LightSportGyroplanes.comThursday September 24, 2020
The Little Master Sergeant
That research led him to a discovery of gyroplanes and eventually to the “Super Sky Cycle”, a hybrid gyroplane/motorcycle developed by Larry Neal, principle of The Butterfly LLC. For Don, the Super Sky Cycle sounded like the solution to his commuter problem.
Eventually the school owner decided to dissolve the school rather than move it, but by then Don was excited about the possibilities of this sky and land vehicle, and a vision began forming.
Don poured himself into research, learning all he could about gyroplanes. He asked lots of questions, and a lot of the answers only led to more questions. Answers that may have been perfectly clear to experienced aviation professionals left him still puzzled. It wasn’t that the answers were wrong, he just felt they weren’t aimed at someone without an aviation background. He began to think there must be an easier, better way to learn these things.
In August of 2007, Don drove to Bridgeport to meet Larry Neal. Until then, the flying motorcycle had been only a drawing he’d seen on the internet. Then, when he saw it in the shop, although not yet complete, Don’s vision began to materialize some more.
A few days later, he was flying in a gyrocopter for the first time with Larry Neal at the controls of a Golden Butterfly. It was then, he said, at a thousand feet above the Olney Airport that the vision found words. “The thought hit me” he said, “I want to teach persons how to do this.”
The next step for Don was to learn how to fly a gyroplane, but after fifteen hours of dual instruction, he wasn’t satisfied with the way he was being taught. He felt the instructor was more concerned about demonstrating his own flying skills than helping the student develop his.
In teaching persons to fly, Don wanted to instill the Bushido philosophy (“the spirit of the warrior”) that guided the judo instruction he had taught in the Marines. That philosophy, as applied to flight training, is to provide whatever the student needs.
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