Aviation's best kept secret

Gyroplanes, Gyrocopters and Autogyros -

Aviation�s best kept secret

Do they all mean the same thing?

In general, yes, but there minor technical differences

Autogyro (Autogiro)

         The term Autogyro is used to describe the first style of gyroplanes.

         These are tractor-style gyroplanes that have a fuselage that looks like a conventional aircraft.



         This is the most common term used by the general public.

         The term gyrocopter is a product name owned by the Bensen company.

         Sort of like the term Kleenex is a brand name but not all tissues are Kleenex some are just tissues.



         In the United States the FAA�s official term is gyroplane.

         Gyroplane is the term most used by the pilots and people in the hobby

What is a Gyroplane?

         Gyroplanes are a cross between a helicopter and an airplane.

         Mostly like a helicopter the gyroplane is a rotorcraft and uses rotorblades as a spinning wing to fly.

         Unlike a helicopter the rotorblades are not powered directly by the engine and they use a propeller for forward movement.


So what is there to know?

         What is so good about gyros?

         Where did gyros come from?

         Where are gyros going?

         Are gyros safe?

         What kinds are there?

         Where do I get info?


What is so good about gyros?

         Gyros are safe

         A Gyroplane can maneuver and land in a very small area.

         A well made and stable gyroplane can handle wind better than almost all general aviation aircraft

       if piloted by an experienced pilot.

       Inexpensive to purchase and easy to build compared to other sport and general aviation aircraft.

         Easy to store and transport.

       Gyros are FUN!


Where did gyros come from?

         Spanish inventor Juan de Ia Cierva built the first "Autogiro" in 1923

         Cierva�s patents were used to develop the helicopter, vertiplane and rotordyne type aircraft. (many patents were stolen from Cierva)

         Autogyro kites were �secret weapons� used by German WWII Submarines and under development by the English.

         1953 saw the rebirth of interest in the gyroplane with the invention of Dr. Igor Bensen's patented "Gyrocopter."


Where are gyros going?

         Carter Copters are breaking the rotorcraft speed record!

         Groen Bros are developing Heavy Lift Gyroplanes and Super-safe, Super Cheap alternatives to helicopters

         The Monarch is an inexpensive kit that can land vertically at great speed without damage to the airframe

         Homebuilders have created true VTOL gyros


Are gyros safe?

         Gyros are safe, in fact virtually the safest aircraft type there is.

         However, the safest aircraft is still no match for an untrained or unsafe pilot.

Consider an in flight engine out scenario on a fixed wing aircraft, helicopter and gyro.

Engine Out! Fixed wing aircraft:

         When the engine stops in flight, you must descend to hold your airspeed. Even with the slowest of airplanes you�ll need a few hundred feet of flat open ground to land safely.

Engine Out! Helicopter:

         The pilot must quickly  transfer to autorotation. If at any point,  the rotor blade rotation speed decays too much, all control is lost.

Engine Out! A Gyro:

         Is ALWAYS in the autorotation mode. If the engine stops in flight, simply hold your airspeed  and pick your landing spot. At landing you �flare� to trade the stored energy of the blades for a soft no-roll landing. A gyro has full control and makes a normal landing even without engine power.


What kinds are there?

         There are many gyroplane manufacturers and models. Here are just a few of the most popular in South Africa.




         MT- 03



Where do I get info?

         For more information contact




       Even if you are an experienced pilot you still must get lessons from a gyroplane certified instructor.

       Gyroplanes are relatively easy to fly but are not fixed wing aircraft or helicopters. Gyroplanes have some very unique attributes that require gyro specific training!