Wednesday, August 31, 2011

At 53...

Good morning!  Yesterday I spent over two hours at the Optometrists with Dr. Kim Norris getting one of the most thorough eye exams I have ever had.  When I walked out with my Oakley shades on, my pupils totally dilated and struggling to focus, I recognized very quickly just how priceless my eyes are. Doctors can replace all kinds of organs but eyes are pretty hard to replace.  

At my last flight physical, a 3rd Class Medical for my Private Pilot Certificate, I walked away with something that I had never had before. That is a restricted PPL that states “must have corrective lenses available for near vision”.  This is the first time I have ever had a restriction on my PPL….it begins to ring close to home that me and my eyes are getting older. That is why I stopped, got away from the 12 – 18 hour a day pace for a bit to take a serious look at my health, specifically my eyes.  The final analysis of my visit was that my vision is absolutely perfect beyond the reach of my arms.  She said, “Jim, short of reading, you have perfect pilot eyes, you just need help up close”….hence, corrective lens to take care of the chart reading in the cockpit. 

One other aspect that a thorough eye exam looks into is Glaucoma.  For me, we have been  watching this for awhile. For some reason my eyes have been displaying a minor “cupping” in the region of the Optic Nerve for the last 3 - 4 years.  Right now it seems that my condition fits into a 1 – 2% portion of the bell curve of the population that either has or exhibits Glaucoma.  Right now, it seems  that like I was borne with my Optic Nerves “cupped” this way and we just happened to discover it about 4 years ago; great news in the long run.  The way the issue is being addressed is by an annual check-up for my eyes.  So now my eyes are addressed, next stop means a complete physical…. Oh boy, I can’t wait!

So why am I writing this little story about such personal matters. I write because I want to encourage each of you to pull away from the things you do every day to take care of yourself for a moment.  No one else is going to do it for you; you have to do it. If you are going to fly, you need to do it even more.  Physical issues, personal issues and psychological issues all affect your ability to fly safely; not addressing these issues could cost you dearly not to mention those that love and care about you.  Start today! Do it because it is good for you to do it.  Start eating better, getting more exercise, work less, fly more, hug the ones you love more, enjoy life and take care of yourself. Sorry to tell you this.....we are not getting any younger.

54 comes after 53!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Building Blocks....

My son Tom (now 25) loved Lego's. From his very earliest days, he always wanted to be a Lego Engineer. By the time he was 5 or 6 he could build anything from Lego's.  Not only could he build all kinds of cool things from Lego's, his favorite book was "How Things Work".  Today he is in the oil drilling field dealing with complex equipment  miles underground.  He learned basic "skills" early and never stopped learning how things went together, how they came apart and why they did what they did.....all building blocks to graduating from Purdue University as a Mechanical Engineer.  Smart kid for sure on a journey that lead him to what his heart desired. 

So why do I tell  you this? I do so because it relates to the approach I am using for the final syllabus for Gyroplane Training Centers International, LLC. Learning and then mastering the "building blocks" is so important in the larger scheme of your gyroplane journey.  These basic skills form a foundation for building complex skill sets that will allow you to safely carry passengers, go faster and then faster or even maybe flying IFR in your HoneyBee G2.  Who knows where that dream will take you.  Don't be in a hurry to get "there". Enjoy the journey and more importantly, learn well the skill sets that will take you there safely. There are those that need you to be there when the flying is over and your gyroplane is back in the hangar.  The gyroplane community needs you to fly but to do everything you do with a "safety first" approach.  That is done with basic skills that will lead to complex skills that eventually place you into fast and complex gyroplanes.  That is where my basic skills sets are taking me....and I am enjoying every step of the journey.  At the end of the day, I want to either help Ms. Louanne out of the back seat or rush home to meet her.  Now that is a journey worth step at a time!

Learning more everyday!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Update On Two Place Tandem

Good morning! Earlier in the week, I referenced that I was going to update everyone with a post on the HoneyBee G2 Two Place Tandem on Thursday. I can not believe it is Thursday already! 

Since the Two-Place Tandem design began in the Fall of  2000, this platform has been targeted for a very broad  mission profile.  It was originally thought that it could and should be the training system for the original HoneyBee Gyro Ultralight of the late 1990's. When a Non-Profit/Non Governmental Organization (Mission X International, Inc.) became part of the discussion, the role of the aircraft was  expanded around a plethora of payload conditions that would really benefit from its moving mast; IE a huge CG range.  In some cases that meant that stretchers would be carried and on the return trip a mail pod would be returned. It was (and still is) thought that an agricultural role could be supported with the aircraft.  Eleven years later, all of these roles are coming to the forefront of mission profiles again. At the same time this same platform is being launched as the main training platform for Gyroplane Training Centers International, LLC.  More on this later.....

Because a Total Quality Management (TQM) approach has been taken to minimize costs in the supply chain, it has allowed the project to be competitive at key price points on a wide array of missions and yet it still provides a high value/quality product to the global GA consumer.  This strategy allows the HoneyBee G2 Platform to be modular "in spirit" and still be flexible to the needs of the marketplace, globally.  This is one great, flying is getting better all the time!

