the cockpit of Mel's gyro

Looking down into my gyro's cockpit from a little over 1,150feet above the ground during a cross country flight (19 February 2000). I will try and take a better picture some time (I hold the camera carefully in my left hand up above my head - with my hand looped through a wrist strap, and it is difficult to know exactly what is in the frame!) Several of my site visitors have asked me what instruments I have in my gyro. I don't like having too many gauges to look at - I think I would get worried with too many, and would rather spend the time looking out at where I'm flying! These ones seem to be sufficient for me.

Most of this picture is taken up with my white helmet! (in the lower right hand side). You can also just make out the helmet's visor seen from above. I have an aviation map (chart) in a flexible plastic case securely fastened with velcro straps around my left leg. My aircraft radio is also strapped to that leg but is just out of the picture. That glove is a very thin flexible leather gauntlet made for UK military pilots - very useful, very comfortable. My hand is obviously holding the control stick and you can just make out the end of the front brake lever (a little white circle) which is attached to the stick. I have never felt the necessity to have main wheel brakes - if I want to stop in a hurry on the ground I pull back on the control stick and the rotor instantly acts like a big drag parachute.

The switch in the lower left hand side with the blue label is the switch for my strobe light. Next to this is the altimeter showing almost 1,600ft (above sea level, QNH) but actually only a little over 1,000 feet above the ground. The vertical column of gauges in the middle are (from the top) a digital clock, Cylinder Head Temperature gauge, Magneto on/off switch, Engine Rev Counter, Oil Pressure gauge. On the right hand side of the instrument panel is the large circular Air Speed Indicator (I usually cruise at 50-55 knots). The square instrument with the red and yellow horizontal bars is a simple, lightweight digital bicycle speedometer. It is set to read a bigger wheel than a bicycle as it works very effectively as my rotor speed indicator (generally 420 rpm). On the top of my pod, just outside my windscreen and not in this photo is a large and very effective compass. Also not visible in this photo is my fuel gauge which is on the inside of my pod on the left hand side. It is a simple extension of fuel tubing with a fuel scale marked behind it. There is the workings of a spirit level fixed beside it (to tell me when the gyro is exactly level in flight), so I set my speed to 50kts, check that the spirit level bubble is in the centre and read off my fuel contents. Unlike electric fuel sensors this cannot go wrong! Very occasionally I will use a small, cheap, lightweight GPS (Global Positioning System - satellite navigation) which I strap to my right leg.

I suppose I could have taken this photo on the ground but it is always nicer to see a bit of the world passing by underneath!

You can see a few more photos showing the cockpit (you can also see my compass located just the other side of the windscreen, and the radio aerial) at a page showing a high flying trip I made - click HERE .

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' Mel's Gyro Page ' (gyro homepage)


Ken Wallis page


gyro photos taken while filming for TV series


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 one


interesting projects going on


International gyro page




Gyroglider 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 site)

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