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What is a Gyroplane? PDF Print E-mail

A Gyroplane is an amateur built flying machine similar to a helicopter but in some ways akin an airplane.  It has a rotor blade like a helicopter but cannot climb vertically and requires an airplane-like roll or run to become air-born.  Other names frequently referred to  the gyroplane are "Gyrocopter" or "Autogiro".

The key to understanding what makes a gyroplane fly is understanding the principal of auto-rotation.  Unlike a helicopter, the overhead rotor on a gyroplane is not powered (ie:  it is free wheeling).  The passage of air upward through the rotor blades causes them to spin resulting in the blade airfoil (shape) creating lift.  The rotor blade is kept turning by the weight of the aircraft hanging from the center of the rotating disc as well as the forward speed of the gyroplane which is achieved with an engine and propeller.

The origins of the gyroplane go back to 1919 when a Spanish inventor named Juan De La Cierva conceived the auto-rotation concept and developed the first rotary-winged aircraft.  The development of the helicopter evolved from these early gyroplane origins.

During World War II the ROTORCHUTE was utilized as a lookout platform.  It was this gyroplane that provided the fundamentals for many of today's gyroplane designs including tho of Dr Igor Bensen.

Dr Igor Bensen began designing and building gyro-gliders and "gyrocopter" in 1953 as an aircraft that was suitable and affordable for the general aviation public.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 February 2012 12:08