase I Flight Testing should be done over the next ten days.  That will include a whole list of flight conditions: pitch stability (in convective and uneven terrain situations) and load testing for minimum Forward Speed Conditions, etc, etc. 

    For now, thanks for being part of the cheering section! There is much to share with you! I just have to get out of the aircraft long enough to write about it. Because of that, if you email me, please give me a couple of days to respond. I will get back to you as soon as I get back on the ground! Until then.....

    Please Keep Cheering!


    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Lightweight Nose Cone/Windscreen Design Underway

    The HoneyBee G2™ Enclosure Effort has been a wonderful project, made better because of all of your input and feedback. When you write and give feedback it allows us to  tweak  and plan for an ala carte approach.  Our plan is to allow for an approach that spans the gamut of a simple Nose Cone and Windshield to a complete, climate controlled enclosure.

    As part of this effort, it is our intention to offer a full range of options to each model of the HoneyBee G2. The Ultralight builder will be able to choose within the confines of Part 103. The Microlight builder will be able to add the Nose Cone, Windscreen, Aft Bulkhead and Tip Rudders.  The High Performance Single Place can add these lightweight components I just mentioned or can upgrade to a partial or full enclosure either with or without doors with or without cabin heat, extra vents and so on.  The same is true for the Two Place Tandem....

    So what do you want your HoneyBee G2™ to be? Keep the feedback coming! 

    Have a great day!