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N199TW: Tim Witham's RAF 2000 GTX SE

For Sale?

I haven't got to fly this since 2010. If you'd like to buy it, please let me know!


N199TW is my RAF 2000 GTX SE gyroplane. I built her in 1999 and logged 100 hours through 2000 and 2001. After being gone from the air for nearly 3 years, she was back flying again from 2004 to 2010, logging another 100 hours.

Click here for all my original gyro pages that were on quiknet.com from 1999 - 2002, featuring Gyro-Cam, construction-log, pictures, movies and more.

My Google Flight Maps are now much better than the maps linked below; click Google Flight Maps to see where I have flown.

Flight reports, in order (click the date for an old flight map), or go to the bottom for the latest news.

2004/07: modifications and annual inspection

In July I moved my main axle back 5 inches. This is for better balance on the ground as I am too light to offset the weight of my horizontal stabilzer. The machine will now rest on either the nose or the tail; it is perfectly balanced on the ground. I also improved the way my electric fuel gauge is mounted and added a sight gauge to the tank. The final touch was to add my favorite bird (my alma mater's Jayhawk mascot) as tail art.

After all this, I did a thorough 100 hour inspection as per the RAF checklist and this serves as my current annual condition inspection. My jayhawk is finally ready to fly!

2004/08/07: initial flights around the pattern

Thanks to my friend Mark and his boys for helping me install my rotor blades today. After doing a meticulous preflight inspection, I taxied out. Began the prerotation and all seems well; almost no stick shake. Balanced on the mains all the way down the runway as the rotors came up. I was expecting to go through several blade adjustments, but they feel right where I left them after all these years!

Since everything seems OK, on the next run I went ahead and took off. Flying just fine! Climbing out at 5,200, on up and around the pattern. Trim is a bit off, so I dial that in to remove stick perssures. Awesome, she's flying on her own! Uh oh, here comes my first solo gyro landing in 3 years... No problem!

One more trip around the pattern. This time I test full throttle and it is all there at 5,4040. Pitch for best climb speed and rocket up. She's flying just fine. I am so happy to be in the air again. Second landing again no problem, even with slight crosswind.

Head back to the hangar to check it all out. Awesome day. We are back!

2004/08/09: forgot how to land

Went to the hangar to build blade stands. Bob showed up and said "oh, Gary left blade stands in my hangar." Cool! They are just the right height. Works great, thanks Gary!

The sun is setting so better go get some landings before it gets dark! Up and around the pattern, and then a bit squirrelly on final. But, I have landed! What the? Wobbling all over the place. Hang on! Whoa! Finally settled down and under control.

What happened is, I landed with too much speed and had the nose on the ground before I realized what was happening. Then it got pointed one way, then another. I forgot to get rid of my speed before nose down, and was still moving too fast on the ground. Duh, should have had stick back to stop first!

2004/08/14: first time away from the pattern

Took off on 18 and headed west along 16. To 505 and back. Then did two pretty decent landings. I remembered to keep the stick back and drop the speed to nearly zero at touchdown. Much better than last time. Ok, maybe I can still fly (and land) this thing! But I need more practice.

2004/08/19: nice quick sunset flight

Took off, did a stop-n-go, and headed west. Until the sun was gone over the hills. Nearly to Esparto. Headed back and did a couple more landings. All were pretty good. Now I'm having fun again!

2004/08/28: flew a big triangle out west and north

Did 3 stop-n-gos and then departed west. Past 505, then north. Played around down low over a field, then headed north to the I-5 intersection. On the way, dipped down low along a water canal with levee roads on both sides. Finally, did 3 more landings for practice after following I-5 back home. Nice day for flying!

2004/09/06: two gyros flying low to Colusa County

My roommate James got to fly along with me as I followed John in his Dominator to Colusa County Airport. Along the way is a levee road that goes on and on for miles next to an irrigation canal. So, of course, we had to fly low, sometimes just a few feet over the levee! We stopped at O08 to stretch our legs a while and then headed back after snagging a picture of the airport and the Sutter Butte. What a way to spend labor day!

