Friday, August 14, 2009

One happy gyro pilot !

Last Saturday Dave Bacon came up to the desert and we started my gyro's McCulloch engine with the new starter. I was like a kid with a new toy, I'd turn the switch on, push the starter button and the engine would come to life.
I'd let the engine run a minute or so , shut it down and then do it all over again and again.
That's a photo of me on my gyro with the engine running.
After giving the new starter a work out we put the gyro on Dave's trailer and went over to a gate way to do the hang test to determine the CG ( center of gravity). A hang test is necessary when big changes are made to a gyro, in my case we had added a starter and a battery for a total of about 30 lbs. of weight.
The hang test involves attaching a hoist to the teeter bolt and with the pilot in the seat, lifting the gyro clear of the ground.
Someone then takes an angle finder and holds it against the back of the mast then reads the degree of angle that the gyro hangs from level. For the the center of gravity of the machine to be correct, the gyro should hang from 0 to 3 degrees nose down. My gyro came in right on target with a nose down angle of 2 degrees.
Teddy had made some modifications to his gyro recently making a hang test necessary for his machine also. So, after my hang test was done, we repeated the whole thing with Teddy in the seat of his gyro.
We started about 8 AM hoping to beat the heat but this is summer time in the desert and it was well over 100 degrees by the time we finished.
So, although I haven't flown the gyro since the addition of the starter, just having the starter and a successful hang test made my day! There will be cooler days to fly. Just knowing that I can start my gyro myself whenever I want to fly is a giant step of independence to me.
I am very appreciative of the work that Dave has done in getting my gyro to that point. He is a man in demand for he has taken on the job of going completely through someone else's gyro and bringing it up to flying condition. When he isn't working on gyros, Dave tries to decide which of his three gyros he is going to fly!
Till next time.
Marion Springer

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Update on adding a starter to the McCulloch engine

We are now on the third starter for the McCulloch engine. The first one was defective and the second one was too long. The front of the second starter touched the prop! So, when Dave came up last week to work on the adaption he brought a new light weight starter . The new one was made for race cars, weighs 8 lbs. and is beautiful. It's small and compact.

But, it didn't fit in the mounting bracket. Dave cut off a little bit of the bracket and still the starter wouldn't go in. He said that he could cut a piece off the edge of the starter itself and it would fit, " but", he said, " if it doesn't fit, we can't return it to the store. You will have a pricey shelf ornament. What do I do ?".

Since I figured we were about out of options regarding starters, I said, " make it fit". And he did . Back to the hack saw he went and took off a bit of the starter and then it went right into place in the mounting bracket like it was made for it.

After buttoning up everything and securing the new battery in it's holder on the keel tube, we pushed the gyro out to the run up pad and started it up. The engine started easily. I was amazed at the power with which the starter spun the propeller.

So, like a kid with a new toy, I would start the engine ( push button start, imagine that ! ), let the engine run a minute, shut it down and start it again and again. It looks like we have a winner in the new starter!

The day was hot, 103 degrees hot, and it was getting late in the day so we decided to put off the all important hang test until Saturday, August 8, when Dave will make the trip up to the desert again. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas as I wait for Saturday,August the 8th. to get here !

Dave has gone to a lot of effort to help me achieve the freedom to fly whenever I want . He lives a couple of hours away in a much cooler area and yet he comes up to the high desert and works on my gyro in 100 degree plus weather . That's a real friend.

Till next time.
Marion Springer