Monday, March 12, 2012

Bensen Days Flight List!

Good morning! 

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I would be putting up the Flight List for Bensen Days.  I also have to remind everyone that we are going to be staying at Wauchula for our operations DURING the Sun-N-Fun Show.  It is much more conducive to flying at Wauchula. 

Many of you have asked me about their contribution towards the flight.  Our operating costs  for a 30  minute flight is $40.  

TWO NOTES of clarification:
1. If you have a HoneyBee G2 aircraft of any kind on order there is no charge for the flight. 
2. If you put a deposit on any frame at the show, we will apply your contribution to your aircraft.

And now for some housekeeping issues: 
1. If your name is on the list, please double check to see if "I need" or "I have" your cell phone number.  Without this, we can not contact you if we have an expected delay or opening in the schedule.
2. I need to find out what day(s) you are going to be at Bensen Days. Just for the record, we are only flying up to SNF for a couple of key stops. All rides will originate and end at  Wauchula unless other prior arrangements have been made. 
3. The list that is given below is the order of those that responded first and therefore they go on the list first. I will be giving them priority in the day that works best of their schedule. 
I need you to communicate to me what is your first and second choice for days via email at  Everyone here will do their best to accommodate your scheduling needs.

Here is the list:

Bensen Days/SNF Flight List Bensen
Sun-N-Fun Dates I Have Or I Need
Your Cell Number
Dan Knaup X 3/21, 22 Need
Sebastian X Have
John Horn X 3/22 Need
Horacio Aloé X 3/22, 23 Need
Don Graves X Need
Mark Airey  X Have
Kyle Neal  X X 3/24 Have
Andy Lancaster X Need
Bob Lawless X Need
Mike Shing X X Need
Mike Carriker X X Need
Bill & Pat Track X Need
Dick Treamer X Need
Roy Ensminger  X Have
Scott Adair X Need
Charles Sanders X Need
Dan Dickson  X Have
LC Mellenger  X Have
Don Newton X 3/24 Have
DR. Sam Suttle X Need
Stanley Ashman  X Have
Larry White X Need
Bruce Santella X Need
Santella Grandson X Need
Steve Pruszynski  X 3/21PM All 3/22 Have
Mark Beard  X 3/23, 24 Have
Robert Frenzel X Need
John Williams X Have
Don Newton X 3/24 Need
Thad Otto X 3/24 Need
Andy Schmidt SBL Need
Juan Manuel Blanco  SBL 3/24 Need
Doug Hammond SBL 3/22 - 24 Have
Jorge SBL X Need
Issabel SBL X Need
Gustavo SBL X Need
Larry Mangold SBL 3/22-23 Need

See you there!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Just A Quick Note...

Thank you to all of you that have responded to the "Would You Help Me?" post.  It is amazing how numerous and helpful your  responses have been. 

One thought that seems to be in many of the emails is that this is an effort to get an increase in the "254 pound" maximum weight.  For the record, that is not what is being sought. 

Please keep the data coming! I so appreciate you help!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Would you help me?

Good morning! 

The machine pictured here is the original, HoneyBee Gyro that I flew in 1997; I usually call it the G1. It weighed 240#'s and was a true legal Part 103 Gyroplane. It had no wheel brakes other my tennis shoes on the back of the nose wheel, no pre-rotator other than my hands and no rotor brake, again other than my hands. 

Here is how a typical flight started....I had to start the engine and stand on the seat to spin-up the blades. With the engine running and hand spinning the blades to about 60RPM's I would plop into my seat give the ROTAX 447 some throttle and begin rolling into the wind so that I could finish off the the next 140RPM's with some relative wind. This had to be done while I was warming up the 447 on my way to the end of whatever runway I was going to use. I almost forgot to say, buckling my seat belt while doing all of these other exercises at the same time. I remember one time that I took off without my seat belt on. Is it any wonder? By the time all of this was done, if an aircraft slipped into the pattern I would have to turn around and keep taxiing upwind to "somewhere else" on the airport until the timing was right and I could hit the active runway and take-off in the wild blue yonder like a real pilot did.  In fifteen years I only know of one other guy, my late friend Jim Norcia, that loved Gyroplanes so much that he was willing to go through all of the aforementioned hassle just to stay legal in a Gyroplane.  I am sure there are others that I don't know about; it was tough to stay legal.   That my friends brings me to the point of this post.....I need your help on a project.  I can't do this without your help because the NTSB reports do not give me the help I need to compile this kind of data.

