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ISSUE 22 - July 2008
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They have came a long way baby (but we still have a way to go!)

By Timothy Heilig, Falcon Gyro Project Builder and Student Pilot
Greensboro, North Carolina

Click picture to enlarge

Ok, after receiving several E-mails requesting more information on Gyroplanes, here is my second write up. In our last article we touched on some of the sport Gyroplane history and design as well as the evolution of these aircraft.

Now I hope no one went out and bought the first Gyroplane ya saw on E-bay.

Don’t get me wrong, there are several nice used Gyroplanes for sale. Actually, right here on Barnstormers you will find some great deals, both for homebuilt Helicopters and Gyroplanes.

That being said, let’s review some off the things future Gyroplane pilots should look for,.

Buyer beware! There are still a lot of out dated Gyroplanes floating around on the market. We need to pay attention to this for the F.A.A. has recently changed some rulings, greatly affecting Gyroplanes and other ultralight aircraft. If you are looking at a used Gyroplane, look for one which is properly licensed and inspected.

You may find a Gyroplane listed as an Ultra light, look over these ads very carefully. If it is over 254 pounds empty (and most Gyro’s are) it will not be a legal ultra light.

Now, there are a few Gyroplanes that are truly ultra light, but you can rest assured they are stripped of all bells and whistles and if it has a VW or Subaru engine, you can bet it is not a true ultra light.

Other points regarding your Gyroplane, many have been designed with what is referred to as a High Thrust Line. This means the line of thrust of the engine is higher then the center of gravity. Why is this of concern?

If a Gyroplane has a high thrust line, and a high powered engine, the resultant thrust contributes to pitch instability in aircraft. If a Gyroplane pilot, in a high angle climb, pushes the stick forward without reducing power (as a pilot might in a fixed wing aircraft) it could unload the rotors. This is a bad thing. When a Gyroplane’s rotors are unloaded, it can go over on its back and not recover. This is referred to as a bunt over.

A well designed horizontal stabilizer will help prevent a bunt over, but a center line thrust design Gyroplane is much better.

In the center line thrust design, the propeller's thrust is lower down and pass through the aircrafts center of gravity. The Gyroplane I am building is of the center line thrust design. Below is a picture of my Falcon Gyroplane. This aircraft is modified with a larger Subaru engine and buck horn stabilizers. These stabilizers (designed by Don Parham) have proven very helpful in stabilizing a number of high thrust line Gyroplanes.

Click picture to enlarge
Falcon Gyroplane with the Center Line Thrust Design

I am confident that the center line thrust design of my Falcon, and the large horizontal stabilizer mounted within the prop blast, will produce a super stable Gyroplane. With the full body enclosure I am installing, I hope to end up with a very nice cross country Gyroplane.

Note in the photo where the center of the propeller thrust line is. The aircraft is my Falcon in its early stages. The rotor head has since been raised for better tail clearance.

The second photo shows the Don Parham Stabilizer, temporarily mounted.

Click picture to enlarge
Don Parham Horizontal Stabilizer, Temporarily Mounted

Now, about flying Gyrocopters. Without regard for how many hours you may have in a fixed wing aircraft or helicopters …. YOU WILL NEED PROPER GYROPLANE TRAINING!!

These aircraft do not fly like a helicopter or an airplane. Don’t get me wrong, they are very safe when properly built and flown by a pilot with proper training, but the mere fact that the wings are rotating means they can do many strange, but many times fun things that fixed wing aircraft and some helicopters cannot do. To view some great Gyroplane flying, go to and search Gyroplanes or Gyrocopters. Recently several members of the rotary wing forum have posted some great videos demonstrating what a properly trained Gyro pilot can do.

OK. Now that you are fired up and want to see one up close and personal, in August, the Popular Rotorcraft Association will hold its annual Rotorcraft fly-in in Mentone, Indiana. Check the forum or the P.R.A. website listed below for more info. There you will be able to watch, and even get rides with some of the best Gyroplane pilots and instructors in the World. There will also be Gyroplanes for sale there, should you really get bitten by the Gyro bug.

I am going to try and make it to Mentone myself (for the first time) and am looking forward to meeting and making new friends. Who knows maybe one will be you.

Given Barnstormers indulgences, I will cover more of my construction progress and flight testing in future issues of The Barnstormers EFlyer

Fly safe.

Click picture to enlarge
Falcon Gyroplane with Body Enclosure

Timothy Heilig, Falcon Gyro Project Builder and Student Pilot

Please visit or to learn more about Sport Rotorcraft, CLT and HTL Gyroplanes and other safety issues.

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