A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I took a trial flight in a VPM M-16. It was a lot of fun, but I couldn't bear to deal with the maintenance requirements of the 4 cylinder, 2 stroke engine. After flying the Flightstar for over 8 years, I passed my gyro endorsement in a Rotax 914 powered Magni M-16 (pretty much the same aircraft as the VPM, better engine) and started thinking about getting a gyroplane. I had thought about getting a single seater and keeping the Flightstar, but then Ken announced he was selling his Magni, so I ended up getting a Magni instead of having 2 aircraft.

First up, it needed converting.

We (well, Ken designed, Jim made) made up a pulley system to convert the cable movement from a twistgrip throttle to a forward and back movement to attach to the stock throttle system. This took a lot of tweaking to get the gear ratio right - the 914 has springs that pull the throttles open, which meant closing the throttle was... tricky. I modified the Motion Pro twistgrip to give us more motion, and Ken added a return spring, and it's a lot better.

We added a lever for the brake (I figure the only time I'll need to use it is to take the parking brake off while pre-rotating).

We discovered the stock pre-rotator lever (left) hit the throttle, so I wouldn't be able to get it all the way in. Jim machined up a longer one that'll clear the throttle (right). It's also a match for the brake lever design, as obviously that's important to me :o)

We got everything installed, and tweaked some little issues. I've now done the number of hours the insurance company required, and soloed it. We spotted the brakes were dragging, and I think we had that sorted before I flew it too much. It was hard to move it in and out of the hangar, plus it's flat spotted a tyre where it should have spun up fast enough to prevent that. Nothing good can come of that :o(

Other than that, it's just been basic maintenance so far :o)

It's been over a year, and well over a hundred hours with no problems other than regular maintenance work. That's all pretty easy, the worst thing was the 5 year Rotax rubber replacement, which was fiddly more than difficult. I am building up to the rotor head bearing replacement though (the factory recommend an inspection at 1,000 hours, then every 200 hours after that, but we figured if the rotor's coming off to be inspected, we can just put new bearings in and be good for another 1,000 hours).