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Single Seaters - new hopes and dreams

The single seat Gyro community is very happy to welcome three more PPL(G)s. Kevin O’Neill, Pat Gardner, and Robin Braithwaite.  Kevin Pat and Robin had contacted Tony Melody, a Grandad of the Gyro Instructors, and, probably most experienced single seat instructor we have, to arrange their conversion. This was done at Enstone Airfield a small civilian airfield in the Cotswolds and not far from Kidlington. Currently used for microlights, light aircraft motor gliders and gyros. Designator is EGTN, and contact radio frequency is 129.875.  Built in 1943 as home to Wellington Bombers it now has two active operations. The Enstone Flying Club and home of the Spitfire Club run by Paul Fowler and The Oxfordshire Sport Flying Club. Tarmac and grass runways and both clubs very friendly and active 7 days a week. Tony had an accident not so long ago and broke his back. Unfortunately he remains in constant pain so Viv and I were very happy to lend a hand, as we had done at Rissington when that was a very busy gyro school and both of us doing our AFI courses with Tony. All three pilots had recently bought single seat gyro’s. Pat and Robin had Crickets and Kevin a Merlin. Over the course of a couple of weeks we all met up and Enstone and did the conversions. All three as PPL(G)’s can be asked, and I think that all three will say, that they may have thought that it would be a quick process, but found that it did take longer than they had anticipated. I also think all three were quite happy to do the time, and progressed at a rate that all three were happy with and left them feeling safe. There certainly are those who will cope very quickly.  Andy Jones who did his conversion with Tony in West Wales nailed wheel balancing pretty much immediately, but then with his experience as a gyro Instructor not a surprise.  Wheel balancing is not focussed on to any great degree in two seat gyro’s due to their inherent longitudinal stability. In the single seat the ability to wheel balance is a very important indication that a pilot has grasped the essentials of the much lighter control forces, and reduced longitudinal stability of the single seat. Think bicycle versus unicycle.  All three did well, progressed steadily and safely and I think really enjoyed their time converting. Tony Viv and I certainly did. Congratulations and happy safe single seat flying to the three of you. 

Written by Leigh Alison

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