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A Long Easy Dream


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For years I flew a racing class sailplane, something about the tight cockpit and fantastic views. Such freedom to fly high on the good days but the winters were too long. Sadly she was sold.

 

A few years later that persistent aviation itch became unbearable. I bought an open frame gyrocopter. The L/D drop from 43:1 to 2:1 was interesting but I could fly all the time and still do. You can see in every direction as you move through the air but 40 knots with limited endurance is another sort of flying.

 

My nightly dreams began to fill with strange flying machines, dreams seemingly more real than when awake.

 

I never asked for them, but free copies of an Aviation Trader magazine started coming in the mail. As the dreams become persistent I was drawn to advertisements for second-hand Rutan designs. Then the lurking started in this forum and it was clear, Long-ez was the one.

 

Of course getting a PPL here in Australia is difficult and the whole GA thing a bottomless money pit lined on every side with paperwork. Too hard. I have my gyro, do all the maintenance myself, nice and economical. Still, there is something about those canard things even if they are GA.

 

The dreams persisted. I was made into a ferry pilot and given jets to fly. Even some bigger aircraft. I’d hold this strange other world in mind for days like a pleasant haunting.

 

Then, in the middle of it all, a Long-ez lands at our airfield just a day after I’d been looking for them in the Trader. The closest thing to machines from my inner worlds, yet this plane is for sale in this world, now.

 

A ride in the back seat soon followed. You know what that leads to, it was only a formality.

 

The dreams have stopped. This reality takes over. Today I soloed in a Warrior at a busy suburban airport. Another step towards the PPL. The necessary funds have been found, I’m yet to find a place to keep her but the ‘Long’ deal will be done.

 

While not a builder, advice to keep her sweet and fly her well will be my main concern. I’ll need a lot of help from you on this forum. I hope you’ll be patient with my questions as I thank-you in advance for your gifts of time and wisdom.

 

Dave

Dave

VH-JZE

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Nice Dave. That was one of the most enjoyable intros I've read in a long time.

 

Feel free to ask whatever comes to mind, and please do keep us posted on any developments on your end.

 

Welcome!

Jon Matcho :busy:
Builder & Canard Zone Admin
Now:  Rebuilding Quickie Tri-Q200 N479E
Next:  Resume building a Cozy Mark IV

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  • 3 months later...

Reality has persisted in this world. The road to PPL is a long torturous one in the land Down Under. After three navs the truth was clear. Pass that PPL theory or go no further. Tales of long cold days in small study rooms mean nothing to those on the other side of license.

 

Today I joined you pilots on the smug side of success. A PPL theory pass, yes four answers wrong of the sixty-five asked. My CFI complained, he had to get me to 100% with verbal checks and his time was valuable.

 

Was he joking or serious? I was left to generate my own congratulations. Only you initiated ones know.

 

Onward for more Navs soon, perhaps a new instructor, this time one with more hours than I have. The next lurking terror is controlled airspace and the 1 in 60 diversions. My old brain was built for a GPS, not internal gymnastics and a plastic ruler.

 

The Long-EZ deal is close. She is having an annual and will soon be mine. The dreams have returned. I seem to be in an old Hercules bomber, not of this time and operating a large panel. I don’t know what they look like today, its just a name from the inner worlds. Yet the many controls have less mystery.

 

For now its off again to fly that gyrocopter. A crazy love of aerial freedom. Soon back to the world of the student pilot, fixed wings, rules and discipline, the only path available for my Long Easy dream.

 

Dave

 

The study room...

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Dave

VH-JZE

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If you're not happy w/your instructor, get a new one. Only reason NOT to is that the next one will have to repeat a lot of instruction that he's not aware you already have. Think of it has overhead that will require a few hours in the air to demonstrate what the old instructor already knows you know.

 

So how does flying a gyro compare to a traditional aircraft?

Jon Matcho :busy:
Builder & Canard Zone Admin
Now:  Rebuilding Quickie Tri-Q200 N479E
Next:  Resume building a Cozy Mark IV

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Thanks for the input Jon. You are right. Called a different instructor today and booked in.

 

So how does flying a gyro compare to a traditional aircraft?

 

Imagine the chair you are sitting in is suspended a couple of hundred feet into the air. Someone straps an engine and prop to your back and the chair grows wheels. You look up and see the sky, although notice a slight blur, you look down between your feet and see the ground.

 

Gyros have what appears to be three axis controls. The stick tilts the rotor disk in the same sense as elevator and ailerons. The rudder also works in the usual way, yet during most stages of flying it self aligns and can be left alone.

 

You can not stall! Slow speed is fine, even vertical descents. You can land almost anywhere and if the noise stops you are still safe with lift being generated by your unpowered blades that are always in autorotation. You need forward speed to flare for landing but as you touch down there is little or no ground roll.

 

You can put these things on their side if you are not paying attention, the C of M is relatively high with tremendous energy in the rotors. During takeoff, landings and taxi they are unforgiving. If things go badly in the air you pull back on the stick and reduce power, you need to always keep the blades at flying speed so your real enemy is negative G’s.

 

Its like being on a motorbike in the air. You can almost turn around in your own length and really throw them about. Pretty good for mustering stock. Very low flight is completely natural, being high can feel like standing on the top rung of a ladder. It is serious fun.

 

 

Dave

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Dave

VH-JZE

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  • 1 month later...

If you're not happy w/your instructor, get a new one.

Yeah, that worked Jon. PPL theory completed and success today with the flight test. Along the way a couple of hours in an Arrow for the retractable endorsement. Finally, I'm legal and good to go. :P

 

The dream continues to converge with this reality. The EZ is now awaiting two oversized pistons to bring her up to spec, handover will be late September.

 

Meanwhile the plan is to fly a few different aircraft as preparation, the current owner will help out with the conversion. I'm told the Aussie Jabaru's, landed flapless approach the feel of a Long-EZ. Any advice on other things to fly?

 

Dave

Dave

VH-JZE

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Any advice on other things to fly?

Flyers should chime in here. Flapless approaches sound like a good technique, particularly if you can do so at the same speeds as a Long-EZ. Get the Long-EZ POH and read it through yourself.

 

Another option that I would consider would be to try a Long-EZ (or VariEze) in the X-Plane flight simulator software. Try the VariEze designed by Curt Boyll -- he spent a ton of time in that software and designed it based on his own VariEze. Of course, you have to speak a little geek to use the software, as well as have a good system to run it.

Jon Matcho :busy:
Builder & Canard Zone Admin
Now:  Rebuilding Quickie Tri-Q200 N479E
Next:  Resume building a Cozy Mark IV

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  • 3 months later...

Finally an end to the beginning.

 

I had an EZ lined up but we had a six month delay on getting an engine part needed for the annual, not to mention that it took me the previous six months to get a PPL. I went off and added an aerobatic endorsement then went back to the gyro. You have to fly something!

 

Things were speeding up, I practiced flappless landings in three different model Jabaru's along with my other GA currencies and at last the EZ was ready.

 

Paperwork done and the other paper changed hands too. First flight was from the back seat. It was nearly 12 months to the day since my last ride when I said I'd buy that plane. I like to keep my word. Then taxi runs today for quite a while. That went pretty well so off to the active runway for my first flight from the front as PIC.

 

Yeap. Its all worth it.

 

Dave

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Dave

VH-JZE

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