Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

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Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by jtresfon » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:44 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
As Captain Gyro points out this is completely untrue! It is quite possible to slow the gyro from cruise speed to zero forward speed and have no material change in the rotor RPM. At zero airspeed the gyro will start to descend vertically, completely controllable and with normal rotor RPM. To exit this state all that is required is to pitch the nose down, attain flying speed and fly the plane, assuming you have enough altitude in the bank.

In a tight turn the rotor RPM will actually increase with the increased G loading, NOT bleed off.

Clearly these incredible machines are very misunderstood. Yes they are easy to fly. But like any aircraft they have a few places where they will bite, and bite hard. Every single gyro pilot is trained to avoid these situations. (for example attempting negative G manoeuvres where the rotor RPM will decay, sometimes with catastrophic consequences).

Getting behind the power curve is one area that has bitten new and experienced pilots alike. Put enough hours in and you should be able to "feel" when the gyro changes from horizontal to vertical flight without looking at your instruments. One area where gyros differ from fixed wing aircraft is that they have no stall warnings. Slow down your airspeed and at some point you'll start to descend vertically, with no stall warning buzzer etc. (The exact point will vary depending on the density altitude, load, etc). The training syllabus teaches pilots to recognise this but a pilot distracted by external factors (wowing a crowd or dropping ashes) might miss the subtle change in flight attitude. Many pilots have been bitten by this specifically on the downwind leg in the circuit and the resulting mush into the ground has been blamed on a sudden downdraft. (See Learjet's post on the dragon of the downwind).

Bottom line is that like any aircraft you need to give yourself options in the event of a problem. Speed and altitude are your friends. Yes these machines can be landed with zero forward roll and in a much tigher/smaller area than a fixed wing, but there is no magic involved and no substitute for safe flying. An engine out while low and slow is probably not going to end well for most pilots...

Jean.
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Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by jimdavis » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:58 pm

Richard Smit wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:17 pm

Might need to wrap my mind around thevair driving the rotor, as opposed to the rotor driving tbe air.

Am I on the right track?
Ha ha ha, Richard I would love to be a fly on the wall during your conversion.

You will get your head around the air driving the rotor when you line up for your first takeoff into wind. You can just let the wind drive the blades round.

You can use the RSU (rotor speedup unit) to help increase rotor revs before takeoff but it's not strictly necessary. In fact with a 20ish knot headwind you will be able to do a vertical takeoff without touching the RSU, and without any forward speed.

You will LOVE it! We want a full report as you go!

Have fun

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Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by Bearcat » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:07 pm

Hi Jim, can we please cut down on the ha..ha ha's ... I dont have a dog in this debate... but someone was killed in this accident :(
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Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by jimdavis » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:13 pm

Richard a quick PS if you don't mind me sticking my nose in.

We were taught to gain plenty of altitude straight ahead after takeoff, before turning. The reason being that with the ability to land at virtually zero airspeed, landing into wind is pretty much a non event - regardless of terrain. But turning round to land downwind, (a) causes an immense loss of height, and (b) a downwind landing in even as little as 10kts can be pretty dramatic.

I think it was good advice, particularly because our aircraft were powered by smokey, two-stroke McCullogh engines that frequently failed.

Please keep us in the picture - I think I am almost more excited than you are! :D

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Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by jimdavis » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:15 pm

Bearcat wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:07 pm
Hi Jim, can we please cut down on the ha..ha ha's ... I dont have a dog in this debate... but someone was killed in this accident :(
Bruce, I think I expressed my feelings about that adequately a page or two back.

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Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by Rotor kop » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:30 pm

Richard Smit wrote:
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, ons 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.

I’m about to start my gyro licence training. And at over 17000 hours, I’m excited about it.
I’m also VERY aware that this kind of flying is different to the flying I usually do.

So, I’ll choose my instructor extremely carefully, and I’ll make sure that I get the right kind of training for the flying I intend to do in these interesting aircraft.

I get the impression that there are a LOT of pilots who don’t really know their limits.

Amateur, or rectreational flying is just that. Don’t try to be a professional. It’ll just get messy.

Be safe, fly better and better, but leave the work to those who are trained (and supported) to do so.
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Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by gyronaut » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:39 pm

Jean, as an experienced Gyroplane Pilot you have elucidated it very well in my opinion, thank you.

Sir Jim's quote "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." sums it up perfectly. (PS. Nowadays we call it a Prerotator, not a RSU) :-)

I humbly offer the 17000hr pilot a free flight with me to come to grips with the frisbee-effect and strongly recommend that one who has not flown a Gyroplane or has experience in one refrains from commenting since it is easy to show your ignorance, which is something I was totally guilty of as a former helicopter pilot.

Sad as this incident is, it has made us all more aware of the risks and dangers involved in flying low and slow over a populated area and I for one will not be doing it anymore. Yes, I am guilty of becoming complacent with the fact that I can stop and then land in the event of an emergency, but the horror of killing an innocent bystander in the process will keep me well out of that area for good from now on.

Perhaps there is something good to be learned from this tragic accident after all.

