I have always wanted to fly for a living and as a direct result
of building and flying the Helicycle helicopter, my dream has
come true. I have accepted a job as a helicopter pilot, flying a
modified OH-58/Bell 206, doing aerial application.
When I was considering the Helicycle, logging turbine time was a
big factor. Also, knowing that I needed an R22 solo endorsement,
I went to a Part 141 school that offered a transition course for
a commercial helicopter rating, since I already had an airplane
commercial rating. I completed the training and the Helicycle
and have been flying every chance that I get.
Now there I was, without a job, with commercial airplane and
helicopter ratings, 3000 total flight hours, almost 200
helicopter hours, and over 100 of that is turbine time. With a
cold call to a helicopter company in Texas and some charm, I had
an interview. A little more charm and bragging about building
and flying my turbine powered Helicycle, got me a job offer that
I accepted. I'll train with the ground crew for a few months and
then start flight training.
My story now needs to go back in time. In 2006, my son
Daniel enrolled in a helicopter flight training school in
Tomball, Texas. I got a call from him one day to ask me if I
knew about the Helicycle. Anthony Spagnoletti had just been
there with his Helicycle to visit one of Daniel's flight
instructors. Daniel saw Galen Cotton's Helicycle some time later
and called me again, all excited! My investigating the Helicycle
got me hooked, just like most of you that are reading this.
Daniel completed his training and was hired by his school as a
helicopter flight instructor. Three weeks after being hired, his
school, Silver State Helicopters, closed down. To say the least,
he was crushed. The day after he told me he was un-employed, I
called to tell him that I had accepted a helicopter pilot job. I
know that was bitter-sweet to him.
Now the rest of the story. Later the same day that I accepted
my new job, Daniel called to tell me he had an interview with
the company that had just hired me! Two days later, (yesterday)
he informed me that we were now working for the same
company! That's my son! They hired him too!
I am thankful and blessed to be able to tell this story.
Hopefully it will be an inspiration to others to complete their
dream. Please let me know if I can help in any way.
One way we are fortunate in having our
Experimental Helos is that we really can experiment with them.
T’was the day before Christmas Eve and I
thought of an experiment to investigate the aerodynamic and visual
aspects of Rudolph and his red nose. A red proboscis for the
Helicycle about the size of a soccer ball and large reindeer eyes
should provide the data. More importantly, Kathy has nieces and
nephews that could provide unbiased evaluation and observation.
My son, Daniel, a newly-certificated Helicopter
Flight Instructor, and I headed off to the local Wally World for
experimental aviation supplies. There we found a foam rubber ball
and some bright red acrylic hobby paint. There was one other stop to
pick up the red Santa flight suit. This is going to work!
Back home in the Skunkworks, the fabrication
started. A small sliver of the foam was cut from the foam ball to
make a flat spot to aid in mounting. About an inch in from the flat
area, I took a blade and made a cut through the ball to slip in an
aluminum mounting bracket and glue it in place.
made a sturdy mount and several coats of the red paint made the nose
Large white paper deer eyes taped inside the half
doors finished it off, and it was on!
Late afternoon on Christmas Eve, I donned the
Santa suit and loaded up the pockets with small candy canes wrapped
in plastic. Helicycle Rudolph One and I took off on a recon flight,
checking things out for Santa’s main delivery that would happen
later that night. Kathy’s sister and niece were close by, and this
would be a good test run.
We all get a lot of looks flying around in our
it in one decorated like Rudolph and dressed as Santa! Let me tell
you what a thrill it is to see a young child look up and wave at the
helicopter and then stop in their tracks when they realize it is
Santa! Even the grownups smiled and waved big when they realized
what they were seeing. When Santa waved back and
out a handful of candy, everyone was thrilled.
On Christmas Day, Santa needed to make another
recon run to check on the previous night’s present deliveries.
Loaded up with a bag of small presents and more candy, this sortie
would include stops.
the way, Santa kept a sharp eye out for children playing outside. A
trick ol’ Santa learned was to circle around a house when he saw
“Uncle Joe” outside having a smoke. “Uncle Joe” would make a holler
into the house, and it would empty out, and the kids and
grandparents and all would come out and wave and run to catch the
candy canes falling from Rudolph One.
