Single seat gyro types commonly flown in the U.K
The Montgomerie Bensen
Ron Dobree-Carey at Compton Abbas Airfield, Dorset.
Mark Hayward enjoying himself with his Merlin.
The Montgomerie Merlin, also known as the Montgomerie Bensen, is produced
in kit form by Montgomerie Autogyros, Kirkmichael Road, Crosshill,Maybole,
Ayrshire, Scotland, KA19 7RJ. The basic underlying structure was originally
based on the Bensen design, onto which a streamlined pod was added. The
design has since evolved slightly further away from its Bensen roots, and
the latest changes include a stepped keel as well as suspension. The engine
position has also been altered, lowering the thrust line which is now directly
through the centre of mass.
click HERE to visit
Montgomerie Autogyros website.
The Campbell Cricket
Dave Organ hovering his Campbell Cricket in high
winds at Wallis Days 2000 - Swanton Morley Airfield, Norfolk.
The original factory made Campbell Cricket was designed and first produced
in 1967 but has not been produced for a number of years now, though many
examples, such as the one shown above, can still be seen flying regularly.
But as of January 2001 the Cricket has become available as a complete kit
produced by Cricket Gyroplanes Ltd.. The Cricket type is a well proven gyro
and is still the most commonly flown gyro in the U.K. Apparently if a Cricket
aircraft registration does not begin with G-A then it is not one of the
Click HERE to
visit the website of Cricket Gyroplanes Ltd.
Khalid Aziz flies his Everett
The Everett is basically a copy of the Cricket, which was produced
after Campbells ceased trading but which I believe has also stopped being
produced. A large number of these gyros are still being regularly flown.
Keith Balch's Bensen gyrocopter at Perranporth
Designed by Igor Bensen, the Bensen was the first 'Sport Gyro' produced
and flown, and has been flown regularly all over the world ever since the
late 1950's. Though there are a substantial number flying in the U.K. I
am informed that it is now no longer possible to build this type of gyro
from plans - which is a great shame. Apparently the nearest that you can
get to building a 'similar' looking open frame gyro is to buy plans and
parts for the Ken Brock KB1 and KB2 from the U.S.A.
photo by Edwin Shackleton
My very dear friend the late Chris Julian winding up his rotor on his
McCulloch powered Bensen B8Mc and about to do a display at the CAA authorised
Kilmersdon Village Day Air Display, 1996. In the background is me trying
to persuade the BBC TV cameraman to remove himself from the runway - just
visible as a line through the longer grass just behind him. Dave Organ made
a video of this event ( including ariel footage of his flight in to the
event from Kemble Airfield). To purchase this video go to Dave's website
(the gyro section) at http://www.apexselfdrive.co.uk/gyro.htm
- Engines : U.K. single seat gyros can be
powered by several different types of engine. The most common engines being
Rotax 2 stroke or VW 4 strokes. I am not aware of any Rotax 4 stroke engines
on our single seaters yet, but we do have to get clearance from the CAA
(Civil Aviation Authority) for any changes from the basic 'standard accepted
gyro'. This tends to be a very long and expensive course of action and
so changes and new technology are very slow to arrive here ! It is for
our own good (so they tell us) but can sometimes mean that pilots get themselves
in awkward situations wishing that their machines were a little less marginal
in performance. However, it is true that a good pilot should always try
and fly within the limitations of both the aircraft and his (or her) own
ability - and make allowance for the weather conditions too. Sorry
! I'm getting away from the point ! . . . the only other engine
that I have seen in use on our commonly flown types is the Italian 2 stroke
Arrow engine (the 2 cylinder version). Dave Hill is adapting a 2 cylinder
4 stroke BMW motorcycle engine, and Reg Lancaster has converted a Subaru
EA81 (I think) car engine which is waiting to go through the paperwork
to be cleared for flight testing. - Subaru engines are probably the most
common engine in use on single seaters in Australia and many other parts
of the world!
- Rotors : These are almost exclusively aluminium
- 'Dragon Wings' rotors are now probably the most common type in use. 'Rotordynes'
used to be, but there were a number of cases of the rotor blades delaminating
which put a lot of people off! I believe this was due to a change of manufacturer.
Those people with the earlier blades are happily continuing to fly on them,
and I know of several people who are flying on the later blades having
carefully rivetted the trailing edges of their blades before there was
any sign of them 'puffing out' at the back. Brock and Rotor Hawk blades
are occasionally used, as are McCutchen rotors where they have been cleared
for use on a particular individual aircraft by the CAA. I
do not believe that they are cleared for general use on any of our commonly
flown types, although the vast majority of pilots flying illegally use
them. McCutchen rotors are the standard one used on the 'Air Command' gyros
(see 'rarely flown single' and '2 seat' gyro pages). All of these rotors
are manufactured in, and imported from, the U.S.A.
- Propellers : On the VW engines these tend
to be 'Chris Lodge', 'Ken Fern' or nowadays 'Prince P-tip'. On Rotax engines
: 'Arplast', 'Ivoprop', occasionally 'Prince P-tip', but most commonly
some awful 3 bladed wooden thing whose name escapes me (at least they can't
sue me!) and which people often seem to get lumbered with when they purchase
an engine. Personally, I swear by the Prince P-tip.
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' Mel's Gyro Page ' (gyro homepage)
Ken Wallis page
gyro photos taken while filming for TV series
gyro4 - you're in it !
single seat gyro types commonly flown in the UK (Cricket
types, Bensen, Montgomerie Bensen)
single seat gyro types rarely flown in the UK (Wombat,
KB2, Air Command, Hornet, McCandless, etc.)
2 seat gyro types commonly flown in the UK (VPM M16, RAF2000)
2 seat gyro types rarely flown in the UK
an assortment of other pages - several sub-pages to this
interesting projects going on
International gyro page
Gyros on Floats
Stop browsing this and get proper training to fly gyros
in the U.K. (this link will take you to the BRA
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