Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Roxy re-awakens after long Japanese Winter Hibernation

Following a very long Japanese winter we at the Gyrox team can now happily announce that things are starting to happen in the Land of the Rising Sun. Norman has sent us an important update detailing the efforts to get Roxy ready for the resumption of the circumnavigation. This is what he has to say...

I am very pleased to announce that Roxy (aka - the current long distance FAI World Record holding MT-03 Autogyro G-YROX) is this week planning a return to the (hopefully) clear blue skies of NW Japan after a lengthy enforced winter Hibernation period.
The aircraft has been waiting patiently in Japan for the onward route through to the Bering Sea (via the Far East of Russia) to thaw after the long Arctic winter. Great care has been taken to keep the aircraft fit for purpose with the engine given regular exercise every few weeks during the snowy conditions that have seen several metres of snow fall in this relatively remote region of Japan’s Yamagata Prefecture. Roxy however has been tucked up safe and sound in a small alcove in the back of the fire station building at Shonai Airport.

Now with spring rapidly approaching, the time has come to prepare for the coming flying season and we will now see a flurry of activity around the airport during the next two weeks. Through the winter, to assist in taking up the least amount of room in the fire station, the rotor blades were removed as can be seen in the photograph below which was taken during a recent engine run…note also the now melting snow in the background…
Shonai, Japan - Feb 2012 and the engine starts first time!

The blades will be cleaned and inspected prior to putting them back on the rotor head and the aircraft thoroughly checked over prior to embarking on a series of short flights around the immediate vicinity of the Airport. Flight restrictions from the Civil Aviation Bureau will likely mean that the aircraft will be confined to flights within approximately a 3 km radius of the airport boundary, however considering that this is a highly capable and manoeuvrable Autogyro aircraft (and not a Jumbo Jet), this amount of space is ample to provide all the airspace needed to perform the requisite flight checks. Indeed it could even be said that an Autogyro could easily perform all its manoeuvres actually within the confines of the airport boundary fences!

The plan is to allow the aircraft permission to fly 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon each day between the 23rd & 30th of March. However not all of these time sessions will be needed for check flights and local weather or other air traffic may have further limiting implications. It is expected that Roxy will exercise for about 5 hours in total during the week. The intention is to have the Satellite Tracker active during the these short flights, to allow the testing of the online tracking page and to allow our many European followers to practise their skills at getting up in the middle of the night to watch, live, a little yellow aircraft buzz about on the other side of the planet!! (Though of course, some may just elect to check on the overnight progress at a more leisurely pace, over the usual morning cup of coffee some hours later instead…)
Norman gives a thumbs up to the newly awakened Roxy.

It is such a rarity for this type of Aircraft to be allowed permission to fly in Japan that it may cause some considerable interest locally. On our first arrival in Shonai (inbound from Oki Island last July) I simply made a straight in approach to the airport and was cleared to land immediately. The aircraft was heavy with the circumnavigation luggage and generally, in these circumstances after a long sea crossing of many hours and into an unfamiliar airport, I will make a very steady and straightforward approach and landing (so as to not unduly worry the Air Traffic Officer on duty in the Control Tower). The gathered reception committee waiting to greet my arrival that day therefore saw very little of the unique flight characteristics of this aircraft while it was in the air. There was no need to stop, mid air and perhaps descent vertically, no need for tight turns, steep practised forced landings perhaps across the runway rather than along it, touch and go fly pasts and a host of other manoeuvres that would look quite odd to any spectator who is used to observing the motion of a more conventional aircraft (or even a helicopter…). By putting the aircraft through its paces (though always remaining fully within in its normal flight envelope - as UK Autogyros are not allowed to perform any “aerobatic” manoeuvres) next week, local Japanese onlookers will be treated to an impromptu display of a flying machine that will take to the air like no other aircraft they have ever seen!
**Ganbaro! is the Japanese rallying cry that means “go on, you can do it, we are with you!”           
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The Gyrox Team will make sure that where possible we will announce flying times and make sure links to the Spot Tracker appear on the various GGG sites and we hope everyone is feeling the excitement we are at the thought of Roxy and Norman taking to the skies again soon.
The Gyrox Team
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1 comment:

  1. Excellent news ... looking forward to the next stage of the adventure. Go for it Norman!