The stops were great. The nieces and nephews
had Uncle Jim’s Santa cover blown in a millisecond. I think it was
the familiar Helicycle. The bag of presents made sure that I was
collecting unbiased scientific data. I do think, though, that the
experiment will need to be continued next year. Visions at the
Skunkworks are of felt-covered antennae and programmable multi-flash
internal strobe lighting for Rudolph’s nose!
From: Mark Whistler
Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2007 11:48 AM
Subject: And yet another story
Great story Jim. [See
I had an opportunity to do that one time for the local police but I
was on a
trip and missed out. My ship is on call for the men in blue whenever
need me too and I look forward to serving some day. On the day they
me there was a man in a field that was hiding from them and it was
that the dogs would go in and in about 10 minutes they would set
because of the heat. I would have seen the man easy in the bean
because he was wearing a orange shirt and he was crawling in the
that would have been an easy find from the air. It was less than a
from my house too. Dang job takes all the fun out of things.
Joe Loxterkamp and I had an adventure of our own yesterday. Here is
I am on somewhat of a night schedule so sleeping in like I do when
phone rang at 8 am that was kind of a wake up call for me. Well it
telling me he was heading to the airport and would be in the air at
I got up showered and then flew from my house to the airport to fuel
checked the weather for MENTONE Indiana and it was a bit hazy up
there so I
took my time. I flew to my first fuel stop and loaded up. The fueler
he had not seen me in a while and wondered where I had been. I said
been everywhere else he would just have to get out more if he wants
me.<G> From there I went to my next fuel stop that was to be about 7
from my destination. I fueled up and chatted a while. I found out
you tell the fueler all about your ship and then you go into the
and wash your hands that when you come out they are telling everyone
about your ship and you do not have to repeat it all over again.<G>
deal is Tell a Women, Telephone, Telegraph, or Tell a fueler....<G>
way you can communicate with everyone this way. OK so now I am
my ship and I call Joe... No answer so he must be there or is in the
He has had time to be there so I figure he is just getting there. I
and head that way and I am only 7 miles of so and at about 5 miles
out I am
listening to the local Unicom and I hear Joe call in to Mentone and
about 3 miles south. I call in and I am now about 3 miles west. I
overhead and dropped down into the pattern and in came Joe right
as if we had planned this and were coming in together. Pot Luck...
We shut down and here came the crowd to look over the ships. We got
share of the questions and even with the Jet Exec setting on the
next to us we were the show it seemed. I guess we scared the Exec
because shortly after we showed up he packed his toys up and went
Joe bought me lunch. What a treat and we sat and watched the people
for Doug to show with his purple ship. Meanwhile we were asked to
interview for the PRA bunch about our Helicycle. We said if they
the guru of the Helicycle would be there to interview and he can
of your questions. They said ok come back when he shows. Well like a
knock off watch Doug shows up. We chat with him a while and wait
till he is
parked and tell him about the interview. He agrees and off we go to
the word. They have three chairs set up for us, lights and a camera
set up and they do everything but put makeup on us. The interview
great and maybe someday we will all get to see that. We finish up
get Doug's ship out and put the blades on and as we do the crowds
It is time to go for Joe and I so we tell Doug goodbye and we head
ships. We take off and decide to do a fly bye and give the crowd a
sorts. We figured they have seen enough 50 mile per hour fly byes
day, it was time for a Helicycle 100 mph fly bye. With the turbine
sound and all. So we take off and I guess Joe decided he wanted to
quick stop so he demonstrated one of those unbeknownst to me since
behind me. We circle out and make our run and off we go to our next
stop. We get there and thank goodness it was a self serve because it
after 5 and they had closed up shop. They left the fuel on for us
and so I
fueled up first, Joe must have drained them dry on his way up
because the pump was
moving real slow and he could not get a fill up but enough to
his next stop. This is where our paths split and we were off. We
talk in the air for a while and the weather was moving in for my
thanks to the Garmin 496 with Nex Rad, I was looking at the weather
screen. I saw a ground speed at one time of 115 mph and so this
a lot faster than going up. I missed all the weather and made
stop and then back to the barn. When I got home it was still
so I fueled up and went out to a friends house and landed on the dam
lake that is by his house and just played around there. My back was
me from setting in the ship all day but it is just so worth it.
