Archive: May 2014


Kitplanes May 2014 coverThe Vortex M912 gyroplane was our cover subject a decade ago for the May 2014 issue. Author Karl Storjohann described the decision-making process: “Talking to knowledgeable people in the rotary-wing community led me to Sport Copter of Scappoose, Oregon. Their kit is extremely well designed and every part is powder coated or otherwise protected from corrosion, making it a quality product. Also, they provide flight instruction to their customers, which is extremely important. If you want a long life, do not train yourself. The Vortex M912 is a completely redesigned Vortex model that came about while Sport Copter was designing a gyroplane that could handle the rough use dished out by Australian ranchers.” As for the flying, “Cruise flight (65 mph) is slow enough to have plenty of time to look at everything on the ground—and I mean everything. Passing an outhouse with an open door, I see that it is occupied, so I wave. Passing a junk pile, I have to circle to see if there is anything that I could use. Low and slow is a world of joy.” Keep that in mind next time you’re using the outhouse.

Up front, in then Editor in Chief Paul Dye’s column, he praised the value of a peer-review process for about-to-fly homebuilts and made a good call to set the ego aside. “Don’t be afraid to let others find the flaws in your work; the truth is, anyone competent enough to find your mistakes and omissions has made countless numbers of their own. It’s how we all learned. Take the inspection to heart and realize that you are probably just inches from the finish line—take your time, analyze the comments, and fix what needs to be fixed.”

The Vortex M912 gyro excelled at low-and-slow flying, just the ticket for checking out junk piles and outhouses. All this plus the start of Ken Scott’s Bearhawk LSA, proper landing-gear alignment and Jim Weir’s super-duper antenna.

Ken Scott began his build series on the Bearhawk LSA. “Another Oregon winter was just over the horizon, promising the usual: several months of low ceilings, gray skies and rain. Having lived through 40 of them, I recognized the pitfalls. Without an interesting project to keep me busy, I’d find myself on the couch watching Cleveland play Buffalo…or worse. Pondering the situation, I glanced through the screen of trees that separates my house from those on either side, and from the grass airstrip that runs through my backyard. On one side, my neighbor Rion Bourgeois was putting the finishing touches on the Taj Ma Hangar he’d always dreamed about. On the other, neighbor Phillip Groelz was taxiing around in the Christavia he’d just completed. ‘Got it!’ I told my wife. ‘I’ll build an airplane.’ She rolled her eyes. ‘No, no,’ I said. ‘This one will be different.’ ‘How?’ she asked. ‘Australian?’” Witty lady, that. Ken and company wrapped up this build in our November 2019 issue.

Elsewhere in this 2014 issue, Tom Wilson did a deep, deep dive into custom stick grips while Eric Stewart offered suggestions for preventing heat damage to cowlings and Dave Forster put a straightedge to wheel alignment. Jim Weir, in his Aero ‘Lectrics column, described in tremendous detail how to build your own ground plane antenna for the hangar or radio shack. “This is by far the best ground plane aircraft band antenna I’ve ever seen. Perhaps the best ground plane antenna ever built,” is how the column began.


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