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2011-01-19
Why would you want to fly a Gyro? (27/12/2010)


Why would you want to fly a gyro?

Very few forms of powered flight can give you the unobstructed view that a gyro can. They are fun, exciting, and affordable. If you want to fly safely and inexpensively, gyros could be the aircraft for you. They can be flown low and slow or quick and sharp. They can be flown enclosed or open. And you don't feel separated from nature in a gyro, you feel part of it, and as free as a bird.

Cost

Most forms of flying are expensive and subsequently aren't for everyone. Gyros are the happy exception. You can buy a new gyro from a reputable manufacturer for around the same price your buddy paid for his new sports car. Many second hand machines are available too.

Safety

Gyroplanes are very stable aircraft to fly. They are simple in their design and operation, and are more stable in wind than fixed wing ultra lights. The greatest majority of gyroplane accidents are caused by pilot error. Please, get proper training. Gyroplanes are a very user friendly and safe aircraft, but you must be trained to fly them properly and safely.

Abilities

Depending on the model and weight, gyros can take off with a very short ground roll, usually well less than a hundred feet due to the use of a pre-rotator. They also land in a very short distance; an experienced pilot can set down with hardly rolling at all. They cruise between 60 and 90 mph and are usually flown between 500 and 1000 feet to enjoy the view and stay out of the way of faster air traffic.

They're unique; gyroplanes just do not look like something that will fly, but they do and they do it very well. They're a unique combination of part airplane, part helicopter, and maybe even a little like a powered parachute.

Gyroplanes live in the world of autorotation and are essentially a pendulum weight hanging below a set of rotor blades called the disk. The rotor blades are not powered and depend only on the flow of air over their surfaces to turn them allowing them to generate lift. The forward motion used to move those rotor blades through the air, is provided by a small engine and propeller. 

The engine and propeller are mostly in the pusher configuration. If the engine quits, simply push the nose down a little, to maintain airspeed, and glide the gyroplane down for a safe, controlled, landing. The glide slope of most gyroplanes is around 4 to 1, meaning you can glide 400 feet forward for every 100 feet you lose in altitude.

With proper training, a gyro pilot can fly on windy days that his fixed wing counterpart cannot fly on. He can also perform maneuvers that will leave his fixed wing counterpart scratching his head in amazement. Gyro enthusiasts agree that the gyroplane is far more nifty and maneuverable.

Gyroplanes are a very cost effective form of flying. The rotor blades can be easily removed and the gyroplane towed on a trailer, or placed in the back of a pickup truck.

Adapted from the Lone Star Rotorcraft Club�s website