I get home and see that I have a call from Joe and so I call him and
out he is home as well and all want good and I told him I would call
and let him know we are safe at home and all tucked in. I call Doug
give him the good news and he said he would not have lost sleep if I
called.<G> I said so how did the fly by look? He said that was great
since we left he has been bombarded by questions from everyone
know about the ship and when he is going to fly his ship. He said I
fly tomorrow and they want to know what time so they do not miss it.
guess Homer is going to be there then so between the two of them
get plenty of questions.
I never got a chance to meet B J but I would imagine he would be
smiling from ear to ear right now at all the interest that this
little ship has caused. Thank you B J.
Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2007 9:22 AM
Subject: Another Episode in Helicycle Flying Adventures!
A deputy sheriff
that I recently met socially, came to my home yesterday and ask if I
would use the Helicycle in a search for some escaped convicts! The
two cons got out of a state prison, which is eight miles from my
house, by hiding in the bottom of a trash dumpster that was being
hauled to a dump.
It was believed
that they were in a two square mile area and the deputy thought
a helicopter would help find them. I thought this would be a really
cool! I gave the deputy a handheld VHF radio so I could talk to him
from the air and I fired up the Helicycle and away I went on the
Just after take
off I did a radio check with the deputy and it was loud and clear.
I flew around in a grid pattern in the search area, looking for two
guys on foot. This was all new to me. I could see police road
blocks, police cruisers on the roads and parked, men in uniform on
foot, news crews, and dog teams.
I tried to call
the deputy a few times and did not reach him. I saw his car in a
field and landed. There was a problem with the handheld that we
fixed and I was off again. I flew for over an hour and went back to
my home for fuel. At home I called the deputy on the cell phone and
he said the sheriff wanted me to carry a police handheld radio so we
arranged for a place I could land and pick it up.
On the way to that
landing area I saw the state police Jet Ranger that had joined in on
the search. I had been keeping an eye out, thinking other aircraft
may be in the area. Coincidentally he landed just ahead of me in the
field where I was going to meet the sheriff and the deputy. I had
met the state police pilot before at the helicopter flight school.
He was impressed with the turbine powered Helicycle. He told me they
use 123.450 for air to air communication. He stayed on the ground
and I fired up and took off again.
As I got back "on
station", a little police lingo there, the deputy called on the VHF
and told me where the blood hounds had picked up a trail. It was a
patch of thick woods about a mile long and a half mile wide. As I
circled, I could see the dog teams going in and out of the woods. I
knew I could not see the escapees in the woods, but I could see them
if they came out and tried to cross one of the fields.
After flying for
another hour or so, I went back home for fuel. While on the ground
the deputy called on the cell and said the cons had just been
captured! They were hiding in a creek bed when the dog teams found
them. The Helicycle had kept them pinned in so the dogs could go in
and get 'em!
One more episode in
Helicycle Flying Adventures.
From: Michael Belcher
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2007 1:15 PM
Subject: Weekend flying
Just a little update on Helicycle N6912B. After "shaking out
a few bugs"
(both literally and figuratively). My ship is performing
I flew my third cross country (80 mile round-trip) on
weather was warm, but the winds were calm. For this time of
the year in
the desert that is unusual. The occasional thermal over the
dry lake bed
does get your attention. Going from a 0 climb to a 500-600
without adding any power makes sure you are keeping an eye
on what is
The ship still draws a crowd. A man and his 6 year old
for me to shut down so they could come over and take a look.
I put the
boy in the seat and let him "fly around" a bit. I'll bet he
will be in
the Group 7 builders group :-)
A few other groups always seem to find their way over when I
her out to the ramp. The most common comment is "Wow, it's
turbine"?! You just have to love that.
I have a total time of 18 hours on her now. I try to fly at
least once a
weekend when the weather allows. I cannot wait to get the 50
off so I can take to Homers or Haps next year.
Keep building away! It WILL be worth the effort.
From: Mark Whistler
Sent: Thu 6/1/2006 7:30 PM
Subject: Joe's Checkout / Weather Stop
Well all you builders out there I just got back from
spending part of the
day over at I67 Harrison Co Airport or Cincinnati West
with Joe, Doug, Homer
and his wife. What a great ship Joe has put together.
Tweedy Bird is his nick name and it sure fits.
