Minnesota Rotorcraft Club was setup for the promotion and education of rotary-wing aircraft.
Gyroplanes are one the most unknown and the least understood “secrets” of the recreational aviation world. It is our belief, that when flown within their limitations, they are the safest aircraft in any category of personal, recreational aircraft.
Gyroplanes cannot stall or spin like a conventional aircraft. Gyroplanes are not affected by gusty wind conditions. The rotor blades of a gyroplane are not driven by the engine like a helicopter, but instead, are always in “autorotation” due to their forward motion through the air. This makes an “engine out” condition virtually a moot point due to the machines natural ability to make safe “power off” landings.
This is just a short description to help show that gyroplanes are vastly different from other aircraft. They are very safe machines, but to understand the flight characteristics and limitations of the aircraft, one thing is critical…. Proper knowledge and flight training!
Gyroplanes were very popular back in the 60’s and early 70’s. However, many pilots of these machines lost their lives for one main reason. LACK OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING! There were no organizations like the Minnesota Rotorcraft Club available to help these new pilots. These men and women decided to build these machines in their garage and tried to take for the skies from their back yard with, no knowledge or training, and with the deadly assumption that these machines should be flown, and would handle like a typical aircraft.
“Flown within their limitations” as mentioned above is the key term. Just like any vehicle, (car, boat, motorcycle) there are certain thing that you just do not do. Some of these things are not completely intuitive. It takes training and education.
Minnesota Rotorcraft Club exists solely for the purpose to allow new (and existing) pilots of gyroplanes to have all the necessary information to fly, and to fly safely.
A percentage of each monthly meeting is dedicated to review and discussion of aviation accident reports. This information mostly comes mainly from NTSB reports. The club reviews the incidents and findings in the reports and discusses these at great lengths to determine the cause of the accidents. With these findings, the club members are able to “learn from other’s mistakes” and further increase the awareness and safety of each and every member.
Other meeting activities can include lessons on aerodynamics, airfoil design, engine performance and maintenance. We also train and educate in FAA rules and regulations including airspace regulations, radio communications, and traffic patterns.
We use a multitude of educational media and films in our meetings whether they are from the FAA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Popular Rotorcraft Association and similar.
Many Gyroplanes can be flown as “Part 103” ultralight machines, meaning that the pilot hold no official license to fly such a machine. In this case, it is of upmost importance that the pilots have access to such knowledge as mentioned above to assure the safety of themselves as well as other aircraft, since we all share the same airspace!
The club takes part and displays their machines at many air shows, car shows, school events and similar.
Our machines are always received with great interest and curiosity, but as mentioned earlier, a gyroplane is often looked upon by an uninformed spectator as unsafe compared to other aircraft on display at an aviation event. This is simply not the case!!
The machines are not understood by the majority of the general public. This is why the Minnesota Rotorcraft Club exists!
A spectator may walk by our display at an airshow and because of their ignorance, and without any basis for their comments; make a “deathtrap” statement while walking past on their way to take a ride in an inherently much more dangerous style of aircraft! It is our mission and goal to educate as many of these people as possibly with the facts regarding these little know machines so that they can make an informed decision on the different types of aircraft available to them.
We talk to these people, show them demonstration models, diagrams, charts and other documents to help them understand the wonderful flight characteristics and the inherent safety of these machines. Our members spend a great deal of their own time and money to develop these training aids and documents to no benefit of their own, but only to help educate others.
Yes, the members of the Minnesota rotorcraft club enjoy getting together to fly their machines. But the main purpose of the club is to promote the sport and share our love of it. This is only going to happen in one way, and that is with education. Proper education will help to promote the sport that we love and do it safely, and thus the ultimate goal and product of our club is to inform, and hence, save lives.