Saturday, January 4, 2014

Childhood Memories

My passion for flying goes back to my childhood.   I started building model airplanes in 1st Grade.  Most of them were fighter planes from WW II.  About that same time, I remember jumping off my friends garage with a bed sheet for a parachute.  That only happened once!

Another memory is of a Benson home built gyrocopter sitting on the back of a trailer in Deleon, Texas near my uncle James Burkeen's house, like the one in the photo to the left.  Dr. Igor Bensen invented these machines and I can remember seeing ads in Popular Mechanics for ordering the plans to build them.  They used either VW motors or 2-Stroke McCulloch Aircraft engines for Drones used by the military for targets.

The original Benson was fairly stable since the engines used were both direct driven with no gear reduction for the propeller and unlike the photo above they did not have a horizontal stabilizer and most of the builders taught themselves how to fly by reading books from Dr. Benson.

Unfortunately, in the 90's builders began using Rotax 2-Stroke engines with gear reduction drives and bigger props.  In order to accommodate the larger props they had to raise the engines up on the frame.  This raised the center of thrust and without horizontal stabilizers and with inexperienced pilots, they started bunting over and tumbling to the ground.

As a result, almost all modern day gyrocopters are center line thrust with huge horizontal stabilizers.  Another change today is that gyrocopter 2 place trainers and instructors are available and a must for anyone wanting to build and fly these machines.  You can read more about gyros here: GyrosAway

New Light Sport Aviation Blog

I am new to blogging and have decided to use this medium to share and chronicle both my past and future experiences in light sport aviation.  Here is a photo taken in 2004 from one of my favorite ultralight planes that I have owned, a Weedhopper.  My niece April is sitting in it, while my daughter Mikayla looks on.  My next blog will include stories of my aviation experience and I will alternate those stories with my aviation future goals.