THE BRITISH ROTORCRAFT ASSOCIATION & OUR STORY
Gyroplanes, Autogyros and Gyrocopters:
Flying in the UK
This web site is owned and operated by The British Rotorcraft Association - it exists to give gyropilots and enthuiasts from any background an opportunity to get involved and make a difference. Gyroplanes as they are referred to by the powers that be are rarely even listed as an aircraft type, yet since 1923 they have been around in one form or another. They led the way in rotary flight and if it weren't for government decisions in the 50's they could now be playing a major role in passenger transportation.
If you have any comments or suggestions please email us using the link on the store page or use the details below.
Our Contact details:
British Rotorcraft Association
Membership and Treasurer
1 Focal Point, Lacerta Court
Letchworth Garden City
Tel: 01462 683344
The BRA is the representative body for the Gyroplane community within the UK and is the foremost contact point with the CAA with regard to the licensing and training of gyroplane pilots as well as other stakeholders and interested parties. Its members sit on various committees within the General Aviation community to oversee the requirements of gyroplane pilots and their aircraft within the regulated environment of modern aviation.
The Association functions to promote the recreational side of gyroplane use within the UK by organising and supporting events both social and competitive. To assist its members with their inquiries regarding licensing, medical requirements, continued airworthiness and enjoyment of autorotative flight.
Safety is an important part of all aviation and the BRA is very proactive in promoting safety within this sector through training and airworthiness, working hand in hand with the CAA and the Light Aircraft Association. The Association is also an associate member of other organisations promoting safety and airmanship around the world, AOPA and GASCO being two of the primary bodies.
With the introduction of factory built gyroplanes into the UK in 2006, this became the fastest growing sector of the sport and recreational aviation industry, changing gyro flying not only in the UK but globally. The introduction of two seat open (or enclosed) training aircraft has altered training making it more accessible and able to provide different learning environments to suit the students needs or desires.
There is now, within the UK, the opportunity to operate an aircraft which you have built and can maintain yourself, a factory built permit aircraft and even a CAA Certified aircraft which can be used for night and commercial operations. All of which are able to exploit the unique flying characteristics of gyros, for example to fly slowly or even at zero airspeed without stalling, turn with incredible agility and offer excellent all round visibility. Coupled to this the very short ground roll, cross wind and gust limitations make this a fun and versatile aircraft. An additional bonus is the predictable safe handling in the event of an engine failure.
The introduction of two seat open (or enclosed) training aircraft has altered training, making it more accessible and able to provide different learning environments to suit the students needs or desires.
There is now, within the UK, the opportunity to operate an aircraft which you have built and can maintain yourself, factory built permit aircraft and even a CAA Certified aircraft which can be used for night and commercial operations. All of which are able to exploit the unique flying characteristics of gyros, for example to fly slowly or at zero airspeed without stalling, turn with incredible agility and offer excellent all round visibility. Coupled to this the very short ground roll, cross wind and gust limitations make this a fun and versatile aircraft. An additional bonus is the predictable safe handling in the event of an engine failure.
How does a Gyro Fly?
Often regarded as a hybrid between helicopter and aeroplane due to having both rotors and propeller. The rotors of the gyro are unpowered and tilt rearward being turned by the airflow through them in a principle known as autorotation.
The propeller provides forward thrust, forcing air through the self governing rotors, however, should the engine stop in flight, the rotors remain unaffected. Why? After an engine stoppage the gyro will descend and as it passes through the air (effectively forced through the rotor disc) the rotors remain turning. The gyro is then able to glide at an airspeed chosen by the pilot. In autorotative flight the gyro cannot stall or spin.
A different kind of Flying.
Now that enclosed cockpit Gyro's are available, would be helicopter pilots and many ex fixed wing pilots are opting for these, more of a helicopter ride with great stability in strong wind conditions. The open cockpit version though, often referred to as the motorbike of the skies, offers a completely different experience. Views to die for and possible endurance times exceeding three hours on the factory built. Speeds of up to 120mph and Hangarage easier to find due to the small footprint, make these an ideal aircraft to get airborne in quickly as well as being easy to put away.
Permit costs and servicing vary greatly according to type, so we strongly recommend you pop along to one of the schools and have a chat with an instructor. Be prepared though, generally once you have flown in one of these amazing aircraft, you will want one of your own.
Learning to fly a gyroplane is similar to learning to fly any other type of light aircraft. To fly a gyro unsupervised you will require a PPL(G). This is a specific UK licence and not a type rating on another licence (helicopter or aeroplane). The licence will require a minimum of 40 hours training, of which 10 must be made solo under the supervision of an instructor.
If you already hold another licence for fixed wing or microlight then you can be credited 10hrs towards your PPL(G). If you hold a helicopter licence the you will be credited 20hrs towards PPL(G). You will be required to demonstrate your competency to a Gyro Examiner and may require more training than the minimum hours required.
You will need to complete 10hrs solo and two cross country navigation exercises irrespective of other licences held. You will have to complete written exams in Air Law, Human Performance, Meteorology, Navigation and Gyro Technical. If you have passed
any of the exams for other licences then you will not be required to re sit them.
The medical requirements are the same as those for NPPL and, depending on your circumstances, be made as a self declaration through the CAA online system. If you wish to fly abroad or have other licences then you may need a medical through an Aeromedical Practitioner.
The full details of the training requirements for the PPL(G) licence is contained within the British Rotorcraft Association Syllabus for PPL(G).
Training can be summarised as:
Section 1: Basic Flying
Section 2: Upper Air Work
Section 3: Rotor Management, Take offs and Landings
Section 4: Emergencies
Section 5: Solo Flying
Section 6: Advanced Manoeuvres
Section 7: Navigation
Section 8: General Flying Test
As the PPL(G) is a specific licence in the UK unlike those in other countries where it is associated with ultralight or microlight licences we are able to expand upon it as aircraft and regulation change allow. We will soon be able to offer a VFR Night Rating to a PPL(G) due to the first night capable aircraft (Cavalon Pro) becoming available.
Commercial Pilots Licence (Gyroplanes)
Currently in development with the CAA and there are exemptions in place to allow pilots to operate the Cavalon Pro in its full commercial capacity. Gyros will be able to fly film and survey tasks at a fraction of the operating cost of helicopters