Before you fly: Common Questions
How do we schedule the actual flight?
Three required events have to align before we fly:
We can certainly coordinate the first two ahead of time, but the weather always has the final decision. Flexibility is key to a successful flight. We can usually estimate within two days, with 75% or better accuracy, whether we can stick to a flying plan or not.
When is the best time to fly?
Gyroplanes require clear visual conditions to fly. It's OK to have some clouds in the sky, but we must remain clear of them at all times. Gyroplanes are very stable in otherwise windy conditions, but might not be as comfortable during gusty winds. Without a doubt, the hour after sunrise, and the hour prior to sunset are the ideal times to fly. The air is calmer and it's just the best overall experience.
Are there weight limits?
Yes. The weight of passengers on discovery flights is limited to 230lbs total, when the outside air temperature is below 60 degrees F. This limitation is due to aircraft performance reasons. Maximum weights are further limited as outside air temperatures increase. The following temperatures / passenger weight limits apply:
60 degrees - 230 lbs limit
70 degrees - 215 lbs limit
80 degrees - 200 lbs limit
This is not to say the aircraft can't take off at heavier weights, it's just that aircraft just don't perform as well as the air temperature increases and the air density decreases. This performance reduction is true for the engine, the propeller, and the lift component of the rotor.
For cross-country flights and actual training, your weight may need to be even lower, because we'll need to carry more fuel.
What do I wear?
The simple answer is, be comfortable. The general rule is that while wearing your gear, you should be a bit overheated before we depart, to ensure warmth during flight. Not only does the air become colder as we climb, but the wind chill literally increases the 'chill'. The experience is much like a motorcycle ride, but in the air. Overall, the temperature is not an issue for short flights. You should be aware of your own tolerance to cold better than I am, so arrive prepared.
That said, we do have a collection of oversized outer garments in the hangar, to throw over your clothing if you discover you may not have prepared enough. We have generic gloves, eye protection and hearing protection, and even two huge heated jackets. We even have a vintage 70's snowsuit that we bought on eBay that is especially tacky and great for photos.
Yes, bring them for sure. You can wear them inflight, or just use the shield on your helmet. The passenger seat does have it's own wind screen, but it does not prevent all air from spiraling around your face.
What? I have to wear a helmet?
Yes, it is standard for open-cockpit Gyroplanes. Yes, your hair will get a bit muffed up. Just accept that now. I wear perpetual "helmet-hair." I have experimented with headsets occasionally, but a helmet is a more secure option.
Larger earrings are better removed, as they may interfere with the ear pads inside the helmet.
Please wear sensible shoes that will stay on your feet. No flip flops, and especially no high heel shoes that could poke a hole in the bottom of the aircraft. We recommend wearing socks too, especially if you have perpetually cold feet.
I have long hair, what do I do?
It would be best if you could secure your hair for the flight. It seems that a low ponytail or low bun works best, kept below the back of the helmet, which is about level with the bottom of your ears. Additional hair can be tucked into your collar.
Can we communicate during the flight?
Yes of course, the helmets have an intercom built in, and we can speak freely during most of the flight. We'll also speak to the control tower a few times. If you'd like to try making a radio transmission, I can tell you what to say and you can try it too.
Can I bring a Camera and/or iPhone for photos?
Yes, and No. Due to the unique design of a Gyroplane, EVERYTHING must be tied-down during flight, because the engine is behind you. Any object falling from the cockpit, could result in devastating consequences. It could fall right into the propeller behind you, causing equipment failure, and a possible emergency landing.
Consequently, I must enforce a 'No Smartphone' policy during flight. I don't care if you have GI Joe Kung Fu Grip, they cannot be secured to my satisfaction. Standard 'point and shoot' cameras are the best option, if they have a neck strap or wrist strap. A large SLR camera may NOT be ideal, due to tight spaces and potential for damage to it. An SLR with a proper neck strap and shorter lens might be OK.
I'll take multiple photos inflight, and take a 'selfie' of you inflight as well. I also have a few older point and shoot cameras that I keep at the hangar, for you to borrow. My overall advice is to leave the bulky camera behind and enjoy the experience.
Can I bring a GoPro Camera?
Yes. I have a few GoPro mounts on the aircraft and on the helmets. You may bring a GoPro to record the flight for personal use at no additional charge. But i have conditions: I would like a copy of the video you record. If you share the video publicly, I ask that you include a link or a reference to me or to my website. Fair enough?
What about Selfie Sticks?
Absolutely not. Last year, I looked at the footage from a passenger's GoPro on a selfie stick, and I realized he almost dropped it on several occasions, and it got very close to the rotors. The slipstream of air, outside of the windscreen envelope, can be very strong and rip things out of your hands.
Can I get a copy of photos/videos you take?
Absolutely, bring a USB Stick of at least 32gb, and I can transfer files once we are back in the hangar. I would like copies of your photos also. I use Airdrop to transfer iPhone photos taken on the ground.
I have a fear of heights. How do you suggest I deal with this?
Many people have a 'low earth' fear of heights... Many passengers who won't otherwise stand at the edge of a roof, cliff or balcony, have reported that the fear disappears shortly after taking off. A little bit of fear is natural, even though most men never admit it. If you attempt to challenge your fears on this flight, but just aren't quite there yet, we can return to the airport immediately, but no refund.
What about airsickness?
Nobody has ever gotten sick in any of my open air machines, neither in Gyroplanes or Powered Parachutes. It could be due to the rushing fresh air, or the absence of a sense of confinement or claustrophobia. But, if airsickness does happen, please just turn your head and push it to the side. We can hose off the machine later. If you face forward, you can't possibly hit me, even if you try, you'll just get it all over yourself.
Should I eat beforehand?
Yes, but not too much. A completely empty stomach is not ideal, but don't come flying after a gut busting buffet either. At a minimum, have some toast or crackers beforehand to keep your stomach settled.
What if I just don't like the experience?
Since we stay quite close to the airport on discovery flights, we can return and land any time you desire. Just say the word, and we will RTB. Sorry, no refunds for an early return.
Do I have to buy you Beer or Lunch afterwards. Is a tip expected?
No, it's not something we think about or expect. That said, we have a great airfield restaurant only 100 yards from my hangar. It's cheap and good, perfect for a post-flight celebration. I like their burgers.
Do you have a Cool Instagram page that I can follow?
I'm glad you asked! Yes we do. Follow us at @gyromojo and share our daily adventures
I have more questions
Please send a message to Frank at email@example.com for more information