This is what I mean when I say "better".... The current and future batches of Two Place Tandems will include: 
  1. The New Heavy-Duty Main Gear, engineered to Part 23 load standards, 6G's
  2. 3/4" (19mm) Heavy-Duty Axles & Wheel Bearings
  3. An overall reduction in frame weight of 78#'s 
  4. A more aaerodynamic Mast on the Standard Frame
  5. New, Lighter & More Comfortable Seats
  6. New, Tip Rudders as Standard: See Point #10
  7. Lighter, Instrument Pods/More Kevlar
  8. Improved Surrounds (for those that saw this feature at the shows)
  9. Better "Entry Aids" for getting into the seats
  10. And last but not least (I saved the best for last) the 2.4L is now our "Standard Engine" on this frame. Because so many of you want some form of Enclosure: Nose Cone/Windscreen, Magni Style Tub/Windscreen, Nose Cone/Upper Portions/No Lower, Full Enclosure with Zip-On Doors and last, there are some that want the full enclosure with all the fast stuff purely for the speed.  Some want floats..... This engine can handle all of this and more!
For those that are in this production batch, you get all these goodies! (Happy Birthday!)

Having Fun For Sure!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

HoneyBee G2 UL Ripe For Market

First, let me say thank you to all of you (from all over the world!) that have been following the HoneyBee G2 Ultralight. It really is a beautiful little gyroplane.  It seems like many, many of you feel the same way I do about this little, full-featured entry level gyroplane.  It is such a sweet little gyro!

Currently, we are working on another batch for those that are interested in one. Here is what you have to look forward to:
  1. Azusalite Wheels/Tires/Tubes: The aluminum are nice but we save over 2#'s
  2. New Composite Tail Surfaces
  3. New Drive Ratio/2.08 for additional thrust
  4. New Lighter Weight Rotor Head
  5. Target Weight: 245 - 248#'s
Jeremy and I are shooting some additional video next week. I will get it up at YouTube shortly thereafter. Stay tuned....

One in Yellow for me!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

EW2 (Engine Works Worldwide, LLC)

For those that were at the Popular Rotorcraft Association Convention, this may be old news. For the rest of you, HoneyBee G2, LLC is pleased to announce the birth of a new sister company called Engine Works Worldwide, LLC.  Join us in welcoming Jim Ostrander and John Welt, both of which are long time HoneyBee Fans and pilots.  When staff comes on board that flies, knows how to build gyros, can build engines and who are excited to play a critical role with the HoneyBee G2 Project it is a match made in heaven.  I want to personally thank both of them for the role they play for all of us.  

The primary focus of this company will be "Firewall Aft Packages" beginning first for the HoneyBee G2 Line and later for other popular gyroplanes and fixed-wing aircraft.  These engines include: the MZ 201 & 202's, a new/lightweight/high-tech/four-stroke (for Ultralight and Microlight aircraft), the 110HP/1.5L Honda Fit and lastly the 180HP/2.4L.

There are good things happening here!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Gyroplane Training Centers International, LLC

Is this a carrier landing?
Oh, we are having fun for sure!  

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, today I wanted to share a little bit more about Gyroplane Training Centers International, LLC. 

By now you have seen or  read about our efforts  to "Build The Safest Gyroplanes In The World™" which is a key element for sure; there is more to it.  That element is a training system that goes hand-in-glove with the HoneyBee G2 Line of gyroplanes.  Without a training system that is specific to the capabilities of the aircraft you are going to fly, you are in for a long learning curve.  I am not telling you not to buy, just don't buy a single seater! Training is the lifeblood to your safe flying experience.  

The Gyroplane Training Center System is an original training system created specifically for teaching new gyroplane pilots the basics of rotorcraft systems,  flight principles, basic to advanced skills and applying all of this to learning how to "fit in" and  "contribute to" the General Aviation world. 

Interested? Here is what you can look forward to.... I think that it is obvious that I love flying gyros.  If that is something you did not pick up prior to today, it is true; I love flying them. It is with that level of passion, approach, intensity, insight and forethought that the training curricula has been created.  As the leader of the band, I commit to you that you will have a great training experience.  All I want you to do is be teachable. You won't get all the habits and acrostics overnight, no one does. If you practice them every time you fly, every time you visualize and every time you ponder flying a gyroplane, you too will fall in love with the gyroplane and look at them as the safest aircraft in all the world! 

That I guarantee! 


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finally Home & Back In The Groove!

Greetings to all of you!

The 2011 EAA and PRA Shows were such a blast!  Getting ready took four weeks, then we had two weeks of  shows and lots of flying and then two weeks of getting everything put away at the Powrachute complex and last but not least--we then moved into our new location---yes at  Hastings City Airport! For the last year+ we have been inside of the Powrachute complex, originally at Middleville and later at Hastings.  Jeff Williams has been a long time friend and one of the best suppliers that a company could ever hope for. The best thing for both of us is that our businesses are doing great and we both need more space.  His business needs the space that we have occupied and we need 4 - 5 times the space to keep up with our current growth.  As it has worked out, Jeff is still our neighbor, just on the other side of Runway 12/30! That means we still get to fly gyros together, borrow an occasional AN Bolt and buzz each other's buildings! What more could a guy ask for!

Now that everyone is back from the shows, this week is a catch-up week for all of us. For me I need to catch up with the blog! There are so many things that I want to share with you about the things going on with the HoneyBee G2!  

Here is what's up for the week: 

  • Monday: Details on Gyroplane Training Centers International, LLC and where this is going!
  • Tuesday: Details on Engine Works Worldwide, (EW2) the role that this company plays to the HoneyBee G2 Project and other popular gyroplanes.
  • Wednesday: Update on the HoneyBee G2 Ultralight; this project is ripe for the market. More on the four stoke success & stuggles too!
  • Thursday:  Update on the Two Place Tandem including Main Gear Update to a 6G standard.
  • Friday: More about the training system and the syllabus approach that drives it! 

That's it for today! 

More tomorrow,