Well the day started with some weather on the Illinois
and Indiana border
and I thought this is good I will have enough time to
get over and spend a
few hours with the boys and then make it back before the
bad stuff hits. I
started out and went about 41 miles to an airport to get
a load of fuel and
then I could make it to Joe's airport and back to this
airport and still
have a little reserve. I get my fuel and head for Joe's
airport and there
set that Tweedy Bird in the grass and that is the only
time I was sure I was
at the right airport. When I get there Doug fires her
up and flies around
for a little doing autos and quick stops and just having
some fun. Then in
rolls Homer and his wife trailering his old Rotorway.
He is headed for
Colorado and then on to Nampa Idaho. We all head to the
restaurant and have
us a bite and then Homer heads out on the road and Joe,
Doug and myself head
back to the airport. I call my wife to tell her that I
am here safe and see
what the weather is doing there. When I get here she
says WHERE ARE YOU. I
said I am Northwest of Cincinnati why. She said well
that system is there
now and it is raining so you may have to stay there and
ride it out. I said
thanks and went into the fix base operation and they
brought up the radar
for me and there it was and it was moving fast. I
thought OK I should be
able to make it to the airport I stopped for fuel and
get on the ground
there and ride this out then I will only be 41 miles
from home. I watch
Joe takeoff and then I shake Doug's hand and say see you
at Homer's in July
and I head for my ship and get the heck out of there.
OK I can see this
line getting closer to me and I am watching my speed and
I am 10 miles from
my destination and directly in front of me is nothing
but dark wall and
lightning. I said self this will not do. I change
course for another
airport and it is lighter but the wind is starting to
pick up and I look
down and see this nice farm and there are people by a
tool shed so I just
drop it down and land on a lane by the shed and they
come out and pick me up
in a pickup and take me into there shed and we watched
the rain come and go.
I had a great time visiting with the farmer and his boys
and when the rain
was over I asked if he wouldn't mind selling me some
Diesel fuel. He said
no problem and so I bought 10 gallons off of him and
that gave me enough to
fly all the way back home. I made sure and paid him at
least twice for the
fuel than he wanted and would not have it any other
way. I also have him in
my GPS and plan on making it a regular part of my trips
in the future. I
had fun and at first I was kind of embarrassed but I am
here and not stuck
in a field somewhere wonder why didn't I stop when I had
the chance. The
rest of the flight was a bit damp an the backside but it
went well. I can
tell you this much. It was a cold front that came
Some day Joe we will do a formation flight over to this
farmer's place and
put on an airshow for him and his family.
The Bumble Bee is in the hangar and all the water is
dried up off the floor
pan and the cushion is airing out and I now have another
story to tell my
friends and you builders.
Keep building you guys because Doug said he was getting
bored and he needs
you all to swamp him with checkouts so he can have
something to do this
Till next time you all keep building and if you are
flying keep flying and
trust me when I say Joe has the grin.
I got a call this morning about 7am from a friend that works
big marine park here in Panama City Fla called Gulf World.
that a wild female dolphin with a small baby dolphin had
in the area of our main shipping channel. Now this is not so
here but the report also stated that the female was injured.
fishing hook was lodged in her skin just below the left eye.
World was organizing a rescue team to try and trap the
remove the hook. They needed some eyes in the sky to help
dolphin, my Helicycle and I were needed. Well twist my arm
must but who really needs an excuse to go flying and on such
beautiful morning as this. I had her fueled an setting on
pad in 23 minutes.(my helipad is here at my house and my
Pop,Pop,Whine,Poof the fire was lit and as the RPMs begin to
I thought to myself this is going to be great. 45,500 RPMs
Dragon began to roar. A sweep of the gages, flip a switch or
and with a quick look around the outside of the helicopter I
to get the blades turning. There's a sweet spot with your
where all the vibrations just seem to melt away and setting
flight idle I'm reminded of what a great helicopter this is.
Headset on and a quick radio transmit in the blind to see if
fire continues to burn I pull pitch breaking the bonds of
and float on a cushion of air three feet above the earth.
another time or two, sweep the gages, pedal turn to the
falling off my cushion of air I notice my airspeed indicator
alive. Gaining altitude a glance below reveals the darting
of fish in the shallow water frighten by the sudden
the Helicycle as I depart my helipad.(My home is on the
and departure is out over the bay).
Climbing out over the water I can see in the distance the
shipping channel and the tiny white dots of the boats of the
team. Four to five hundred feet seems to give me the best
and I join in the search. Flying over the water makes some
little uncomfortable. I wear a inflatable life jacket and
years of flying for the oil companies offshore in La to the
rigs I just sort of got use to it.