2004/09/18: test flight and landing practice

Installed some brackets to better support my exhaust. Went flying around the pattern to test it out and practice landings. Three of the six landings were power-off and all went well.

El Mirage and SpaceShipOne: vacation in the desert

Took a vacation to southern california. By car, not gyro. Arrived at El Mirage dry lake late September 23rd for the annual Ken Brock Freedom Fly-In. Enjoyed watching the guys fly around for a couple days and decided I have got to fly my ship there next year. Chapter 5's Bob flew his beautiful new RAGB-1 bird down and took home a couple trophies!

Then, since I had drove all that way, I stayed a few more days to witness X-Prize Flight 1 on the 29th. It was awesome to see Burt's beautiful White Knight and SpaceShipOne make history!

2004/10/02: 15 flights to nowhere

Spent 3 hours circling the airport as I tracked my blades and practiced landings. The blades had been turning a bit slow so I removed some pitch until I achieved 315 RPM solo with low fuel. This didn't noticeably affect stick or cabin shake, which is not bad.

2004/10/24: around Woodland to look at the corn maze

Looks like a tornado blew through the 10 acre corn patch. The original design is hardly recognizable. The corn is turning dry and brown and I'm sure all those kids running through there don't help. It was nice to be out flying around though.

2004/10/30: fun trip to Sac Exec for hamburgers

John followed me to Sacramento Executive airport for a late lunch. I pulled back on the throttle a bit for a leisurely stroll at less than 60 mph at 1000 feet. I called up our "flight of two" and we had no problems getting in to the Class Delta airspace. The tower sequenced us in between a landing Bonanza and a departing Cessna. As soon as we had our blades strapped down, we were surrounded by visitors, coming to check out our strange birds! A great CFI from Skywalk was among the first out to see us. He knew it was me because I had told him I would visit after getting my BFR there with him 3 months ago. After a great lunch, we departed back for Woodland with a bunch of folks watching. A beautiful day and very fun flight.

2004/11/06: to Yolo and back

Practiced landings at Yolo County and Woodland with another gyro or two also in the pattern (Bob and John). 3 bad landings and 3 good. My landings improved after I slowed down my approach. I had been approaching too fast, causing baloon during the flare.

2004/12/04: landing practice with doors on

Temperatures were barely over 50 degrees today, so I had to put the doors on to make it nice and cozy inside. Took off and was amazed at how twitchy it is in yaw with those doors on! I had to hold some right rudder to keep the yaw string straight. I flew a couple patterns just getting familiar with the new handling before attempting a landing. Kept my speed up and the first landing went well. Went around again to practice two more. Then I stopped for a break, tweaked the rudder trim tab, and headed back up. This time Josh met me in the air in his Exec 162F. We headed out west to 505 and back. Again I got 3 landings in, and again they all went fine. The rudder trim is about right now but I must remain active on the pedals or it wants to yaw sideways. Can't wait until Spring when I can take the doors back off!

2004/12/18: electronic ignition dies

Took my friend Wayne to the airport. It was clear in Citrus Heights, but foggy at Woodland. There was a hole at the airport just big enough to fly around the patch. After struggling with getting the engine started, we did just that. Parked it after the first landing to play it safe as the fog could have appeared there at any time.

The starting difficulty was an indicator of a major problem that I had been suspecting. The machine never started again after that day. At 113 hours, the original RAF electronic ignition refused to fire consistently and could not run the engine.

2005/07/04: Whooo Hoooo - Happy Independence Day!!

Independence from the ground, that is! Praise God, my engine finally runs again as good as new. Flew around the airport practicing landings. Went out for a quick spin over a local hay field. Thanks to James for being there to observe my initial test flights.

