Gyrocopters

The Gyrocopter, also known originally as Autogyro or gyroplane, is a type of rotorcraft which uses an unpowered rotor to develop lift, and an engine-powered propeller, similar to that of a fixed-wing aircraft, to provide thrust. While similar to a helicopter rotor in appearance, the gyrocopter’s rotor must have air flowing through it generate its rotation.

In 1920, a Spanish engineer by the name of Juan de la Cierva invented what he originally called an Autogyro. His idea was to create an aircraft that could safely fly at slow speeds. Its maiden voyage was on January 9, 1923.

The original Autogyro resembled the fixed-wing aircraft of the day, with a front-mounted engine and propeller pull the aircraft through the air. Later model Autogyro designs feature a rear-mounted engine and propeller in a pusher configuration. To achieve take-off, Gyrocopter rotors must be spinning at an appropriate speed…..this is called “pre-rotation”. Today, this pre-rotation is achieved by the use of the power-plant, transmissions and clutches that engage and disengage to get to the appropriate rotation.

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