AT NO RT H
PRA CHAP TER 73 ww
Founded April 17, 1989
The Great Northwest
Sport Rotorcraft Association
RAF T A
NWAAC FLY-IN DEBRIEF- PRA73
by Gary Kaminski
I’m sitting here at the
NWAAC fly-in 8/19,
Sunday AM. (Thanks
Bob for taking the
picture as proof.) This
is a good opportunity
to reflect on what
worked and what could
be better at an event
like this in the future.
There are people milling about and airplanes taxiing to
leave. It rained all night and a little this morning, but the
weather is improving minute-by-minute. There has not
been anyone showing up at our tents this morning other than
Jonathan Fant and myself. (Well, a handful of Boy Scouts
came by hoping to get on Jonathan’s flight simulator, which
he left at home.) Rich Stewart arrived later in the morning.
Bob Johnson and Phil Stevens camped here overnight. Phil
set up his tent under the PRA73 awnings, so he stayed dry.
Bob slept in his van both Friday and Saturday night.
The rain did ruin our picture board and one of the cardboard
posters that did not get put undercover at the end of the day
on Saturday. (People were tired and that was one detail that
Saturday was a busy day for those of us manning the PRA73
tents. Brock Steiner flew his Vortex to MMV to join my
RAF 2000. The downside; we only had two gyros here on
Saturday, and just one (my RAF 2000) on Friday. The
upside; those two gyros brought people in to talk.
Brock Steiner’s Vortex and Gary’s RAF 2000 at MMV
We experimented with something new this year. Bob was
able to negotiate power to our site by way of a generator. It
didn’t arrive until later Friday afternoon. The original one
that was promised did not work, so we ended up with a
rented one, which we very much appreciated.
Rich Stewart and others watch a Gyro
DVD on one laptop, while the flight
simulator is running on a second.
Rich Stewart and Fred
man the booth
on Friday at
Jonathan ran his flight simulator software, and I played
Donley gyro videos. (The “Gyro Slicer” was a hit.)
What we learned was that we really didn’t reach many
people with the computer offerings. Jonathan ended up
mostly entertaining a group of local Boy Scouts. Once in a
while someone would sit down with a desire to see how a
gyro flys. It turned into more of a video game for the kids
(not what was intended).
There were only a few people who watched a video. Maybe
a big screen would have helped. People were more drawn
to the “real” thing on the flight line and would rather talk
with one of us.
The mechanical simulators seemed to be more interesting to
some. We had a number of fixed-wing pilots sit down and
try out the rolling-ball platform. Mostly kids tried the chair
simulator, but the occasional parent would give it a try as
seen in the following picture. One of the larger “kids”
popped a chair spring, so we had to retire it for the day.
Friday afternoon the airport traffic died down so I took the
opportunity to take the RAF 2000 up for 3 circuits of
There was a nice wind down the runway, so I was able to
demonstrate a couple 0 mph landing rolls. I also used the
opportunity to take a couple pictures of our site from the air.
(AND..., the flight was fun!)
The brochures were nice to have to hand out to the many
people who asked questions. We never thought to take an
inventory of how many we handed out. Bob says we can
count what we have left. Bob made a good suggestion to
place some of the brochures on my gyro since many people
stopped to see the machine but did not stop in at the table.
On Friday we had “adequate” PRA73 member coverage. In
the morning we started with Bob, me, and Jonathan to do the
initial setup. I had flown in, so Jonathan stopped by my
house on his way to McMinnville to pick up things I was
storing (a BIG help to have him take that detour).
Jonathan, me and Bob (behind the camera) did the
We were here
When I landed, I was greeted by a young man who asked me
if I wanted to talk about gyros. I said sure, as he explained
he was with the local McMinnville AM radio station
(1360). I was “on air” for about a minute or two describing
my gyro, and what it is (rotary wing) and is not (helicopter).
Besides talking to the public, the weekend was a nice
chance for some of us PRA 73 members to catch up with
each other. Meeting days usually don’t allow a lot of time
for us to do that. Some of the people who showed up on
Saturday; Kevin Richey, Dan Dalke, Clint Martindale, Jim
Shawcross, Phil Stevens, Ray and Addie Bruce, and others
I may have missed. My daughter Teresa even showed up
and brought a few goodies for us workers. Jonathan and
Rich also brought some goodies to keep our blood-sugar up.