I remain a proud member of the LCC and we are not virtual fliers.
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Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by jimdavis » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:05 am

jimdavis wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:15 pm
Bearcat wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:07 pm
Hi Jim, can we please cut down on the ha..ha ha's ... I dont have a dog in this debate... but someone was killed in this accident :(
Bruce, I think I expressed my feelings about that adequately a page or two back.

jim
Sorry, Bruce, you are quite right, it was insensitive of me. My sincere apologies to anyone I may have offended.

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Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by Richard Smit » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:21 am

gyronaut wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:39 pm
Jean, as an experienced Gyroplane Pilot you have elucidated it very well in my opinion, thank you.

Sir Jim's quote "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." sums it up perfectly. (PS. Nowadays we call it a Prerotator, not a RSU) :-)

I humbly offer the 17000hr pilot a free flight with me to come to grips with the frisbee-effect and strongly recommend that one who has not flown a Gyroplane or has experience in one refrains from commenting since it is easy to show your ignorance, which is something I was totally guilty of as a former helicopter pilot.

Sad as this incident is, it has made us all more aware of the risks and dangers involved in flying low and slow over a populated area and I for one will not be doing it anymore. Yes, I am guilty of becoming complacent with the fact that I can stop and then land in the event of an emergency, but the horror of killing an innocent bystander in the process will keep me well out of that area for good from now on.

Perhaps there is something good to be learned from this tragic accident after all.

I remain a proud member of the LCC and we are not virtual fliers.
M
Hi Gyronaut,

Thank you for the invitation.

I think this conversation may be drifting the thread a bit, so I’ll leave it at this.

My assumptions about gyro principles of flight were indeed embarrassingly incorrect. It just goes to show how different various types of aviation really are. I’ll do a lot more reading about this before starting my gyro training.

I have removed my statement via an edit. Hit on the chin accepted.

Please also understand that my statement about the LCC being a “virtual fraternity” implies that it doesn’t have a real physical clubhouse, or the like. Not that it’s virtual members are anything less than real, or real pilots. In fact, my statement was actually supportive of the LCC (even though I don’t like the name).

The point that I was actually trying to make, before heading off on a bit of a tangent, is related to recreational pilots getting involved in “mission” or work type flying. The reason I say that it should be very carefully considered (discouraged), is that such flying tends to place a degree of “get the job done” pressure on a pilot.

Such pressure is not usually a problem within a flying organization, as the operational culture will be tempered by a certain degree of a safety culture... Indeed, a formal SMS.
This won’t be there for the recreational aviator, who is imbarking on such a “mission”.

So, with the above in mind, the recreational aviator may fall foul to external (environmental), or internal (get the job done) pressures. He may, or may not be aware of the impact of such pressures, regardless of how well his task/mission is intended to be.

Now, when I say reacreational pilot, I don’t just refer to non CPL/ATPL pilots. It may very well include them when they are flying in a recreational environment. I have experienced just this on a few occasions, and it had to be carefully managed.

I trust this clears the air between us.

Fly well,

Richard
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Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by Chaos » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:58 pm

Good evening all.
Does anyone perhaps know where in Vaal Marina this happened?
Very sad.
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Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by gyronaut » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:20 am

Richard Smit, I salute you Sir. Thank you.
It will be an honour for me to fly with you at your convenience.
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Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by RV-8 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:23 am

Hi Guys we were in the bay in our boat when it happened. It was on the beach of SunSet shores.

We only took note when we saw four ambulances and a fire truck.

There were two space blankets and I couldn’t understand how do two people fall out of a gyro when the gyro looks mostly intact.

Only later did we hear that the two space blankets were covering the body of the deceased.

I’m not big on speculation I don’t see any benefit as most guys are always just taking an uneducated guess. Some facts of the accident scene are as follows.

The two space blankets were at least 20 meters apart.
The space blanket furthest away from the gyro was at least 150 meters or more.
The nose wheel, or the left main wheel was at least 50 meters behind the gyro.
The nose wheel and left main wheel broke off.
You could see the trench in the ground as the gyro skidded to a stop.
I’m sure the accident investigators will be able to determine the speed of the gyro at impact.

We have friends that live there and there were lots of people down there for the weekend including kids.

All in all a sad day for the families of the deceased, the pilot and the spectators.

RIP.
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Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by Roger » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:54 am

That paints a rather grim picture. Forget about regs and their enforcement etc, that pilot is going to punish himself and be traumatised for a loooong time to come.
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Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by BigglesSA » Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:59 pm

Roger wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:54 am
That paints a rather grim picture. Forget about regs and their enforcement etc, that pilot is going to punish himself and be traumatised for a loooong time to come.
Dito Roger dito.... :(
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Re: Gyro emergency landing - one person dead

Unread post by cage » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:05 pm

Roger wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:54 am
That paints a rather grim picture. Forget about regs and their enforcement etc, that pilot is going to punish himself and be traumatised for a loooong time to come.
Not nearly as long as civil litigation is going to punish him.
This is the sort of thing that can ruin your life.

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