Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

What your instructor never taught you. Continuing your education and learning from others. Flight safety topics and accident/incident discussions.

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
jimdavis
10000 and still climbing
10000 and still climbing
Posts: 15477
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:46 am
Closest Airfield: FAGG
Location: Wilderness
Has liked: 124 times
Been liked: 122 times

Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by jimdavis » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:49 pm

Ha ha ha. Avcom is a funny place. When someone posts a remark about low flying, everyone and his dog wants to kill the poster. How do you know he was low? Who are you to judge? Can you prove he was a danger?... and on and on...

Now we see the results of low flying and everyone changes sides ... Yes the bastard was contravening all these regs... and on and on...

Time for a G & T ek se. :D

jim
"PPL Manual"
"Flight Tests"
"So Others May Live"
"Flying in Africa" Vol 1
"Flying in Africa" Vol 2
Look inside these books, or buy them at: www.jimdavis.co.za.
User avatar
cage
Niner Tousand
Niner Tousand
Posts: 9491
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:47 am
Closest Airfield: FAGC
Location: ..for the grass 35
Has liked: 4 times
Been liked: 94 times

Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by cage » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:06 pm

jimdavis wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:49 pm
Now we see the results of low flying and everyone changes sides ... Yes the bastard was contravening all these regs... and on and on...
Not quite
There is a difference between low flying and reckless flying.
It has been discussed time and again that you can fly low legally and safely, provided you stay within your own and your machines abilities.
When you choose to disregard regulations and exercise poor judgement this is what can happen.
Taking risks when it is only your neck on the line is everyone's right, when you put others lives at risk it is a different story.

What may be acceptable over an empty beach, is not acceptable when it is full of people.

Two very different scenarios.

Had this been an unpopulated area no one would have given two hoots that he came unstuck, there would just be a lot of tutting.
(Besides, it wasn't just low flying, the intended purpose of the flight already broke regs that have nothing to do with altitude).
Dobbs
Frequent AvComer
Posts: 958
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:03 am
Has liked: 5 times
Been liked: 1 time

Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by Dobbs » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:16 pm

I suppose the difference in too many people's mind, between low flying and reckless flying is the outcome.
User avatar
cage
Niner Tousand
Niner Tousand
Posts: 9491
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:47 am
Closest Airfield: FAGC
Location: ..for the grass 35
Has liked: 4 times
Been liked: 94 times

Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by cage » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:19 pm

On a separate point, gyro pilots do seem to like to fly as close as physically possible to the ground, especially over water.
Is this because of the perception that dealing with engine issues is a non-event?

Some of the speculation, above, is that he got too slow and lost it.
Isn't that a very basic skill in gyro land?
If you can't manage that then what does it say about the standard of training or indeed why you'd put yourself in a position that takes you outside of your abilities.

Are they that difficult to fly or to get wrong?
The accidents that killed all those aspiring AG pilots were all low level and with aggressive turns.
Commentary on those accidents was that some proper skill is required to handle a gyro like that, which seems to take the conversation back to ability and training.

It would be interesting to trace the path of all these various accidents to identify any common denominators.
Perhaps it's just perception.
What say the gyronaughts?
User avatar
Bearcat
20,000 Leagues Above
20,000 Leagues Above
Posts: 29970
Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 11:51 pm
Closest Airfield: Grand Central
Location: JHB
Has liked: 18 times
Been liked: 135 times

Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by Bearcat » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:18 pm

GeraldNagel wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:25 pm
Deceased is named being Terry Dempsey, famous songwriter and record producer. RIP
Very sad..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y01IVe9Uho
User avatar
cage
Niner Tousand
Niner Tousand
Posts: 9491
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:47 am
Closest Airfield: FAGC
Location: ..for the grass 35
Has liked: 4 times
Been liked: 94 times

Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by cage » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:23 pm

Dobbs wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:16 pm
I suppose the difference in too many people's mind, between low flying and reckless flying is the outcome.
Isn't the devil always in the detail?
When you blur a broad subject into a "one size fits all" you risk diluting some good discussion.
These matters, as alluded to by others on another thread, aren't black and white. There is always a healthy dose of Grey.
User avatar
jimdavis
10000 and still climbing
10000 and still climbing
Posts: 15477
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:46 am
Closest Airfield: FAGG
Location: Wilderness
Has liked: 124 times
Been liked: 122 times

Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by jimdavis » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:51 pm

Autogyros were first popularised in this country by Lew Strysom who designed and built the 'Minicopter' in Worcester in about 1963. I was lucky enough to fly them commercial and instruct on them, so I guess I qualify as a gyronaught.