When Brock left Saturday afternoon many people watched
Rich arrived mid-morning and helped add some more water
buckets to tie awnings down and then was available to talk
with the public. Another body or two would have been
welcome at 9:00 am to set up the awnings and other items.
Fred arrived later and spent a number of hours at the front
table keeping the public entertained. He also shared interesting stories about his contact with some of the planes
parked near us. I told one person that stopped to visit that
Fred was the PRA73 club’s official “leg-puller”. (If you
haven’t heard Fred’s jokes/stories, then you won’t understand that comment.)
Sunday was mostly a bust from the standpoint of meeting
the public and talking rotorcraft. I did not fly my gyro to
MMV because it was still raining at 7 am. While I sat typing
this article our members talked amongst themselves.
Around noon Jonathan noted that most of the other vendors
were packing up. He suggested we break down the display,
as there really wasn’t anyone left to talk with.
Rich, Bob, myself, and Jonathan started tearing down. Phil
came by just in time to help finish up. The extra bodies
made quick work of the teardown task.
In telling this story I mixed up the events a bit, but to sum
up what did work well:
The carports were great. They kept the sun off, and on
Saturday night, they kept things dry. The wall kit provided
shade, and when it got warm I just lifted the bottoms a bit to
let the wind come through at our feet. The brochures were
nice to give to people who showed an interest in our
machines. The pictures on the board and magazines on the
table gave people something to look at while stepping out of
the sun for a few minutes.
I can’t say how many people actually saw the sign that I set
up out near the center display area, trying to direct people
our way. We can also set this out on regular meeting days.
The help sign-up sheet worked in that people showed up
when they said they would. Having just two people at the
booth wasn’t really enough when it got busy. It was nice to
have extra PRA 73 bodies around then. With the flight
simulator, one person needed to stay dedicated to that.
It has been a couple days since I started this article, and I
think it is time to wrap it up. I won’t be able to make the
Sept. 8 meeting, so I guess this article will serve as my
debrief on the McMinnville event. I look forward to hearing
from some of the other PRA 73 members who were there to
have other points of view on how it went.
Gary got 2.4 hours of flying in during the NWAAC
fly-in weekend between commuting back-and-forth
to Lenhardt’s airport and with doing a little pattern
work at the fly-in on Friday and Saturday.
There was no August meeting therefore, no meeting
minutes. But Jonathan Fant did send in the following status
1. My Vancraft Rotor Lightning is now officially in the process of conversion to E-LSA. The registration has been
sent in and all taxes are paid.
2. There are a number of small items to prepare the Vancraft
for the required airworthiness inspection. The worst is a
repair to the fiberglass shell. A small area of impact damage must be sanded out, reglassed, filled and feathered,
and painted. A new instrument pod is on the way and the
motor will be back from the shop in a week or so. The
muffler will be getting a ceramic coating thanks to the
lead that Brock gave me. My muffler will be black to
match the color scheme instead of the chrome look that
Brock’s has. It will last much longer than hi-temp paint.
3. My flight training is scheduled to start Aug 26th with
4. I have recently purchased X-Plane V8.6 and installed the
RAF2000 model. The graphics are great but the gyro is
a bit quirky in X-Plane since you have to deal with a
clutch between the engine and the rotor (sort of a
pre-rotator but not really). If we get a chance at a future
meeting I would like to see what RAF pilots think of the
5. The balance chair had a mechanical failure during the
MMV fly-in. A small s-hook launched itself into a
mouse hole or some other unknown region. I should be
able to replace it with a standard s-hook from the hardware store.
Jonathan E. Fant, P.E.
September 8, 2007
Sport Copter hangar at Scappoose, OR airport (SPB)
This months PRA Chapter 73 potluck and meeting will
be held at the Sport Copter hangar at the airport in Scappoose, OR. The potluck is at noon followed by a 1:00pm
For information, contact PRA 73 President
[email protected] (503-665-4449)
September 28, 29, & 30, 2007
El Mirage, CA dry lakebed
The Ken Brock Rotorcraft Association of Southern California, PRA - Chapter One fly-in
Friday afternoon started getting busy at the NWAAC flyin
A NEW GYRO FLYER’S STORY
by Benjamin Meyers
(Editor Note: Benjamin, based at Creswell airport recently
bought a new-to-him used RAF 2000. He contacted me to
see if I could help him get in the air. I had to decline, but I
tried pointing him to people that might help. Here is his
story, which I asked if he would be willing to share .)
