Gyro Plane for law enfourcementby Greg Vos Flight Examiner
Being home since covid I was wondering why no-one has approached our local law enforcement agencies with the benefit's of using a gyroplane for law enforcement, this raised a discussion with a fiend who represents a ward in our local community. Now SA is full of mom and pop shop gyroplane schools and we have all the major brands represented....but not one is working the table so to speak (gamblers will know what I mean)
One would think they would use the skills and the tools (gyro copter) and do something to bolster their school or "pad the income statement. I know for sure of a local school where the owner and CFI is forever telling me and everyone how he is battling to make ends meet, with very few new students ? I cant imagine why !
So I decided as a induvial who is simply a freelance guy with no direct inroads into government or its agencies to see if they would be interested? There is gyro operation up North who claim to be doing all sorts of things with Gyro? but in depth google search returns a zero information and on forums they claim all sorts of development with a list of clients ..but no pictures or evidence to back it up. In fact I have travelled to most countries they list ops within and have never seen evidence to support their claims?
I approach a thing like a "Hunter" coming from the marketing background wherein I made my living selling capital equipment, having been retired since I was age 43 the first time and then working at my discretion as I wanted, I have not lost those initiatives.
I contacted the Head of the Western Cape Government and the door was shut in may face more times than I care to mention, going from the Mayors office to the door security at there building, after being tenacious I got the Ear of Elderman JP Smith Mayoral Committee Member: Safety and Security ( this is like having a Royal Flush at a poker Table) in short a very busy man and he does not entertain sales people or have time me to meet joe public.
Not detoured I pestered him until he agreed to come for a Demonstration flight, I went further and he agreed provided I extend the offer to his entire team of Directors, In turn I agreed as long as we could do it on a Sunday 😀 and we kick of at 8am. Now this is arrogant, I just want to drive home the advantage of our wonderful most misunderstood flying machines, thinking if I get him to agree to this after all its his Sunday too it will show me as a Sales Engineer Im still at the top of my game. For me life must be a game.
Its unfortunate that no aircraft sales operation has seen the opportunity and harnessed its potential and exploited it YET, in SA with the gyro representatives only focusing on the recreational market.
So get this, I get the head of the Cape Metro Police and his entire team to a remote GA airfield (FAFK) on a Sunday ...yep so the day begins with Demo flight after demo flight, I did a total 14 Flights all with different flight times and in every flight going through the differences of a Gyro versus a Helicopter in the Law Enforcement environment.
JP Smith was so impressed he even called his Brother who came down just to experience it himself, I flew the head of City Procurement and she was suitably impressed with the humble gyroplane, I flew the head of the Metro Police Drone division and he was simply blown away...
In short it was along day wherein a concerned citizen (me) simply wished to add value to the local police force and having knowledge of what they spend per year in Helicopter hours for me investing in a Breakfast for all and free flights I think I opened their eyes!
I had a great day and was happy to make the investment Time / Hobbs and light breakfast, and we all went home with a very well invested Sunday......
Then 5 weeks go by and I hear nothing from them? (keep in mind Im a Private guy not a company not gyro OEM or supplier) the phone rings while Im driving to the beach, a very polite gent on the line who happens to be the Director of Metro Police CCTV and Radio communications Capt: Barry Schuller, now first thing that goes through my mind is oh dear what have I done? myself no stranger to local law enforcement with my rather enthusiastic driving style and love of sports cars that I drive as if I have stolen them 🤣
He askes if I would be interested in doing more trials and he is willing to pay?? what I must fly and you want to pay!!! hell yes Sir you have my attention, now being guided by his peers on the instant cost advantage of Gyroplane /Helicopter and knowing that everyone is looking for ways to save on unnecessary expenses and invest the saving into more pressing resources.
I felt what with his attitude I can fly him with pleasure, so we discussed the events for the day and what we need to cover with his team, now I come from the electronic engineering background and when he asked about testing new camera equipment and its associated add-ons that you expect to find in a Metro Police car I was not only excited about the project for the day but also to learn about the new equipment the law enforcement have for tracking down us habitual speedsters😂
So Friday the 13 November sees us flying through the Cape Sky and the trial went flawlessly, so much so that they have invited me to do a full on presentation to with the intention of then purchasing air hours from me to patrol beaches and other hot spots over the next few months,
I attaché some random pictures of the two days, and as I post this sit back and say If I was younger If I needed the money if I had the apatite for starting a new business ...its right here in my lap ...and why have the so called hungry Gyro OEM represented locally not harnessed the huge opportunity?
Thinking I had some of the most senior people of local government in a humble gyroplane 😎 and my goodness did I fly it like I stole it.