From the air dolphins are easy to spot but a dolphin with a
in its eye is not. Communications to the boats was also very
difficult so all that I could do was circle the dolphin pods
found until a search boat came over and looked them over
carefully. I stayed air born for 1hr 15min and spotted a lot
dolphins. Landing back at my pad to refuel and get back in
search I made a quick call to search team leader on my cell
and found out they had located the sick dolphin and were
working with it. The hook was out and the mother and baby
were going to be ok. Great news and to think my little
I had helped out. I have been flying helicopters since 1968.
joined the Army, going to flight school, to Viet Nam,
all over the USA and the time with the oil companies, I have
many different types of Helicopters. Guys, for the pure
pleasure of rotary wing flight, the simple maintenance
that we have and the low cost per hour of flight there is no
helicopter in the world that can touch the Helicycle. (Thank
Andy with Snow White
May 16, 2005 6:51 PM
Well last weekend I made it past the 15 hour mark. I'm still
with quick stops and auto's. Our DAs are creeping up a
little about 6500
ft. Trans temperatures are looking good; however, the
outside air temp were only
about 65 F. During the flight yesterday, I was flying
toward some high
tension power lines. At about 1/4 of a mile away, and about
500 agl, I
heard a hiss over the radio. The squelch was interrupted
About two miles to the south was a cell tower, 4 miles to
the west was
radio station and all along the east were these power
lines. At 500 agl
it made me think about the shielding...kind of like all the
you hear when you fly anything over water. Sure glad I
Currently, I am at a pretty remote little airpark. However,
the word is
getting out that I have a Helicycle. Quite a few people have
showing up at the airport. And, the airpark manager has told
the people that have been coming out looking for me. It
surprises me because I really have not taken it anywhere.
Huges came over. The Helicycle sure seems to create a lot of
Keep building and be meticulous.
Sent: Monday, May
02, 2005 1:14 PM
Weather has been pretty lousy. Doug, I'm sure glad you came
did. Anyway, there was a "small" break in the weather
yesterday so I
went out to convert some kerosene into some noise.
Initially, I played
around the airport just entering auto's and doing quick
little airpark is really quiet, there were only a couple of
out there. I know that because as soon as you fire up the
in the vicinity comes a running. It's like watching barracks
during roll call. One of the guys was an "R22 enthusiast"
his Robinson polo shirt. He was looking hi and low to find
wrong with this little ship and all his questions were "well
happens if the blank fails or the blank fails". It's funny
questions people can come up with.
Well back to flying.
After I refueled,
I went out to check out the deer and coyotes in
the area. The immediate area is like desert valleys with
around. I headed south along a long straight dirt road that
the valley. I was only up about a few minutes when I heard a
any traffic in the area. I have tested the radio and
transponder in on
the ground and in a hover but this would be the first time
at 500 agl.
I keyed the mike..."helicopter 262 Juliet
.so far so good.
continued down the valley and this other
aircraft kept calling back
asking for information about this airpark. I answered and
with the rest of the flight and got back just before a
little rain moved
in (ha ha Doug). It's really nice to be able to take your
own heli up
for a spin (opps bad word) for look see. Keep building
I just wanted to take a moment to let everyone know that last
past the 100 hour mark (105 now) and I still can't get over how
this thing flies.I have had no problems worth mentioning and
everything is working perfectly. The reason I'm posting this
to encourage you guy to keep on going! Sometimes it seems like a
road but the payoff is HUGE! I've been blessed to be able to use
ship to commute to work every day and I love it! Keep on
You'll get there. I'll be posting some pics soon.
handles great! its very stable and I'm cofortable in 18
gusting to 25 mph winds which we have had a few times. Its
easier to fly than an r-22.
Burned a little more kerosene last weekend. N262JS has 9.7 on it
The weather was perfect Friday afternoon and Saturday morning so
not resist playing around a little. I got to the airpark about 8
There were a couple of other guys there interested in seeing the
Helicycle. One had called me during the week and asked if he
out an see it. I basically flew around the airpark test flying
i.e. playing with quick stops, normal and steep approaches, and
measuring balancing. Nothing like the smell of kerosene in
Brian StevensHi All,
Last weekend, Doug and I completed my checkout!!!!! It was great to see
Doug again, and this time the weather was perfect.