After two months of work, Saturday I finally got my new Electroair direct ignition system running. The main problem was getting the timing wheel mounted correctly on the crank. First it was too far back, then it was out of round, then it was 90 degrees off! Finally we got it just right and it purrs like a kitten. Man, I was so happy to hear it run again after 6 months of silence!

2005/07/05: more test flights and landing practice

Just more laps around the pattern. And the same trip to the hay field.

2005/07/07: chasing John

John led the way as we did stop-n-go's at Yolo County and Davis airports, then a dirt strip. Then back to Woodland for spot landing contests. John won. I need more practice, but am getting better.

2005/07/09: landing practice

Just some more landings; never left the airport.

2005/07/23: emergency engine-out landing practice

A dozen trips around the patch just before sunset. Started slowly working up to engine-off landings by throttling back further and faster on base and final. The last half were engine-out (idle) from downwind @ 500 feet. Man are these fun because of the steep descent during the 180 degree turn from downwind to final. All landings went pretty well. Engine got up to 225 degrees in the 100 degree heat.

2005/08/06: blown water hose!

Did the annual condition inspection on August first and added Water Wetter to help the temps come down. Instead, the water standpipe blew out of the hose connecting it to the top of the engine, shortly after takeoff! My friend John was taking off behind me and said "Tim you have a lot of white smoke coming out". Sure enough, water temp was headed into the red after being fine just a few seconds earlier. I did a quick U turn, throttled back, landed on the runway and turned the engine off. Looking at the GPS log, it ran without water less than a minute.

After fixing the problem (note the longer hose and more clamps), changing out the coolant and oil, all seems fine after a quick runway flight to check it out. The oil was not burnt at all; it was in good condition, indicating the engine itself didn't get too hot for too long. There was no mixing of water and oil so no blown heads or anything. Thank God it was caught so quickly and I had my home runway right there to land on!

2005/08/13: Thunder in the Sky at Auburn!

Finally got to go to a fly-in! Took off just after 9am and just barely squeaked in to Auburn before the tower closed the field at 10 sharp. Enjoyed the day watching fly-bys and answering all the questions about my odd bird.

Went to leave around 4:45 but the starter wouldn't kick in. Thanks to the kind folks that brought me a wrench to investigate. The copper contactor in the solonoid is wearing out. Cleaned it up with my pocket knife, put it back together, and she fired right up. Got out of there after 5 and had an uneventful trip back to Woodland. Oh, and the water temps were just fine the whole trip, around 190 degrees.

2005/08/27: 3 gyros to Willows

"What an AWESOME day" said Jarron, speaking for all 3 of us. He flew his ultralight Bandit up from Nut Tree. There he met John with his Dominator and me with my RAF and we all headed north with a goal of getting to a $100 hamburger. An hour and 20 minutes later (we were flying slow and had a headwind) we landed at Willows and found those great burgers at Nancy's cafe. We took a lot of pictures with John's camera, soon to be posted here and elsewhere. What a beautiful flight, and so much fun to be out with two other gyros!

2005/09/05: forced landing on Cache Creek!

Took my Dad up for a fun flight to the south and west. John followed us, then we followed him along Cache Creek on the return. We had fun seeing the sights and waving to the ATVs below.

Then it was Mom's turn. Plan was to do a similar but shorter trip. John was not flying along this time. After going out 15 minutes, we headed back, over Cache Creek. At 600 feet and 4800 RPM, the engine suddenly dropped to 3500 RPM. I went to full throttle, but still had only 3500 RPM. As this is not enough to maintain altitude, I told Mom "we're going to land here, hang on!" She said "ok!" and I landed on a large open bed of round rocks right along Cache Creek! GPS said we were 2.77 miles from the airport.

Fortunately, we didn't have to walk the whole distance. After a half mile or so, a couple kind boys on ATVs offered to drive us the rest of the way out of there. Then we went to get John. He called Josh, and we all headed out to retrieve the gyro. John first overflew the site and thought we could get in by truck and trailer. But we couldn't; we only got within 3/4 mile of the gyro.

