Tuesday, October 16, 2018

What's all the fuss about?

Today I flew the Gyro to Felthorpe, which is in Norwich Control Zone. Because it is Class D airspace it is controlled from the surface to 3,500', so you have to talk to air traffic control to enter the zone, and even though you are landing and taking off at another airfield - not Norwich airport - you have to report your movements on their frequency. Andy handled the calls, while I did the flying.

I am feeling bloody marvellous because Andy said, "To be honest, that was a bloody brilliant landing". Now I don't know if he is just boosting my confidence (I am a teacher myself, so I know how it goes), but hope he meant it.

Andy has a student at Felthorpe. They did a couple of sorties. In between, I had forty minutes doing circuits. I did 4 landings, all of which were pretty good. I am feeling really fine about landing. 

Here's the thing, though. When you are learning to fly ab-initio, whatever you fly, conventionally - whether flexwing or fixed - the landings are the hard part and take hours of circuits (take-off, go round and land) to master. But with gyroplanes, the tricky bit is the take-offs.

After pre-rotating the rotor up to 220rpm you perform a smooth 4-part operation: disengage pre-rotate, stick back, release break, full throttle  ...and all the time keeping nose-wheel straight. Then as you hurtle along the strip you want 60mph before climbing out. But you un-stick before then, which means flying along close to the ground until you have the speed to rotate. To get to speed you need to keep your nose down, but that means that you risk coming back down with a bump, so it is a delicate balance. What makes this particularly exciting is that there is a line of trees at the end of the runway. You can clear their tops at 60; at 50 you may well end up in them.

I am finding that a lot of what we do is very similar to other aircraft, so you can appreciate why already-licenced pilots are given credit. I only have to do a minimum of 25hrs, instead of 40. But I think I have an advantage over people who have only done fixed wing flying before. As I started on flexwing, I am used to short approaches and steep descents, which I imagine might be pretty scary to someone used to approaching in shallow long approaches.

According to the chap who wrote the gyroplane bible,
 there is a stage in the syllabus where you wonder what all the fuss was about. 

I am at that stage.

Apparently it comes not long before, 
"Oh crikey, now I see what all the fuss is about!".

Monewden - Felthorpe 50 mins
Felthorpe circuits 40 mins
Felthorpe - Monewden 1hr 10

Total time today= 2 hrs 40

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Why gyro-tyro?

I am going to learn to fly autogyros and I am going to blog about it here. A tyro is a beginner or novice. 

Tyro is a word which has its origin in the Latin for a recruit or young soldier. However, I first heard the word when studying for my Radio Telephony licence for flying microlights. Tyro was used as a prefix at the start of radio transmissions between student pilots and air traffic control, though I gather that it has since been changed to "student", as I suppose most people simply don't know what tyro means.

I will stick with tyro. I like words, and of course I like the fact that it rhymes with Gyro.