I have made an initial contact with our friends at the FAA.  I refer to them as our Friends And Allies. They are very, very interested in safety just like you and I are.  Because the FAA is US based, this post is primarily for those who are specifically located in the US.  Conversely, the fruit of this project will undoubtedly affect the entire global Gyroplane community if we do it right.

Will you help me? Here is all I need....I need those in the US to please copy and forward this to everyone you know who flies Gyroplanes and then send it back to me at the email address listed below. It does not matter what brand they fly; this is not about brand, it is about improving safety for those that do and those that will fly the beloved Gyroplane.   What can we do to improve the issues related to safety? We first need to understand what has happened in your and my experience over the recent past. 

Here is the gist of the project….I am compiling this data for accidents, near accidents and their related causes as it relates primarily to Legal Part 103 Gyroplanes, “Fat 103 Gyroplanes” as they have been affectionately called and Microlight type Gyroplanes.  Please use this simple matrix below that  is really about four areas. If you can think of other areas or components that could be added to the list, please add them under "Other Thoughts". The ones that I personally have seen are:  
  1. Pre-rotation accidents and the need for a pre-rotator on ALL Gyroplanes.
  2. Braking accidents and the need to have wheel brakes on ALL Gyroplanes.
  3. Rotor Braking Accidents and the need for a rotor brake on ALL gyroplanes.
  4. Engine Failure issues and the cause of the accidents.
Please copy this template into an email, fill out as much of the details as possible and send it to When the data is in and analyzed, I assure you that I am going to do my best to improve these four areas of safety with those care and can make a difference in our wonderful sport of gyroplanes.

Approximate Date: _________________
[   ] Ultralight
[   ] Fat 103 Gyroplane 
[   ] Microlight type machine 

  1. Do you know of a Gyroplane pilot or student pilot that was in some kind of an incident? 
    • Was that person injured [   ] Yes      [   ]No
    • Was the incident fatal     [   ] Yes      [   ] No
  2. What was the cause or nature of the incident?
a.      Was it caused by not having a pre-rotator or poor pre-rotation habits?
[  ] Did not have pre-rotator, had to hand spin their blades
[  ] Did not use good pre-rotation habits
b.      Was it a stopping or braking issue?
[   ] The incident was caused because the gyroplane did not have brakes
[   ] The gyroplane had poor brakes
c.       Was it a rotor brake issue?
[   ] The pilot failed to use his rotor brake
[  ] The gyroplane was not equipped with a rotor brake
d.      Was the incident caused when starting the engine?
[   ] The pilot was hand propping his engine
[   ] The pilot starting the engine and the throttle was too high
e.      Was the incident caused by an engine failure? 
Two Stroke: Which engine? 
Four Stroke: Which engine?

Other: Please explain....

1. PLEASE respond using the template above at  &
2. PLEASE forward this sample template to as many people you know that fly Gyroplanes

Thank you for your help!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Just for the LOVE of it!

Good Morning! 

Today we have a warm front moving into the area and temperatures are supposed to be at 60  degrees over the next 48 hours.  As you might think, high pressure areas give you wind too. Today they are supposed to be up to 40 MPH gusts!  I have flown a MicroLight G2 in this kind of wind before but it is not fun to fly in this kind of wind.  

A simple weather assessment skill that I have used over my flying career is "clear skies (Read High Pressure Area/HPA) bring winds" & low ceilings (Read Low Pressure Area/LPA) bring poor visibility and low to no winds.  Another trick is to put your back to the wind and point your left arm directly to your side left side...that my friend is where you will find your LPA, low ceilings and low winds. If you have to fly in that direction, you could be in for some more challenging flying. If your flight is departing in the direction of your right arm. Your are in for great ceilings and higher winds. In the Gyroplane you can handle both situations.  :)

That prelude brings me to what I want to write about this morning.  At this stage of the company flying "just for the love of the Gyroplane" is precious time for me.  I really don't get enough of that. My flying time is usually spent testing out or approving certain systems on one of the G2 frames and occasionally giving rides in the 2PT.  The G2 Platform offers such huge margins in stability that it will make up for things that can happen along the way, but it is not a magic carpet.  These huge capabilities have to be managed...get the emotions out of it, make the tough decisions when you need to make them, not when you have to.  Caution is the better part of wisdom.  Customers who know us, know this to be true. 

