The Gyro Training Adventure Continues
Arrived for the second day of my gyro rating training. I was still so excited from the day before I couldn’t stop thinking about the experience and just could not wait for day 2 to begin. I met my instructor, Denny, at the Cloud9 offices at the North Palm Beach County Airport. Today we got right to work and headed to the hangar. We pulled out the MTO, pre-flighted and headed out for the run-up.
Still things were fresh from the day before but a really good idea to refresh and build the memory. We practiced the high-speed taxis then headed out to do some maneuver work-those required in the standards manual. Just like in a fixed wing airplane we did the standard S-turns, turns about a point, slow flight, emergency landings, etc.
As I mentioned in my last post the emergency landing in a gyro is more helicopter than fixed wing airplane. This means you can land within 20 feet or less. Petty much any spot will do. You just don’t have the typical 10:1 glide ratio that fixed wing has. Instead it’s about 3:1.
The second day was just as fun as the first. The new perspective of being only 500ft AGL is amazing and a whole new world to see from the air. This aircraft makes doing practice maneuvers fun-really fun.
We then headed back to the field to practice some landings. Here is where the creativity and versatility of the gyro shines again. Normally in a fixed wing aircraft one does a normal landing plus both the soft and short field versions of that. In a gyro pretty much a normal landing is both a soft and a short field landing but how you approach those landings can be done in three different ways.
There is the standard landing plus the straight in, the spot landing and finally the European landing (ooh-la-la!). A straight in land is nearly identical to a standard landing in a fixed wing airplane. The spot landing is picking a spot on the runway and nailing it in the gyro. I know some of you are saying we do that in our fixed wing planes. However not like you can do in a gyro. Remember we can put this thing down on a runway in 20ft!
Finally Denny showed the me the European approach to landing. Now this is cool and a great new perspective on things again.
We approached the runway over the numbers at 500ft AGL. 500ft! Then abruptly we cut the power and pointed the nose to the runway, built airspeed, and flared out to land with in 20ft. You could never do this in a fixed wing, a helicopter of course.
As we were ending the day we were in the pattern one last time when yet another incredible discovery took place. We approached the base leg of or pattern when another aircraft appeared on long final. I told Denny we can’t get in front of him we are too slow and we need to extend our downwind leg to get in behind the other aircraft. He said, “watch this, we’ll just park the aircraft here and wait for him to pass”. I said to myself “park, at 500ft”? Yes indeed there was just enough headwind and we put the gyro in to slow flight. Yep we hovered in place and waited for the other plane to pass.
“Parking” a gyro in mid-air, now that’s incredible. I can’t wait for the next gyro adventure tomorrow.