It's interesting to note that the first two people to crash them were both experienced helicopter pilots. The first was a SAAF guy doing an official evaluation for the SAAF. He was killed in the accident. And the second was Rusty Russel, a civvi commercial chopper pilot who managed to stick a rotor blade into the ground at Bloem, doing a steep turn after take off. Rusty survived to fly another day.

Autogyros are extremely easy to fly, and a hell of a lot of fun, but, like all aircraft, they have limitations and quirks. The one referred to in this thread is similar to getting behind the drag curve in a conventional aircraft. Because of the gyro's docile handling and inherent low speed safety, one can easily be tempted to take low and slow business a little too far.

Like a stall in a conventional aircraft, every gyro pilot knows about it. Basically this is what happens. You potter along slowly at five feet and wave to the admiring crowd. At the end of your run you apply a handful of power to climb away - but you are just too slow. All the power does is push the nose way up and you can't accelerate. What you need to do is reduce power and put the nose down to gain airspeed, but you haven't got the height. So that's the end of your flight.

The same aerodynamics apply in a turn - it is just not so easy to visualise.

So it's not a matter of poor training - everyone knows about this problem - they just push their luck when the flags are flying and the band is playing.

Poor judgement is what causes this type of accident in gyros.

Someone suggested that he clipped a tree - so that may be the cause of this accident - I don't know. But again that's poor judgement rather than poor training.

I have to say that I feel desperately sorry for the pilot. Yep, he got carried away and contravened low flying, and dangerous flying regs. It is a spur of the moment thing - and it shouldn't happen - but we have all done it.

Even if the pilot doesn't go to jail, those moments of bravado are going to haunt him for the rest of his life.

Of course what he did has caused terrible grief to others and one feels deeply for them.

If this accident makes others think before stuffing the nose down to impress the crowd, then it may well save future lives and unbelievable grief. One can only hope so.

jm
"PPL Manual"
"Flight Tests"
"So Others May Live"
"Flying in Africa" Vol 1
"Flying in Africa" Vol 2
Look inside these books, or buy them at: www.jimdavis.co.za.
User avatar
Richard Smit
Too Tousand
Too Tousand
Posts: 2860
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:02 pm
Closest Airfield: Stilbaai
Location: RSA, Stilbaai
Has liked: 1 time
Been liked: 0

Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by Richard Smit » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:59 pm

cage wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:19 pm
On a separate point, gyro pilots do seem to like to fly as close as physically possible to the ground, especially over water.
Is this because of the perception that dealing with engine issues is a non-event?

Some of the speculation, above, is that he got too slow and lost it.
Isn't that a very basic skill in gyro land?
If you can't manage that then what does it say about the standard of training or indeed why you'd put yourself in a position that takes you outside of your abilities.

Are they that difficult to fly or to get wrong?
The accidents that killed all those aspiring AG pilots were all low level and with aggressive turns.
Commentary on those accidents was that some proper skill is required to handle a gyro like that, which seems to take the conversation back to ability and training.

It would be interesting to trace the path of all these various accidents to identify any common denominators.
Perhaps it's just perception.
What say the gyronaughts?
EDIT: My understanding of gyro mechanics/aerodynamics is very limited, and my statement below wasn’t correct.
Edited accordingly.
Last edited by Richard Smit on Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
Spool-Up
Tim
Power off stall
Posts: 339
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:44 am
Closest Airfield: FAGC
Location: Johannesburg
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 1 time

Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by Tim » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:32 pm

Dobbs wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:46 pm
WagAero, my sentiments exactly, however, I am pretty damn sure that had the pilot been a member of Jim's LCC, this would not have happened. I just went back and had a look at the recent Low Flying topic, and based on some of those comments, one gets the sad feeling that these kinds of tragic incidents will continue ☹
It may well have been the other way around. Lack of recurrent training, always fly straight and level, shallow turns not to upset the pax. Don’t practice low flying, slow and fast in a safe environment, don’t practice landings with different power regimes. An honorable member of the LCC.

And one day, due to a wind gust, mechanical problem, or peer pressure to do this last flight for his late friend, he finds himself in an unusual attitude. And he doesn’t have the reflexes to deal with the situation. He never prepared for it, it’s not what you do in the LCC.
User avatar
Captain Gyro
Frequent AvComer
Posts: 766
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:54 am
Closest Airfield: Stellenbosch
Location: Somerset West
Has liked: 1 time
Been liked: 0

Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by Captain Gyro » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:52 pm

Richard Smit wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:59 pm
The thing with a gyrocopter, is that rotor rpm is dependent on forward speed. In a tight turn (loaded... High induced rotor drag), the rotor rpm bleeds off,
Not quite. In a gyro, rotor RPM is not dependent upon forward speed, but rather the "g" loading. You can fly at zero airspeed in a vertical hover. Rotor RPM or less stays the same.

