Capt. Ahmad Abdulrahman and his Gyrocopter. Fly Baby Fly.

Two years ago I had seen Capt. Ahmad land a Microlight at a Remote Control airfield. I fell in love with the Microlight and kept the love embers burning all along. When this Photo Project took off, I had targeted to shoot Capt. Ahmad in his Microlight. When I called up Capt. Ahmad and explained the photo project to him, he immediately consented and cooperated in arranging a suitable flying day.Capt. Ahmad Abdulrahman is a man born to fly. Besides being an accomplished pilot, he is a scuba diver, painter, paraglider and an active environmentalist. He is one of the first few in Qatar to receive his Gyrocopter/Microlight flying license and become a certified trainer.

The much anticipated day was Wednesday the 29th February 2012. It was not a Microlight, but a Gyrocopter instead. After a short ephemeral introduction and a brief on the photoshoot, Capt. Ahmad immediately went on with his ritual – the pre-flight checks. The meticulous pre flight checks that he carried out only gave me the assurance that I was in the safe hands of an experienced pilot.

I was pretty nervous knowing that I would be flying in this tiny open cockpit aircraft, but my previous experience in jumping off a cliff  (Kullu Manali, India) strapped onto a paraglide, gave me a childlike expectation of the thrill that would soon consume me.

Before moving on, I should first explain what a Gyrocopter is. A Gyrocopter looks like a small helicopter. A gyrocopter (also know as gyroplane, autogyro or rotaplane) is a type of rotorcraft, which uses an unpowered rotor in autorotation to develop lift, and an engine-powered propeller, similar to that of a fixed-wing aircraft, to provide thrust. While similar to a helicopter rotor in appearance, the gyrocopter’s rotor must have air flowing through the rotor disc in order to generate rotation. There are three primary flight controls: control stick, rudder pedals, and throttle. Unlike most other forms of flight a Gyrocopter flies slow enough and low enough to allow you to see what is happening in the world below, whilst at the same time providing a truly exhilarating experience. It is the ultimate way to fly.

While the gyro is usually flown for recreational purposes, its uses extend far beyond that. Gyroplanes can be used in agricultural applications, environmental observation or to monitor traffic, pipelines, etc. They are ideal for aerial photography or the exploration of remotest areas, and every flight is guaranteed to offer a unique experience.

Flying a gyrocopter with Capt. Ahmad was a joy and an experience one will not forget. In 10 minutes, my nerves calmed down, and I was able to fully open my eyes and enjoy the flying. Being an environmentalist, he was very familiar with the landscape he was able to talk to me (speakers in the helmet and attached microphone) about various environmental issues in Qatar.

He handled the Gyrocopter (aka Angry Bird) with such skill and ‘smoothness’ that made me forget the fear and just enjoy the sky and the views. At one point he landed the Gyrocopter on a short strip in the desert, just for a few seconds and lifted off again!I have never felt such a sense of freedom as when flying in a Gyrocopter. In the gyro the urge to ‘follow my heart’, to totally ‘let go’ and be one with the earth, to chase rainbows, to see what’s over the next sand dune, or around the next bend, or to simply just play with the flamingoes in flight was so very strong. No matter how long the time spent aloft, the flight always ended too soon.

 Specification

Make:
Brand:

Length x width x height:

   

 AutoGyro, Germany
 MTOsport

 5,1 m x 1,9 m (1,6m) x 2,7 m

Rotor diameter:  8.0 m or 8.4 m
Cruising speed:  160 km/h
Maximum speed:  185 km/h
Rate of climb:  4 m/s
Max takeoff weight:  450 / 560 kg
Engine:  Rotax 912 ULS (100 hp)
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