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N199TW: Tim Witham's RAF 2000 GTX SE
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.
here for all my original gyro pages that were on quiknet.com from
1999 - 2002, featuring Gyro-Cam, construction-log, pictures, movies
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
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
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
Then, since I had drove all that way, I stayed a few more days to
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
"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
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
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.
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
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!
First short trip leaving the new airport.
2006/12/02: venturing out further
Found a fun road to fly low over (no power lines).
Flying around the airport with my new family watching.
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
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.
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
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
Back to the Top
Timothy D. Witham
Time-stamp: "2019-11-04 12:46:05 twitham"