Well yesterday was one of those days when the flight was really just for me. It was clear, about 15 MPH wind and there was some fine snow in the area.  During this flight, though a fun flight, it was a way for me to "sign-off" on a tweak on the exhaust change for the EcoTec.  I would call it Phase II of the design and we should have the final fix done by end of the plenty of time to pack it up for Bensen Days/SNF events.  

After the initial run-up of the engine and completing my HATT-M (sounds like "hat-m") checklist (Heading-Altitude-Time-Transponder-Mast...for those that have flown with me) I worked my way to the taxiway and started pre-rotation and finished the rest of my pre-flight checklists en route to the active.  At 27 Degrees --wind chill 19 degrees-- it takes a little longer to get your coolant and oil temperatures up to where they need to be before takeoff.  Once my engine warmed up, I began taxiing for a departure on Runway 30 to the West.  I called out my intentions, got the rotor up to speed, at 35 MPH the rotor was already through 275 RPM' we go climbing at 1,400 FPM to 2,700' MSL.  Things were going great, it was just very cold and even colder at that altitude. Have I mentioned that it was cold yet?  At 2,700' West of Hastings about 4 miles I ran head long into snow, fine crystallized snow that made it seem even colder.  At 60 MPH and snow I decided to head back to the airport for the rest of my flight.  

When I took off there was no traffic and nothing going on at 9D9 meaning that short of possible inbound traffic the airport was all mine....further meaning an impromptu air show was in the cards. When I get this kind of a setting that means lots of minimum forward speed flight/MFS, vertical descents, right and left side-wards flight, stationary flight, flat turns around/at/on a point and maximum speed flybys to maximum rate climbs! I actually set a new personal record yesterday. I flew a MFS approach from 1,800' to Runway 30 to 10' off the deck, accelerated to 82 MPH at that altitude and transitioned the G2 Tandem into a 2 - 3G initial climb and watched the VSI go through 2,200 FPM! When the climb settled into a max rate Vx climb I was climbing at a sustained rate of 1,400 FPM! At 2,700' MSL. Time for a corkscrew descent to the deck and start something else! The 2PT is a rocket and yet it feels like one of our MicroLight's when you fly it at 35-45 MPH. It really is a great Gyroplane!

When I took off, I left two of my biggest HoneyBee G2 Fans on the ground. One was Dave Yant, the guy that is faithfully behind the scenes handling all the myriad of details for the G2's. The second one was my wife and best Cheerleader, Louanne! They loved the show....and so did I!

You really need to come fly with me! Maybe on a warm day?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

New Video Up At YouTube!

Good Morning! 

The New Video of the HoneyBee G2 Tandem showing some great Winter flying and the "2012 Winter Flying Hall Of Famer's" is up  at YouTube! 

To find this new video and all the earlier videos just search "HoneyBee G2" in the YouTube search window.

24 Degrees, sunny and bright here...let's go flying!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Gail Schultz Joins The 2012 Winter Flying Hall Of Fame!

Congratulations to Gail Schultz on being the first woman to join the ranks of the 2012 WFHOF! Gail's flight began at the end of the day. Snow was coming and the temperature was tolerable......Well the snow held off until we took off and headed West on Runway 30 at Hastings City-Barry County Airport then we hit snow about a 1/4 mile West of the Runway.  What made the continued flight a safe possibility was that it was snowing West of the field and not to our South. Gail and I simply turned left 90 degrees and headed for clear weather.  Coming back into the pattern at 1,800' we made several vertical approaches into the field and stayed close by just in case the weather got worse.  It was a great flight overall....

Here is what Gail had to say about our ride together...


I felt like I was on a ride at Cedar Point at one point of the flight, yet this was way more fun and way more cool! Thank you to everyone! 


I can't wait until Paul and Gail get into their brand spanking new, you guessed it ---Hot Pink-Fully Enclosed Two Place Tandem HoneyBee G2! You will no doubt see them from miles and miles away!

Let's go flying again!