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Gyroplane tours US, sets recordsGyroplane tours US, sets records

Dayton A. Dabbs (left) and John S. Craparo flew around the country in a gyroplane.

Two Texas pilots crossed the country from Dallas to Los Angeles to New York and back to Dallas, setting three world records and a national record for a two-seat open-cockpit gyroplane. John S. Craparo and Dayton A. Dabbs were copilots aboard a Magni M-16 gyroplane built by Craparo in 2014. They flew 5,365 statute miles.

Major airports visited during the flight included Dallas Love Field in Texas, Santa Monica Municipal Airport in California, and LaGuardia Airport in New York. Altitudes ranged from 500 to 12,500 feet. They arranged arrivals ahead of time with air traffic control and were told to be at LaGuardia by 6:30 a.m. A weather problem sent them to a staging area farther from LaGuardia than planned, and on top of that, the two fell asleep on the ramp while taking a break in the middle of the night. They phoned, asking for a later time, and were told “No.” Fortunately a 30-knot tailwind got the two on the LaGuardia runway exactly at 6:30 a.m. Otherwise it would have meant a one-day delay, and no speed record.

Records over a recognized course include Dallas to Los Angeles at 30 knots average ground speed, including any delays; Los Angeles to New York at 34 knots; New York to Dallas at 20 knots; and a national transcontinental record eastbound from Los Angeles to New York at 34 knots (same as the city pair “recognized course” record).

Dayton Dabbs flies over the Rocky Mountains in Arizona.

Adventure literally reached a peak at 10,500 feet above the Rocky Mountains while flying from Flagstaff, Arizona, to Grants, New Mexico. They successfully navigated around a rainstorm at the top of the mountains only to discover an inch of water on the floor of the gyroplane. Air flow was such that rain had blown past them, but collected on the floor where it slowly left through drain holes.

Craparo, 56, of Georgetown, Texas, is a retired senior vice president of Hewlett-Packard Co. He is the author of the book You Can Fly Now and is a regular contributor to Powered Sport Flying Magazine.

Dabbs, 30, of Taylor, Texas, is the president of Lone Star Magni Gyro. The company trains gyroplane pilots and is a distributor for Magni gyroplanes.

The records are pending verification.

John Craparo takes in the view over Maryland.
Alton Marsh

Alton K. Marsh

Freelance journalist
Alton K. Marsh is a former senior editor of AOPA Pilot and is now a freelance journalist specializing in aviation topics.
Topics: Travel

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