Doug and I planned on using 2 days to finish the checkout...Friday and
What an experience! I still have not been able to close my eyes at
night to sleep because I can't stop thinking about what a fun little
ship this is.
On Friday morning when we got to the airport, we quickly put the blades
on and installed the accelerometer and optical pickup for the "vertical
hop" or reflex edge balancing. We had previously balanced the tail and
main blades (between the rain drops) on the ground. Doug explained that
the initial dynamic main rotor balancing was to be done on the ground,
not in a hover. Anyway, Doug was off and running in no time. What an
experience to see that "garage ornament" lift off the ground. The
feelings are bigger than words and say. It was not long before Doug
returned and we adjusted a little. After a couple
iterations, he came flying back and said it...its your turn!
here it was, the moment we all wait for. What
did the Helicycle feel like you ask? I have only experienced the R22 and
R44; but, this thing felt like "Kindercopter" on steroids. The cyclic
seemed to have higher resolution then what I was use to; hence, required
larger inputs. This must be why people say its easier to fly than the
After my flight, Doug and I took turns flying. We quit about 4:00
because we had to make it to the Kerosene dist before they
closed...there went 40 gal. The next day we both took turns flying my
Kerosene to noise converter. Being familiar with these machines I was
really wanting Doug to "feel" this one as much as possible so that I
could feel good about it's setup. We ended up changing the tail rotor
box oil once to check out its color but after that we just took turns
flying. What a day to remember.
I have to get back to work right now but all I can say is guys its so
cool ...get out a finish those machines. Tom your pre-checkout
tip...get ready to have a Butttttt load of fun...thanks, your right!
Thanks Doug, BJ, Blake, Carolyn, and all. One more dream come true!
All be posting some pics...as soon as I get a little more time and catch
Thursday, March 31, 2005
Life at 2,500 feet
The weather was beautiful today so I decided to take a short cross
country and visit several different local airports. I loaded up
with a combination of 75% diesel and 25% regular gas to see how this
fuel would affect turbine temps and fuel economy. I left Lancaster
, Texas airport at 1 PM C.S.T. and headed South...first
stop...Midway airport 25 miles south west. I leveled off at 2,500
ft and still had to dodge Hawks that were circling the fields in
search of their mid day snack.
Pushing the cyclic forward produced a 110 MPH cruise and I was at
the airport quick ! I landed amidst several nice aircraft
including a Beechjet . The pilots were waiting for their
corporate owners to show up and wanted to know all about this little
, red, fire breather that slipped into their area so smoothly. I
was happy to oblige and gave them the delux run thru about the ease
and simplicity of the Helicycle.
Left there after the required pit stop and headed 40 miles South
East to Ennis, Texas . They have a nice lake there so I just had
to do a run over the water and wave at the local fishermen .
After checking the area for traffic I decided to do a few practice
autos to loosen up a bit......sheer fun and beats the heck out of a
roller coaster ride any day. Nothing happening so I headed North
back to Lancaster ( LNC) .
Upon arrival at my home airport ( LNC) I was surprised to hear my
friend Joe radio up to me and ask for assistance in locating his
lost hunting dog !!! Finally ....A mission !!!!! Just what a
guy needs once in awhile.... so I banked hard and headed to the
trees where Joe had last seen " lassie".....hovered overhead and
spotted the animal a couple of hundred yards ahead of his owner.
The dog had fallen in a hole by a creek and was thrashing his rear
legs trying his best to get out of his predicament as the hole was
filling up with water.
I notified Joe of the dogs location and hovered overhead to mark
the spot. He came running and jerked the pooch up to freedom
with one quick motion. Joe's reward for saving fido was a wet one
as the yellow lab shook all the water off his coat and on to Joe.
Now I wonder if this qualifies me to paint a small dog ( 1 inch tall
) on the side of my ship , Much like the WW2 pilots did when they
shot down an enemy fighter ?? Doggie search and rescue ??? a first
??? who knows.....but by now the fuel was down to about 3 gallons
so I headed back to the parking area where I would re-install my
ground handling wheels and push the bird to her home/hanger.
All in all it was a great day....the best day of work still isn't
as good as a mediocre day of flying...and this was a fantastic
day. The diesel/auto gas mixture didn't affect my temps too
much....still around 600/650 heat range but I did notice that the
turbine lit off easier than when I burn straight jet-a or
diesel. I'll assume that the auto gas was the reason for that
benefit. And with jet-a being $3.00 a gallon now, the cost of
the mixed fuel was $ 2.18 per gallon. Next I'll try farm diesel
but don't expect that it'll have any different results.
