From the Cockpit Part 45: ELA Eclipse 10

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Editor’s Note: This is part 45 of an ongoing series documenting the flights of active-duty US Navy Pilot Ryan Rankin on his journey to fly 52 planes in 52 weeks through the year 2017.

Not content to fly just one this year, Rankin steps behind the controls of another gyroplane this week—the ELA Eclipse 10. Partnering up once again with Chris Lord over in Sebring, FL, Rankin takes the top-shelf gyroplane out for a spin to see the sights in style.

A noticeable step up from the Cougar he flew previously, the Eclipse comes with a more powerful engine, all the creature comforts, a whole host of avionics and a souped-up streamlined look like something out of James Bond (the secret agent does fly a gyroplane in You Only Live Twice), plus a removable canopy. “It has more of a first-class feel,” says Rankin.

Feeling a bit more confident on this second excursion into the world of gyroplanes, Rankin was “definitely more comfortable,” he says. Lord performs a vertical take-off (gyroplanes don’t necessarily need a runway) and passes the controls to Rankin for a nice 30-minute jaunt through the skies. It flies like a plane, with a bit of a helicopter’s personality, and when the time is up he angles the Eclipse toward the runway for landing. He waits for Lord to take the controls, but he never does. Without a word, he leaves the task to Rankin, who performs the job with aplomb. Lord congratulates him on the ground. “That would never happen in a helicopter,” says Rankin.

When asked to choose between the Cougar and the Eclipse, Rankin doesn’t hesitate. “The Eclipse, for sure,” he says.

For more about the flight in Rankin's own words and a video of the flight, follow the link below.

Pictured: Ryan Rankin and Chris Lord fly the ELA Eclipse 10. Photo courtesy of Ryan Rankin.

Ryan Flies

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