Aerial mustering makes the news from time to time, and often its not good news! ‘Another helicopter crash mustering…’ might be a headline you come across.
Simply put helicopters can be death traps in certain situations. Flying low to the ground in banked turns behind the power curve is a no win situation.
Gyro’s can perform 90% of the aerial work done by helicopters and come with a considerable benefit of added safety along with some serious cost savings.
Jack Lennon and his family are the first we know of who are using the MTO Sport to muster in Australia, and this is their story.
Jack came to us back in 2009 when we were running our Shark Watch on the Northern Beaches of N.S.W
He’d come across our website, looked into our gyro’s and immediately saw the opportunity to use them for work around his property, with an emphasis on potentially being able to muster the goats that ran wild from the national park adjoining their farm.
After taking a trial flight, Jack started his gyroplane training just a couple of months later and also purchased a new MTO Sport that was to be put to use on their farm.
It’s now around two years on from when Jack and his family took ownership of their newest piece of farming equipment, and Jack has been kind enough to provide us with some info about how things have been since then.
Our family had previously been in the agricultural business as graziers on small properties around Goondiwindi and Yelarbon. The relatively small size of these properties made it practical to muster cattle and sheep using horses, motorbikes and dogs.
In 2009 we purchased two large properties, “Weona” and “Waggan” near Weilmoringle in northern NSW.
The size of these properties was around 50,000 acres in total, and we quickly found mustering difficult due to the large sized paddocks.
We found that we were having difficulty getting clean musters, and oftentimes we’d be forced to re-muster a paddock up to four times to get it clean.
We decided that we needed an aircraft to improve our mustering performance and efficiency. We discussed the option of a very cost effective but relatively unproven technology in mustering:- “The Gyro-Plane”.
So myself (Jack Lennon) and property hand Tom Paul started training as gyro-Pilots in late 2009. On completion of our training we purchased an Autogyro MTO Sport.
We started using the MTO in April 2010 and found that with this aircraft we could easily get clean musters first go. This saved us a lot of time, reduced our labour requirements, and allowed us to manage our livestock more effectively.
Another advantage of the MTO is its ability travel long distances between properties and towns. We have taken advantage of this ability by regularly travelling between properties for routine tasks as well as to get out of the place in emergencies such as floods.
The MTO was doing a great job, and felt very stable and safe to fly, so my older sister Louise also got her gyro pilot’s certification and is now flying the gyro in musters on the property out west.
She was trained by Neil Farr and is the first female gyro pilot in the MTO in Australia. (Well done Louise!)
During the floods we used the gyrocopter to get to Cunnamulla when the roads were cut to get some groceries.
I currently fly our gyro, and we used it during the floods to monitor the flood levels and stock safety.
It was absolutely amazing to see the flood progress from the air – every day the water had spread further and further through the channels and spread out over the paddocks. I felt sorry for my (non flying) family who couldn’t come up and see how spectacular it was.
We bought the gyro in 2009 when the cost of the gyro could still be claimed 100% as a straight off tax write off (this was a government incentive at the time that allowed business vehicles to be claimed as a business expense and deducted completely in that financial year).
As I understand it, as this incentive is no longer available, the normal tax rules would be that you would claim the gyro as an asset and depreciate it over a number of years, with the amount of depreciated each year being claimed as a loss against your taxable income.
So as you can see, the MTO Sport is a fantastic aircraft that can be effectively put to use for a range of tasks on the farm.
Contact us today if you’d like more info about the MTO Sport, or the other two types of Autogyro available.