Free-dom in the air delivered by a Gyrocopter
On day three of my training I got to experience yet another first. The title of this post gives a hint. Denny, my instructor, introduced me to a new model Gyrocopter from Autogyro called the MTO Free. This is like the MTO Sport we trained with on the first two days. By the way training on different aircraft is a great way to enhance training and learning-good instructors know that.
Back to the MTO Free. This is a completely modern, new Gyrocopter with a touch of retro. Some may recall the first popular Gyrocopter, made in the 50‘s, called the Bensen Gyrocopter developed by Igor Bensen. At the top of this post I placed a picture of the MTO Free with me onboard next to the original Benson Gyrocopter. Although the differences may not be apparent the MTO Free has all the modern safety features and more. It’s truly both a backcountry and urban aircraft all in one. Note the tundra tires and the freedom seating (meaning no sides or bottom in the “cabin”-although you can get an open cockpit enclosure if you want).
The experience of flying this aircraft is second to none. It literally puts the pilot and passenger IN the air. You are out there.
Denny had me fly the maneuvers and emergency landings in the MTO Free. As Denny had said some students do better or worse in different models. In this case, I found the MTO Free a bit easier to fly. Not sure why and not big differences but for me a bit easier to make the maneuvers. Lots of wind in the face and you can dangle your feet I the air if you like. I recommend a full-face helmet or putting a small windscreen on the front.
After we finished with our practice, Denny had me fly to the swampy nature area for some low flight 100ft AGL. Just like day one we weaved and bobbed through the marshes and trees, this time with our feet out in the open. It’s not often you can see birds flying directly under your aircraft. Almost akin to a glass bottomed boat-but in the sky. I must say this is another experience second to none –one you can only get in a Gyrocopter. New perspectives you can definitively get this way.
Our lesson today started out in the MTO sport just like the other days. Got some good practice in with that ship. It was quite gusty today. So much so the pilots on the radio talked about it “being a bumpy ride today”. But for a Gyrocopter, no problem at all as we slice through the turbulence like a knife through butter. You hardly knew there was turbulence.
Still lots to perfect and learn which I am sure I will be doing in the coming days here with Denny and Cloud9 Helicopters. My next post will get into the details of what it’s like to pilot one of these amazing machines.