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!

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