I got the mixed fuel idea from John Spurling who use to have a
Mini-500 with a turbine and that's what he burned.
Time for you guys to get your ships ready for checkout.....don't
miss any more great flying days...
See you at Homer's in 2005.
August on the Central
Coast of California has all kinds of weather,
I have had
11 days of either fog or winds here on the Central Coast of (yesterday we
had Santana's (hot off shore winds) 18 gusting to 26). But today after work
was perfect! 78' and wind of 3 off the Ocean. It was such a clear day I
decided to do another climb test. I loaded up exactly 13 gallons and took
off and established a climb of 500 to 600 ft/min and went into a lazy
indicated 70 MPH circle. Well after a little over 22 minutes from starting
the Turbine I was at 11,330 feet !!! All the temps were still in the low
greens and I could still climb at around 500 ft/min but I did notice I was
holding the collective about 2-3 inches higher to hold that. Funny thing,
according to my fuel flow meter my burn rate actually went down from 13.3
G/H at sea level for a 500 ft/min to 13.1 G/H at 11,330 for a 500 ft/min.
The world looks weird from way up there! I am sooooo used to flying at sea
level to 700 ft that I found the view at 11,330 to be a bit scary. It is
impossible to judge 70 MPH it just doesn't seem like you are moving at all.
Coming down I kept the speed between 70 and 80 indicated, at times I split
the needles to test the sprag clutch pegging my IVSI at 1,200 ft/min, then
brought them together again. I was doing this over the top of my airport
just in case something went wrong. I had a fun one, a "V" tail Bonanza
called that he was entering a downwind and asked if any other planes were in
the Oceano area. Heh, heh, heh..... I called "Bonanza calling, Helicopter
Two To Tango is directly above Oceano Airport, I have you in sight" He
called back all frantic "Helicopter Two To Tango we do NOT have you! Please
say your altitude, we are at 900!" I replied "Bonanza calling, Helicopter
Two To Tango is directly above you at 9,500' the Bonanza came back
"FEET?!" and I replied "Bonanza calling, correction, Helicopter Two To Tango
is directly above you at 9,800' and yes that is feet" He then asked if I was
a Jet Ranger, I replied back I was a home built kit helicopter with a
Turbine engine. He asked if I would be landing and I told him in a bit. He
stuck around till I landed and we talked for about 30 minutes. When I came
down I shot a steep landing then did a go around for a quick traffic pattern
at 100 MPH (kind of just showing off) did another steep approach, hovered
over to where the Bonanza was (he was near my hangar anyway) and shut her
down. I burned exactly 9 gallons and the stop watch said 48 minutes, which
averaged to 11.25 G/H.
For me that's as high as I plan on going, so Rod and John the sky is
The other day I was
cruising home at 115mph and made a position call to my home airfield,
"One-Delta-Kilo, 2 miles west, inbound for landing runway 17". A few seconds
later I made another position call and then I heard back "Helicopter
1-Delta-Kilo, can you hear me?". I came back with "One-Delta-Kilo, Roger, I
The voice on the radio then
said I had just flown over his house, the one with the blue roof and he was
wondering if some time I would approach to his front yard and hover so he could
take a few pictures. I said "How about right now" and he said "Sure".
I broke off the approach to
my runway 17 and headed back about .75 miles to his house. I circled around and
did a low recon and realized there were several fences in his yard and power
lines down the side yard and across the front on the approach. I circled around
one more time checking possible approach angles to his yard with the current
wind direction. The only good approach to his yard in those wind conditions was
over the power lines into a small clear area between power lines and a fence
surrounding his septic field.
I had practiced these steep
approaches to a confined area but had never really done one and figured now was the
time, as I had just practiced it two days earlier. With a slight pucker factor
the approach was fine and a nearly vertical descent to the clearing. Once in a
hover I then hovered laterally over closer to where he was with the camera
keeping in mind I had a fence in front of me and a bunch of tail grabbing stuff
behind me. I waved, he took a picture or two, then I hovered back over to my
approach point, pulled collective and climbed out nearly vertical to about 40
feet, then bent it over and headed home.
I paid a visit to him later
and found out that he's building an RV-7 in his garage. I'll be darned, another
homebuilder just over the hill from me.