In a steep turn, the rotor RPM increases, not decreases, as a result of the increase in loading on the rotor.
User avatar
Richard Smit
Too Tousand
Too Tousand
Posts: 2860
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:02 pm
Closest Airfield: Stilbaai
Location: RSA, Stilbaai
Has liked: 1 time
Been liked: 0

Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by Richard Smit » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:53 pm

Tim wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:32 pm
Dobbs wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:46 pm
WagAero, my sentiments exactly, however, I am pretty damn sure that had the pilot been a member of Jim's LCC, this would not have happened. I just went back and had a look at the recent Low Flying topic, and based on some of those comments, one gets the sad feeling that these kinds of tragic incidents will continue ☹
It may well have been the other way around. Lack of recurrent training, always fly straight and level, shallow turns not to upset the pax. Don’t practice low flying, slow and fast in a safe environment, don’t practice landings with different power regimes. An honorable member of the LCC.

And one day, due to a wind gust, mechanical problem, or peer pressure to do this last flight for his late friend, he finds himself in an unusual attitude. And he doesn’t have the reflexes to deal with the situation. He never prepared for it, it’s not what you do in the LCC.
I’m no fan of the name (LCC) of this virtual fraternity, but I don’t think the statement above is altogether fair.

Nowhere, does Jim, or his disciples discourage advanced, or sensible continuation training. On the contrary, it it frequently encouraged.

That said... When doing mission specific flying, one needs to understand that it isn’t a normal flight around the patch.

A PPL, NPL, etc, doesn’t (usually) provide the kind of training and operational support system that is required for this kind of flying.

Now I know many will feel offended by the above. Please don’t be. It isn’t meant condescendingly.

We need to know our limits.
Last edited by Richard Smit on Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
Spool-Up
User avatar
Richard Smit
Too Tousand
Too Tousand
Posts: 2860
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:02 pm
Closest Airfield: Stilbaai
Location: RSA, Stilbaai
Has liked: 1 time
Been liked: 0

Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by Richard Smit » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:58 pm

Captain Gyro wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:52 pm
Richard Smit wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:59 pm
The thing with a gyrocopter, is that rotor rpm is dependent on forward speed. In a tight turn (loaded... High induced rotor drag), the rotor rpm bleeds off,
Not quite. In a gyro, rotor RPM is not dependent upon forward speed, but rather the "g" loading. You can fly at zero airspeed in a vertical hover. Rotor RPM or less stays the same.

In a steep turn, the rotor RPM increases, not decreases, as a result of the increase in loading on the rotor.
Really?

G-loading results in an increase in induced drag.

I’m a sustained LEVEL steep turn, at maximum available power, will the rotor rpm increase?

Another scenario... At the end of a low level run, towards rising terrain, the pilot initiates a steep climbing, 180 degree turn.

How will the rotor rpm increase? As I understand it, it will require either more thrust (to sustain the inflow to the rotor), or a descent, to do the same.

Am I wrong?
Last edited by Richard Smit on Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:46 am, edited 3 times in total.
Spool-Up
User avatar
Captain Gyro
Frequent AvComer
Posts: 766
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:54 am
Closest Airfield: Stellenbosch
Location: Somerset West
Has liked: 1 time
Been liked: 0

Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by Captain Gyro » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:59 pm

Richard, give me a chat if you you interested in gyros. I've been flying gyros for 20 years. Not too many airline guys like us fly these wonderful machines. Yes, rotor RPM increases dramatically in a steep turn.
Last edited by Captain Gyro on Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Richard Smit
Too Tousand
Too Tousand
Posts: 2860
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:02 pm
Closest Airfield: Stilbaai
Location: RSA, Stilbaai
Has liked: 1 time
Been liked: 0

Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by Richard Smit » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:01 pm

Captain Gyro wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:59 pm
Richard, give me a chat if you you interested in gyros. I've been flying gyros for 20 years. Not too many airline guys like us fly these wonderful machines.
I’d love to, thanks!

Will be in touch very soon, via PM.
Spool-Up
User avatar
Richard Smit
Too Tousand
Too Tousand
Posts: 2860
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:02 pm
Closest Airfield: Stilbaai
Location: RSA, Stilbaai
Has liked: 1 time
Been liked: 0

Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by Richard Smit » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:17 pm

Captain Gyro wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:59 pm
Richard, give me a chat if you you interested in gyros. I've been flying gyros for 20 years. Not too many airline guys like us fly these wonderful machines. Yes, rotor RPM increases dramatically in a steep turn.
Might need to wrap my mind around the airflow driving the rotor, as opposed to the rotor driving the air.

Am I on the right track?
Last edited by Richard Smit on Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Spool-Up

Return to “Academy & Flight Safety”