Hello Fellow Gyro flyers.
My name is Benjamin Meyers, a proud owner and soloist of
an RAF 2000!!! I have been asked to tell my story from the
beginning to the solo flight.
First of all, a brief run down on my flying or past experiences. I am the 4th son of a family of 7 boys no girls.
My father loved flying, however never pursued the hobby.
Instead when my 3 oldest brothers became of legal ages to
fly, 16 to 18, my father paid for their flight lessons up to
obtaining a private, fixed-wing pilots license.
The third oldest brother, David, and I both became interested in flying gyrocopters when I was 19.
David and I went to Tracy California to learn how to fly
gyrocopters with CFI instructor Marion Springer. She has
been around the industry for a long time.
Shortly after age 19 I simply concentrated on other things,
because I could not come up with the money to purchase my
own gyrocopter. However my brother David, did continue
this passion, as well as sky diving. He became a fixed-wing
pilot, first single-engine, then later added a multi-engine
rating, and then he obtained his commercial pilot license.
David landed a job in Alaska as a commercial pilot up in
Nome. He worked as a commercial pilot for almost 8
months, before he finally crashed into a mountain on Little
Diameed Island, Alaska. The death of my brother David at
the age of 26 years old eliminated any desire to fly for me at
all, until the last 3 years.
However, deep inside of me I have always dreamed of
flying the gyrocopter.
February 2007, at age 49 years old, or young, (30 years
later) I came across the opportunity of purchasing an RAF
2000 GTX SE at the very right price, in which I could not
resist. I have always been interested in a fully-enclosed
gyrocopter, but I knew I would never have the time to put
into building a kit package.
In March of this year, I received the dream of my past, an
RAF 2000 with only 168 hours on it. It did not have a
horizontal stabilizer. I picked up a horizontal stab. the same
day I pick up the gyro.
Therefore, my story continues with the extensive efforts I
went through to get to the point of my current status of
After receiving my RAF 2000 back in March 2007, I
contacted Sport Copter in Scappoose, OR. I was introduced
to John Hardy as a CFI who could train me to fly
I made several trips to Scappoose and flew in Sport Copter’s
Vortex II, 2 place tandom gyro. I logged about 8 hours
training in this machine.
However I wanted to find some training in an RAF 2000
nearby. I was completely unsuccessful. The nearest CFI
instructors are in Edmington, AB. Canada, Utah, or
At this point beginning in late May I found SparrowHawk
in Auburn, WA., and began receiving CFI flight instructions
from David Overman, an excellent instructor. I received
training from May to June with another 10+ hours of
training in a SparrowHawk. At which time I was ready to
solo in a SparrowHawk (center line thrust). David Overman
highly recommended that I first fly with someone in their
RAF 2000 to get the feeling of flying the RAF 2000, before
I ever attempt to fly my own, RAF 2000.
I took David Overman’s advise. I first tried to talk Gary
Kaminski into letting me fly with him in his RAF 2000, or
even fly in mine. For liability reasons, Gary explained his
wife would not allow him to make such flights.
I was introduced and contacted Randy Rogers, and asked to
fly with him in his RAF 2000. I was able to fly with him on
2 separate occasions.
The first flight with Randy was a real scary eye opener for
me. After we obtained Randy’s desired altitude he asked if
I would like to take over the cyclic control for some straightand-level flight time.
I proclaimed proudly; “yes! I would love to.” Almost
immediately (within 15 seconds), I found myself getting
into some serious pilot induced oscillations. I was going up
at a steep climb, then after trying to correct, diving at a steep
angle, then attempting to make my (wrong) correction
again, we are climbing up hard feeling the “G” force, after
which Randy then took over to correct my mistakes. My
stomach was feeling a little woosy.
Randy put us back to the straight-and-level again and asked
if I was ready to try it again. I said: “Okay.” I took the stick,
and this time it seemed like it was less than the first time (15
seconds) 8 seconds, and I was back into the same three hard
pilot induced oscillations.
Randy recovered again for me. I then said to Randy; “Oh
my word. This feels like I am starting all over, as if it is my
first flight in a gyrocopter.” I could not believe the amount
of sensitivity the RAF 2000 has to keep it straight-and-level.
I tried about 2-3 more times with hardly any improvement
in the 2 hour flight with Randy.
