Opportunity to Explore the World of Gyros
Today we had some tropical Florida weather systems roll in. Denny and I decided to cut the flight short this morning after practicing a few of the critical flight maneuvers. Winds were gusty and rain was in the mix, although not steady, had been blowing in off the ocean and creating unpredictable rain showers. Being in an open cockpit you do get we with rain so we called it a day.
This gave me a chance to take some time alone in the hanger and study the different models and types of Gyros that Cloud9 Helicopters had in stock. All made by Autogyro of Germany. The three models I had a chance to explore were the MTO Free which I wrote about in an earlier blog, the MTO Sport which I am doing most of the flying in, and the top of the line Cavalon.
Here is a rundown of each of these (see the photos above, each ship is in the order below)
MTO Free: Its name invokes its function, or as they say form follows function. Note that there is no fuselage on this gyro. It’s all out in the open, free. The first gyros were mostly all like this starting in the 1950’s with the Benson Gyro. The Free is a modern version of that. As a bonus the free comes with tundra tires. These are large balloon tires which allow you to land pretty much on any surface which is great. I had a hour or so in this machine it was an incredible experience. Note this model comes with a plug in for your electrically heated suit if you need it. In addition, you can put a fuselage on this ship-see the MTO Sport because it takes the same fuselage. I can see this as a very attractive alternative to a Piper Cub or Super Cub.
MTO Sport: A popular model, especially in Europe. The best analogy for this ship is a motorcycle. This is the model I now have about 11 hours of flying in. The open cockpit with windscreen feels amazing. Even in the rain it wasn’t too bad. This model also comes with electrically heat suit connectors. I’ve had a chance to fly it from both the front and back seats. The MTO makes for a great training aircraft and you can find numerous YouTube videos of this ship.
Cavalon: The top-of-the-line machine from Autogyro. Its side-by-side seat makes for an all-around great machine. I won’t have a chance to fly it this week but did take the opportunity to sit in it. Taking a cross country trip in this ship would be a piece of cake. Comfortable with cabin head, leather seats and great views.
I’ve been asked by some fellow fixed-wing pilots how much fuel these gyros burn. Not much. About like most light sport aircraft, and these fall into that category, about 4-5 gallons per hour at cruise.
Regarding the sale of Gyros in the US, the FAA has for now not included them in the certified aircraft category. These are all sold as experimental aircraft. That means they need to be assembled. However, it only takes about 100 hours and most are built assisted by factory trained personnel. Unlike experimental fixed wing aircraft that can take 1000-2000 hours.
Plus now the FAA is allowing instruction in these aircraft which is a good thing.
So that’s a primer on Gryos. Let’s hope tomorrow the weather is good and I am back up in the air.