Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

"
If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot,
by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse.
" -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Whupita-Whupita

The Myrtle Beach police are about to add another weapon to their arsenal in the department’s war on drugs.

The department received approval Tuesday from the Myrtle Beach City Council to purchase a gyrocopter—essentially a two-man aircraft that’s a cross between a helicopter and an airplane.
...
The cost of the gyrocopter will be roughly $207,000. This includes the purchase of the aircraft and installing the latest in technology, which Gall said is the most valuable part of the acquisition.

The aircraft will be equipped with the latest in camera and video equipment including thermal imaging and also with spotlights and flares to help the officers on the ground locate the bad guys.
Color me skeptical. The one in the photo (probably this model) doesn't seem to be overloaded with extra cop gear.

Max gross is 1,234lbs. Empty weight is 595lbs. It holds 19.8 gallons of gas (119 lbs), so there is 390 lbs of useful load left over for the pilot and observer (only an idiot would do low-level spotting solo) and the extra gear they'd like to slap on. And you can pretty much bet that, because the crew will be cops, that they'll have to carry all of their personal duty crap with them.

And if they add a bunch more gear, they'll need the power to run it all, which may mean either swapping in a larger alternator or adding a second one. Homebuilders do that all of the time, but this thing's a certificated aircraft.

This thing doesn't require two pilots, so anyone in the second seat may be "non-required crew", per the FAA, which (as I understand the rules for operating public aircraft), means that they'll have to do 100-hour inspections.

Rotorcraft are not cheap to operate. And because this one will be able to carry no additional people or cargo, the utility of having a rotor seems kind of, well, useless. Gyrocopters can't hover, at least, not for very long. They are basically an autorotating helicopter that is being pushed along by a prop.

Not my call, but they might have saved a bunch of money in both acquisition cost and operating costs by finding a decent used Cub Crafters Cub or Aviat Husky and installing a STOL kit. (Or a Maule or even a 172.)

5 comments:

CenterPuke88 said...

Well, let's see:

N250PD is a 2010 Gyroplane Calidus 912. Usable weight with full fuel could be as much as 534 lbs, before addons, but I suspect with the 912 Rotax it's probably less. It could be as low as 292 lbs, but as the picture shows two on board, it seems unlikely. Assuming the adjustable prop, Rotax 914, various other options, and looking at the outdated POH:

https://www.auto-gyro.com/chameleon/public/97b84cb2-0bf1-efd3-64e3-af666c6c81f4/POH_CD_3-1_EN.pdf

Pilot min weight 143 lbs, max each pilot/passenger is 275 lbs. So, if we assume 400 lbs for crew and 114 lbs for fuel, they may have about 20 lbs of gear to play with. But the electrical feed for that is a single 12v outlet! Certified day VFR, so what's with the light and flares?

Jesus, save up and buy an R-22 or R-44.

Thomas Ten Bears said...

You no doubt know as well as I do you can buy kit helos out of the back of various aviation magazines for ten percent of that. OK, it's been a couple of years, twenty percent. Not mention you could pick up an a-star for that, a t-star (twin engine) for about two/thirds; and you could built from of back of Popular Mechanics and wrecked Volkswagon.

Thomas Ten Bears said...

A-star half that, t-star two thirds.

Comrade Misfit said...

I'm not 100% sure, but I don't believe that a public agency can use an amateur-built aircraft.

Ole Phat Stu said...

Gyroplanes are STOL, not VTOL.
So the donut bar will still need a short straight, outside ;-)