Please feel free to get in touch, especially for any gyro-related questions. I’m no expert by any means, nor do I posses any of the supposedly ‘higher levels’ of rotary-winged qualification, but having been happily autorotating for 26 years – I’m still here!
The very core of gyroplane flight is the free-spinning rotor blade – it’s the heart and soul of everything and it’s unique to our aircraft. I’m still here after 26 years because the emphasis of all my training was on proper, manual rotor handling. The only ‘instruments’ required are eyes, ears, empathy and touch – and a piece of string. Not only that, it’s great fun!
It truly pains me how gyroplane training has regressed since the arrival of factory-built machines, the emphasis now placed on monitoring instruments and flying by numbers when there’s so much more to it than that. Learning proper rotor management is absolutely VITAL, yet self-styled ‘experts’ cornered the training market and labelled manual rotor handling and aerodynamic spin-up as old fashioned. You only have to take a look at the accident reports to see where that has led. This wonderful sport should be so much better than this by now, but we keep going further and further down the wrong path, blindly following all the pretty whistles and bells being added to the shiny new gyroplanes. They are false gods, distracting students from the fundamental heart of gyro flight.
Just as painting-by-numbers can never hope to replicate the Mona Lisa, likewise flying by numbers only gives you half the story – PLEASE, FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY do not be fooled. Read Short Hops and the other rotor handling articles on this site, it’s all here to help for free.
The practice of aerodynamic spin-up gives more ‘feel’ for the autorotational principle than a thousand words.
Wing Commander K.H. Wallis
If you have any questions, doubts or worries about gyroplane flying, please don’t be afraid to ask. It’s all confidential and nothing will be published. I’ve made many an autorotational mistake in my time, so don’t be embarrassed: Ken Wallis always said that those who never make a mistake never make anything! If my advice can help to prevent an accident, that’s all that matters to me – it’s up to you whether you choose to take it or not.
My name is Shirley, and I’m a rotorholic.