Chris Burgess traces his love for rotorcraft back to his service in Vietnam. Even while flying Cobras for the US Army, he found himself fascinated by the early Bensen Gyrocopter ads in Popular Mechanics magazine. He became a member of the Popular Rotorcraft Association (PRA) while still in the service, anticipating the arrival of each new issue of Rotorcraft magazine.
Back home after the war with thousands of helicopter hours logged, Chris got to indulge his dream of rotary-winged flight at a personal level. He earned certificates including Commercial Helicopter and Gyroplane, Instrument Helicopter and, with the help of a PRA scholarship, Gyroplane Instructor. His first ten years of instruction took place in a Parsons tandem, essentially a stretched Bensen, powered by a McCulloch two-stroke drone engine.
These days Chris, based at Frederick Airport (KFDK) in Maryland, offers instruction in a Snobird tandem, an Experimental Amateur Built gyroplane with a Honda auto engine conversion. But once each year, he "pays back" his PRA scholarship by trailering his machine ten hours to Mentone, IN, where eager students from around the country compete to get on his instruction schedule at the annual PRA convention. Chris shared his love for the sport, and concerns for its future, with Aero-TV at PRA Mentone 2010.
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