By Mark S. Kenna
Aug. 8, 2013. Dylan Tatum, winemaker and general manger at Grandfather Vineyard and Winery, took a trip above the High Country in a gyroplane this weekend.
A family friend, Mike Simmons, hauled the gyroplane in a trailer from Wilmington.
“Being up there gave me a new perspective of the entire High Country,” Tatum said. “It’s really amazing. When you’re up in the air looking at it you don’t realize how big of a piece of land the vineyard is.”
The gyroplane takes off and lands like an air plan, but flies like a helicopter.
“It’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on,” Simmons said, “unless you’re helicopter skiing in Utah or Canada, and I have done both.
But the design and function of gyroplanes have not always been the most stable.
Earlier generation gyroplanes were not stable and had design flaws, Simmons said.
“These second generation gyroplanes are much safer and have more sound engineering that increases the ease of flying,” Simmons said.
“It was a little scary to start with but I definitely did feel safe,” Tatum said, adding that it would be nice to have a plane like that one day and fly around for a hobby.
Tatum graduated from Appalachian State University last May. He recieved his degree in business management with a concentration in entrepreneurship.