"Gyrofest 2008" was the brainchild of Kai Maurer, an enthusiastic MT-03 pilot and soon to be Gyro Instructor. He wanted to organise the largest formation flight of MT-03 Gyros in the UK with a channel crossing to Abbeville in France.
Gyrofest did become the event with the largest number of MT-03s flying together, but bad weather prevented the trip to France. Nonetheless we all had a great time.
This is the account of Phil and Kati from The Gyrocopter Experience, York, who were part of Gyrofest. Watch out for the official report to be published soon.
To read the story and see the pictures, click "Read More..." below
For Kai, Gyrofest has been in the planning stage for weeks, but for us it all started late afternoon on Thursday 22nd May when Norman Surplus flew in to Rufforth airfield, York from Larne in Northern Ireland in G-YROX. He was joined later in the evening by Phil Robinson in G-CERF who flew from Kendal. This was to be Phil's longest trip away from home since obtaining his PPL(G) last year.
The following morning machines were prepared, the routes checked and planned and the first photos were taken.
The 3 machines (Norman in G-YROX, Phil R in G-CERF & Phil & Kati in G-CEHN) left York at 10:30am and routed via Goole, Sandtoft, the Trent river, Newark and Melton Mowbray to a very friendly rendezview point, the microlight airfield at Sandy. Here, bacon butties were in order and we met up with Kai in G-CEHM and John Butler in G-PPLG.
As this was close to his home territory, Kai led the charge back to his home airfield of Stoke, routing us between Luton and Stansted controlled airspace, via North Weald and over the river Thames to Stoke Medway. This airfield is famous for its "banana" shaped runway next to a set of power lines. The hospitality was fantastic and we were soon tucking in to a BBQ.
We were joined by Mike King in and his wife in G-YROM and Paul Robinson (who had just completed his first solo earlier in the day) and his instructor Marc Lhermette in G-CEVY.
Time for some more photos of the fleet.
The Kings, Paul, Marc and John Butler left us for the evening although John was to return the next day.
On Saturday morning, John B returned to Stoke as promised and we were also joined by John McGill in his single seat Montgomery Bensen.
We all studied the maps and the weather. It was obvious that although we could easily make France, the return journey would probably be postponed to Tuesday at the earliest due to the impending bad weather coming from the continent. It was unanimously agreed that we should abandon attempts to get to France this time.
Although the wind was from the North, it made sense to travel North as this was on the route home for many of the travellers. So around lunchtime on Saturday, a total of six gyros took to the air from Stoke and flew in formation - Kai, John M, John B, Norman, Phil R and Phil H & Kati. John B flew with us for a short while before heading home whilst the remaining five headed to Andrewsfield, to another great welcome.
After lunch, it was time to split. John M and Kai returned south to their homes whilst Kati/Phil H, Norman and Phil R trudged northbound with a groundspeed of about 30mph. It took an hour and a half to get to Connington where it was neccessary to refuel. The wind at Connington was 90 deg across the runway, so each of the three MT-03s were gently landed across the runway. This was a strange looking final approach for the onlookers in the cafe.
A quick refuel and we were on our way for another slow flight north back to York. Many thanks to Peter Burkitt (www.aerogee.co.uk) for the following photos.
The final journey took 2 and a half hours but at 8:30pm we had all landed safely.
The following day, Phil R and Norman had to fly home but with the winds showing over 25mph with gusting to 40mph the flights were delayed to the early evening. They finally took off at 7:15pm with a strong but steady easterly wind and headed home. Phil made it home in 45 minutes (it took him an hour and a half last time) and Norman phoned to say that he had made it all the way home in record time. His previous time of 1 hour and 35 minutes from Kirkbride to Larne was slashed to 55 minutes, reaching a ground speed of 126 mph. The wind came good!
Many thanks for Kai for organising this trip, we hope to get to France soon.
See you all at Spamfield.
Phil and Kati.