If you’ve ever typed the search phrase ‘gyrocopter training near me‘ into a search engine then congratulations for being someone with a sense of adventure. Once you’ve found somewhere that offers flights in these aircrafts your life will probably change for the better in all kinds of ways.
Learning to fly a gyroplane can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, would-be gyrocopter pilots in the United States must go through the FAA approved training syllabus in order to obtain a gyrocopter license rating. For some pilots this might be a conversion from an existing pilot’s license. For others it may be the first and only aircraft type that they learn to fly.
Gyrcopter, Gyroplane, Autogyro
The terms gyrocopter, gyroplane, and autogyro tend to be used interchangeably and the FAA recognised term is gyroplane. However, no one is likely to correct you whichever term you use. The important thing is flying them correctly and to a high standard.
A gyrocopter is a type of rotorcraft which uses an unpowered main rotor to develop lift. The free-spinning blades are angled so the craft develops forward thrust when they spin, and also provide stability during flight. This contrasts with helicopters that use powered rotors turned by engine(s) for propulsion.
Since the main rotor of a gyrocopter is unpowered and it is the forward thrust of the engine at the rear that propels the aircraft forward. Once there is enough airflow over the main rotor blades lift is generated. Gyrocopters are therefore STOL (short take off and landing) and not VTOL (vertical take off and landing) aircraft.
A gyrocopter is heavier than air, ungainly on the ground, largely incapable of off-airport operation without modification or conventional landing gear (with which it cannot take-off). Some gyrocopters have been fitted with floats for marine operations or skis for snowy or icy surfaces.
A gyrocopter is typically designed with a high rotor pylon to allow clearance of the tail and access under the boom, since gyroplanes are often operated from small fields in remote areas without extensive facilities. However, you can just as easily see them operating from you nearest regional airfield among the light sport aircraft and business jets.
Are gyrocopters easy to fly?
Gyrocopters are easier to fly than helicopters since they have three main controls; a stick, throttle, and rudder peddles. Generally they cruise at between 45 and 75 miles per hour. With a overall less complicated design, a single engine, and no tail rotor they cheaper to operate and to maintain.
When you mention the word gyrocopter most people will picture the single or two seat in tandem style with and open cockpit. Gyrocopter pilots sometimes describe them as the motorbikes of the skies because you’re exposed to the elements all around. Even in an open cockpit airplane there’s usually some protection from the elements for most of the pilot’s body and only the head and shoulders are exposed. In a gyrocopter the exposure is much greater, similar to flexiwing microlights.
However, there are also gyroplanes with closed cockpits like the German AutoGyro Cavalon and Calidus models. These have two seats side by side under closed streamlined canopy making them more comfortable for those who prefer not to have the wind in their hair. Prices for the Cavalon start at around $136,000 in the USA.
Short history of gyrocopters
The first successful rotary wing aircraft was the autogyro (autogiro), first flown in 1923 by Juan de la Cierva. The autogyro uses a freely spinning rotor to develop lift, with forward motion providing gyroscopic stability. While Cierva’s autogyro could not take-off or land vertically like a helicopter, it did have the advantage of being able to fly slowly and safely at very low altitude.
The popular term gyroplane was coined by American gyrocopter pilot G. Harry Stine in 1942, to differentiate the gyrocopters he had been flying from a helicopter – which had a rotating open-framework type of rotor system that allowed it to spin freely when going fast enough.
Pilots who fly gyrocopters typically wear comfortable clothing that won’t restrict their movement. This might include a T-shirt and jeans, or a flight suit if they are flying in colder weather. It’s important to be able to move freely when flying a gyrocopter, so that you can make any necessary adjustments to the aircraft. Some gyrocopter pilots also wear a helmet to protect their head in the event of an accident.
Around the world in a gyrocopter – James Ketchell
James Ketchell is a gyrocopter pilot who has flown around the world. He completed his journey in 2019 and it took him 175 days and 122 flights to complete a journey of 24,000 nautical miles. James flew a Magni 16 autogyro, registration G-KTCH. It’s a two-seat tandem open cockpit aircraft so James was exposed to all types of weather en route.
While James flew his gyrocopter around the world he gave talks to schoolchildren in various different countries along the way. He used social networking sites such as Instagram and Twitter to share photos of his journey with those back home.
James is a British adventurer and motivational speaker. He took off from Popham Airfield in Hampshire, UK in March 2019 and returned to the same airfield on completion of his journey. His achievement has been recognised by the Guinness World Records and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.
The versatility of gyrocopters
Gyrocopters equipped with floats can fly in a variety of different environments. For example, they can be used in coastal areas to transport goods and people between islands. They can also be flown in other rural areas where there is not a lot of traffic.
Gyrocopters are a great way to travel short distances, and they provide a unique view of the landscape below. They are also a great way to get around if there’s a low cloud base as they can take off and land in very small spaces.
Gyrocopters are becoming more and more popular and it’s likely that we will see more of them in the future. They provide a relatively affordable form of private flying compared to fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. They can operate from short grass fields and water, and most of all they are great fun to fly! Flying a gyrocopter at low level over the water or treetops has to be experienced to be appreciated. Book a trial lesson today!
Is there any gyrocopter training near me?
|Cierva Aero, San Francisco, California||Address: 561 Skyranch Drive, Petaluma, California|
Phone: +1 813-482-2626
|Adventure Air, Los Angeles, California||Address: Los Angeles, CA|
Phone: +1 310-570-9390
|Texas Autogyro, Texas||Address: David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport, Tomball, Texas|
Phone: +1 907-841-2409
|BeachFlight Aviation, Alabama||Address: 1215 Commerce Drive, Gulf Shores, Alabama|
Phone: +1 251-597-5999
|Gyromojo, Maryland||Address: Frederick, Maryland 21701|
Phone: +1 443-253-7681