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Thread: Gyrobee builders/owners

  1. #1

    Gyrobee builders/owners

    There are two members of the "Minnesota Gyronauts, PRA Chapter 46" located in Mankato, MN that are planning to build Gyrobee's. It will be the first gyro for each of them. Has anyone had good/bad experiences with these gyro's and what engine is most popular to try to keep them ultralight? We are thinking Rotax 503 for the power? Both are average size individuals (lightweights). We have the stock plans set up in CAD and are planning shortly to begin construction.

    We have heard nothing but good reports regarding the Gyrobee and it's a rather simple build. It will have the stock taller mast and a good horizontal stab. The pilots/owners will seek out adequate instruction before attempting to fly. Greg Bradley, CFI Gyroplane Kansas City, is a member of our club and will make sure the training is done right, though he presently does not have a gyro to train in, he has visited us at the Mankato Regional Airport (KMKT) and test flown two newly constructed gyro's for other members.

    Any thoughts regarding the Gyrobee's?

    Tom Patterson
    President
    Minnesota Gyronauts, PRA Chapter 46

  2. #2
    PRA Secretary JOHN ROUNTREE 41449's Avatar
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    Hello Tom!

    I've seen many CLT or close to CLT Gyrobee's! Heard few complaints from owners so I believe it is a good choice.

    Most have reported it costs 15K to build one.

    I would be remiss in not mentioning that you can buy a slightly used Gyrobee for often about 1/2 the price of building your own.

    Something you might want to point out.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by THOMAS H PATTERSON 41105 View Post
    .......Has anyone had good/bad experiences with these gyro's and what engine is most popular to try to keep them ultralight? We are thinking Rotax 503 for the power? Both are average size individuals (lightweights). We have the stock plans set up in CAD and are planning shortly to begin construction.
    Tom, why the concern with keeping the 'Bee an ultralight? I ask because when new people visit our chapter and mention they want to build an ultralight that is a red flag for me. In talking to them, it quickly becomes apparent that they want to avoid the expense of training and acquiring a pilots license. It is explained to them that it requires the same amount of training to become a competent pilot as who isn't going to become a statistic in an ultralight gyro as in a non ultralight. Most of them then understand and reject the notion of self training. I can put you in touch with a GyroBee owner/pilot that ignored what he was told about self training and did everything wrong. He went through two sets of blades and destroyed one 'Bee so bad that he should have had some serious damage himself but lucked out. So, I hope self training isn't even in your thoughts. I will also tell you that it is very difficult to keep the weight at or under the 254 pound ultralight spec.

    Quote Originally Posted by THOMAS H PATTERSON 41105 View Post
    .......We have heard nothing but good reports regarding the Gyrobee and it's a rather simple build. It will have the stock taller mast and a good horizontal stab. The pilots/owners will seek out adequate instruction before attempting to fly. Greg Bradley, CFI Gyroplane Kansas City, is a member of our club and will make sure the training is done right, though he presently does not have a gyro to train in, he has visited us at the Mankato Regional Airport (KMKT) and test flown two newly constructed gyro's for other members.
    1st of all, it is good that you have Greg available to consult with and to test your gyros. We have a couple of very experienced pilots that do the first flights for our chapter members new gyros to be sure they are rigged right and to find out if there are any issues. But, you are going to need to find an instructor for training.

    Yes, the 'Bee is a very good machine although it is not a hot rod but then a hot rod is not what a new gyro pilot needs. The 503 is the engine of choice and the 'Bee reportedly performs well with this engine. A 447 is marginal although Dr. Taggart and friend who designed and built the original, flew the 'Bee with that engine.

    It is my understanding that the 582 drastically changes the personality of the 'Bee to the point that it is excitingly scary. I'm told it can get to be a real handful. The 'Bee was designed for the 447 but the 503 seems to be safer and a better fit. The 'Bee, although it doesn't look it, falls into the CLT category of gyros which means its Cg is within the generally accepted plus/minus 2 inches of the prop thrust line. An effective horizontal stab makes this a machine with a rep for being very stable. I've attached a couple of 'Bee photos. The 1st one is of a couple of California 'Bees. The white one ended up in our chapter in Texas and is the one I said the owner/pilot did everything wrong as far as training is concerned and destroyed it twice. The last two are of an award winning 'Bee that John Landry in Washington owned before dismantling and selling off the parts when he got out of gyros. I acquired several of them. I also attached a photo of the tail on Jay Boyce's 582 powered 'Bee. This one has the well known Watson tail slightly modified; this is the best looking stock 'Bee I've seen.

    The Gyrobee is in my top 10 list of all time favorite gyros. However, I believe you will find that it isn't as simple to build as it appears. There is just nothing simple about building! No one realizes the parts count until they start to put one together but then building, to my way of thinking, is a big part of the fun of owning a gyro. You asked for people's thoughts and those are mine. I will say that along side the 'Bee, the Hornet looks to be another very fine machine for a new pilot but there are not near as many flying as there are 'Bees.

    Now, having said all this, I'll tell you that while I've been in the PRA since 1967, I've never owned a gyro or am I a pilot. There are reasons for that which I won't go into here but I have had lessons and a lot of elbow rubbing with builder/pilots over the years so feel I have a good grasp of what a good gyro consists of.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Patterson GyroBee & Another Bee Tail.jpg   Mentone Watson Tail #4.jpg   J. Landry Take Off.jpg   J. Landry with Bee & Award.jpg  
    Dean Dolph
    PRA #8907
    Katy, TX.
    281-391-3731
    Email - topspin38@comcast.net

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