Upon starting the machine, Josh noted my rear cylinders were cold. We swapped the coils, and then the front cylinders were cold. This proved that the problem was one of the two coils. The bad coil rattled when we shook it. We opened it, and the copper connector had broken off! Josh figured a way to wedge some wire into the opening to get the the machine running 100%.

So I drove it up out of the creekbed onto a road. I had to takeoff with a fence on my left and trees on my right. I did a max performance takeoff with everyone watching. It went very well! Until 50 feet when my engine started acting up again. I climbed to about 100 feet but decided it would not make the 3 mile trip home. So, I turned and landed in a wide open wheat field. This time, it was accessible by trailer! We loaded it up and finally got it tucked away in the hangar just after dark. This whole adventure had taken all afternoon.

I would like to thank my Mom, Dad, John and Josh for helping me get out of there. I couldn't have done it without them. This was a Labor Day I will never forget!

2005/09/06: new coil test flights

After installing replacement coils, I did some test flights around the pattern. Runs good as new, so then my Dad and I went out for fun again.

2005/09/10: PRA Chapter 5 meeting at Nut Tree

Jarron flew over Woodland, right on time. John and I took off and followed him to Nut Tree. This was a first: we actually had a significant tail wind in both directions! I flew the trip around 4500 RPM burning only 5.5 gallons an hour.

2005/09/22: pattern work

Nothing special, just some landing practice.

2005/10/08: PRA Chapter 5 meeting at Nut Tree

John followed me to the meeting where we welcomed new gyro enthusiasts Carl and Lori! Carl hopes to get a 2 seat ship.

2005/10/22: PRA Chapter 5 picnic at Woodland

Took Carl up for a spin flying along with 3 other gyros: Bob, John and Jarron. They landed at Yolo and Davis while Carl and I stayed aloft to enjoy the view and get some pictures. Nice day to fly. Oh, and the picnic was great too!

2005/11/05: landing practice with John

Took John up for a spin and he gave me some excellent advice on my landings: look further down the runway. Turned it over to him and he flew for a while, getting the feel for a heavier machine. John plans to become a CFI. He will make a great instructor. Then we flew 2 gyros around the patch for over a half an hour, and all my landings went really well.

2005/12/10: PRA Chapter 5 meeting at Nut Tree

2006/01/15: landing practice

Flew around the patch practicing landings. Most were engine out simulations and all went well.

2006/02/25: last flight in California

Landing practice on video, thanks to John for shooting it.

2006/08/19: first flight in Texas

15 landings at new airport with 3 mile-long runways!

2006/11/04: exploring

First short trip leaving the new airport.

2006/12/02: venturing out further

Found a fun road to fly low over (no power lines).

2007/01/01: Happy New Year!

Flying around the airport with my new family watching.

2007/03/17: flight to Lockhart

Flying along with a train, and around a tall tower.

2007/04/28: X-country flight north

to wave at a friend from church.

2007/06/30: landing practice in hot thermals

2007/07/31: problem?

Quick sunset flight. But couldn't maintain 5200 during climb so I didn't go anywhere.

2007/09/29: stuttering above 5000 RPM?

Another test flight. Engine runs fine under 5000 RPM but stutters and cuts out over that.

2007/11/30: idle landing practice

and steep turns. Staying in the pattern since I still haven't figured out why engine won't run steady over 5000 RPM.

2008/03/29: problem resolved!

Engine smooth to 5300 RPM. Annual inspection revealed coil terminals had broken so they were apparently unable to transfer the power at high speeds. Coils replaced and relocated to the mast away from the vibrating propeller.

2008/05/17: finally a fun flight

East and North, flying low over 228 and flying around trees!

2008/08/23: three landings at Lockhart

2008/12/06: fun flight

2009/06/27: fun flight

2009/08/22: Lockhart visit

2009/09/07: two runways

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Timothy D. Witham <twitham@sbcglobal.net>
Time-stamp: "2019-11-04 12:46:05 twitham"