The second flight in Randy’s RAF 2000 was flying into the
Arlington fly-in. It was about an hour up and an hour back.
My first sign of improvement was on our way back to
Auburn, WA. where Randy keeps his RAF 2000. I was able
to keep the RAF 2000 straight-and-level for about 10-15
minutes and on course.
What I took home from these experiences was a great
respect for the sensitivity of the RAF 2000 flight handling.
So, I tried everything I could do to get someone locally, who
may be qualified to train me in my RAF 2000 in my machine
and in my town, with NO success.
Then I called an instructor in Edmondton, AB. Canada. He
was booked until the end of September.
I checked with RAF 2000 instructors in Utah, Arizona,
Arkansas, and Florida. All were booked up longer than I
wanted to wait. I did not want the summer go by while I
waited for the training I needed in my RAF.
After a few days, I contacted Ed Newbold, CFI of the RAF
2000 in Columbus, OH. I had previously learned from Gary
Kaminski that 2 other gentlemen with an RAF 2000 in the
McMinnville, OR. area were also looking for an instructor
to teach them to fly in their RAF 2000.
They were first told by a third party that maybe David
Overman, in Auburn, WA. could be the CFI they were
looking for. I learned that was not accurate information. So,
I contacted Duane Buxton and his father to enquire if they
would be interested in sharing the cost of the flight of Ed
Newbold from Columbus, OH. They said; “yes!”
The plan then was for Duane and his father to bring their
gyro to Creswell, OR. airport, because I did not have a
trailer to transport my gyro as they did.
Ed is an excellent CFI, with an RAF himself who came to
Oregon to do a “crash training session” for the full weekend.
7 am to 8 pm.
Therefore, when we got Ed Newbold to Creswell Airport he
did not really get any real rest. He was flying on alternate
turns between 3 of us, using only 2 different RAF 2000s.
Having 3 of us split Ed’s travel and motel costs truly helped
out on the expenses for all of us.
During these flight lesson, I never once got myself into the
PIO, due to my flight time with Randy Rogers. Thank-you,
After another 7.4 hours of dual time in my own RAF 2000,
I finally soloed on Monday 23rd, 2007 at 7:15am.
I want to express to all readers, it is so well worth hiring a
really qualified CFI for the RAF 2000, such as Edward
Newbold (email address: [email protected]) as I
did. I also can not express enough, to get the training FIRST
before trying to fly on your own without proper solo sign-off
for flying your RAF 2000.
On my first day using my solo sign-off I flew for 1 hour and
40 minutes. I flew over my family’s houses, customers,
offices, doing steep turns as well as vertical descents. I had
a “ball” flying. I hope all of the newcomers do too.
Please, fly safe and get the right training for an RAF 2000.
Benjamin and Ed on approach to landing at
by Gary Kaminski
First off if you haven’t already heard, I
want to pass on the sad news that Dave
Wiley died July 28, 2007 in a seaplane
accident. Bob Johnson sent $50 to the
Dave Wiley Memorial Scholarship
Fund on behalf of PRA Chapter 73.
On a lighter note I want to express special thanks to
Benjamin for writing and submitting his article (and he isn’t
even a PRA 73 member.) Also, thanks to Jonathan for
submitting his builder’s report.
Here is another reminder for you flying and building
members to send in your news to [email protected] Help
make this newsletter interesting.
as reported on pra73.net website
This SparrowHawk has many extras to include: ICOM
radio, intercom with MP3 input, (goes to half volume when
talking to your passenger, and cuts music out when you talk
on the radio or when someone else is talking on the radio)
removable passenger cyclic, electric trim with hat switches
on fighter style grips, ptt on grips, intercom override on
grips, removable doors, upgraded langing gear, triple flash
strobes, nav lights, landing lights, (approved for night
flight) 2.5 Suburu engine. Interior has red and white lighting
for night flight, heater, 105 amp alternator, aviation halon
Has 186 hours on airframe and engine as of 6-10-2007. The
radio PTT and trim hat switches have a switch that allows
either both seats to have control, or to isolate to either seat,
that way, a student or passenger can be shut off if needed.
Inside is grey and black zolotone, very durable. 12v ACC
plug to charge or run cell phones, GPS, ect.
The next PRA73 chapter potluck is September 8th,
at noon followed by a 1:00pm meeting at the
Scappoose Airport, the Sport Copter hangar.
Email [email protected] with any questions.