Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Gyroplanes Love Wind

For local in the pattern flying I now prefer having some wind!  Last night I experienced my first flight since January with no wind.  I had become rusty at landing with no wind, especially with a dead stick.  Nothing major, I just did not like the first two landings with zero throttle.  The first one, I came down a bit slow and hard, but, landed in the spot I was planning.  On the next landing, I wanted to maintain more airspeed and wound up with a fairly smooth landing, but, not where I wanted to land and wound up way down the runway.  On my final approach, I decided to use the throttle to ease the machine down the final few feet with less airspeed than the second approach and hit the spot I was looking for.
Needless to say I need to practice more when the wind is not blowing.  I have been spoiled by the winds that have been persistent the past several months.  Having a 5-15 mph or more wind in your face, even a quartering crosswind makes taking off and landing much easier.   The rotors spin up quickly on take off and the ground speed for both the take off and landing is much slower.  Landing requires a little less throttle into the wind and always results in very minimal ground roll.
On cross country trips this summer most days will be with little wind and with a higher density altitude both thrust and rotor performance will be reduced increasing the need for longer take off rolls and more throttle on final down to the runway.

Just a couple of days later I took The Beast out for a quick 15 minute flight.  Once again there was no wind, but, the temperature and humidity were both lower thus a much lower density altitude.   I also only had 4 gallons of fuel on board compared to the previous flight of 12 gallons.   The landings were all much easier to perform requiring less throttle.  I also kept the nose down longer as I started to settle through ground effect.   The combination of better technique combined with a machine that was performing much better resulted in all three landings being very smooth.

Gyroplanes are affected by density altitude as much and perhaps more than fixed wing aircraft.   Gyroplane pilots must keep all the performance factors listed above in mind when taking off and landing, especially on short and or grass fields.

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