Gyroplanes and Balloons-the Rupert Stanley Mix
When it comes to stunning looking balloons, for us, the title has been held for many years, by Rob Cross and Rupert Stanley’s yellow, red and green, ‘Twiglet’. Built in 1992, this very pretty balloon, a Colt 77A registered G-BUJH, has always been a firm favourite with us but following Rob and Rupert buying their own balloons it became Rupert’s competition balloon. Rob purchased ‘Windrush’, a Cameron Concept C-80, G-BUYC, and Rupert bought the old ‘Tesco’ balloon G-BYDT, a Cameron N-90 which, at 170 hours, is still going strong.
Following a seasons’ competitions, including a first place at one of the Grand Prix events using Twiglet, he qualified in for a place in the UK Team. Twiglet was getting on and Rupert eventually decided that he had to improve his competitive edge. After a fair bit of thought, he decided a Cameron Racer ought to do the trick and Twiglet would have to go. In April last year he took delivery of a new TR-70 Racer, appropriately registered G-RUPS, and this year we got to see it. Well it has to be said it is a cracker. The finish and attention to detail is brilliant and the colour scheme stunning. We asked Rupert how he came up with the design and, very honestly, he explained it was bought as a stock balloon from Camerons so the design was nothing to do with him! If only you could be so lucky with computer picked Lotto tickets!
Having clocked up a respectable 40 hours in its first year it is certainly proving a very well made balloon and the finish is still superb. Rupert reckoned it took a while to get used to flying it as it has a few quirky habits like rushing up and down with the minimum of input! Well now he has got the hang of it, especially the rush of hot air out of the mouth during inflation, he has seen his placings in competition improve big time. To make it all work Rupert uses a Lindstrand Jetstream double (loves it) on a older T&C flat-top solid-floor basket (light) with one Cameron titanium cylinder and three trusty Worthingtons. This bottom end is also shared by his ’90.
Then just when you think that is that, as he and next potential owner of Twiglet discuss terms over a cuppa, you learn, as an aside, in 2010 Rupert got it in his head to learn to fly an autogyro! Blinding, but a tad dangerous one would think! Now the term ‘autogyro’ these days gets a slap and in 21st century jargon they are now known as gyroplanes and are a million miles away from the Ciervas of old and also reckoned to be much (‘very much’) safer.
It took him about five months spread over a few, week long, visits to Rufforth, Yorkshire, to qualify, checking out last Easter. Not content with that, and being extremely brave, he then went and got himself an Italian built Magni Gyro M24. This amazing little gyroplane boasts a fully enclosed side by side cockpit, Rotax 115hp four-cylinder, four-stroke, turbo-charged engine driving a three bladed prop with a 28 foot two-bladed composite rotor. That all adds up to a very useful little aircraft. Rupert reckons it has a duration of around four hours and a cruises happily at 120 or so kph. That is 75mph in proper speed or, to be more correct, 65knots. Having now completed over 60 exciting hours as P1 the only complaint Rupert has is that the tail unit is slightly too low making very short take-offs tricky but then, bearing in mind his adventurous spirit, that’s probably for the best!