What is a Gyroplane?

Gyroplane History

The first documented concept of a rotating-wing aircraft was created by Leonardo DaVinci. That concept became a reality on January 9, 1923, when engineer and inventor Juan de la Cierva flew his “autogiro” with unpowered rotors for the first time. Since then, his design has been improved upon until reaching the sleek-bodied, modern design the aircraft is now known for.

Flight Dynamics

Performance

Unlike a helicopter, a gyroplane’s rotor blades are not connected to the engine, except during pre-rotation just before takeoff. The rotor blades auto-rotate by way of being loaded and traveling through air. Thus, a gyroplane does not need the engine to be in control in order to fly. Instead, the engine keeps the gyroplane moving forward, without losing altitude. In the event of an engine out, a gyroplane will simply start to lose altitude and can land with almost zero roll – meaning it can touch down gently and then safely come to a stop. It needs a relatively small space (300 to 600 feet) to break ground on takeoff, and can land in a patch of land as small as a tennis court.

Stability

The stability of the gyroplane in turbulence is unrivaled, thanks to its wing loading and gyro effect. It cuts through the air smoothly, without letting you feel many bumps, and the controls are smooth and require little movement. A roll upset (aircraft suddenly banking or rolling to one side without a commanded pilot input) in a gyroplane, due to thermals or shear, is very rare whereas it is very commonplace in airplanes and other winged aircraft. This allows you to fly the gyroplane in some conditions where many heavier airplanes are uncomfortable to fly.

Control

A gyroplane cannot stall or spin. Even at zero indicated airspeed, its controls are responsive. This is further exemplified by the fact that when losing altitude due to being behind the power curve, you remain in command and have the ability to fly out of it. A gyroplane can fly very slowly, and can handle strong wind and mid-day turbulence with comfort and ease. A gyroplane can take you where you want to go at 80 to 100 mph, as well.

Stowing & Hauling

A gyroplane is a compact aircraft that can easily be stowed in a relatively small space, in a hangar or garage. Gyroplanes take up much less space than any aircraft with wings, and can be easily transported in a trailer.