hmmmmm.... so a autogiro is like a helicopter, but the autogiro's main rotor blade is non-powered. and even better the thing cant crash if it runs out of gas!!!!!
i bet this puppy would make a great weapon for freedom fighters and terrorists
Copterlike craft star of air show
Thomas Ropp The Arizona Republic Feb. 25, 2006 12:00 AM
CAREFREE - An aircraft that resembles a tiny helicopter but flies like a sycamore seed will headline today's Wings & Wheels Vintage Aircraft and Auto Show at Sky Ranch Airport.
Featured in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice, the autogiro is actually an old aircraft that the world forgot and has just now rediscovered and refined.
The autogiro was first developed in 1923 by Spaniard Juan de la Cierva, just 20 years after the Wright brothers introduced fixed-wing aircraft.
Autogiros were designed to be used like cars.
Amelia Earhart was so taken with them that in 1931 she tried to make the first autogiro flight across America. After many short hops, she finally reached Oakland, only to learn that someone else had set that record nine days earlier.
The advent of the helicopter in the late 1930s swept the autogiro aside. But aviation adventurers like former Navy pilot and Moon Valley resident Lonnie McClung are working hard to bring them back.
McClung is a local autogiro dealer for Salt Lake City-based Groen Brothers Aviation Inc.'s new subsidiary, American Autogyro Inc., which manufactures autogiro kits for under $40,000.
McClung will be bringing a sleek, modern SparrowHawk model to Wings & Wheels.
"About 90 kits have been sold," McClung said. "It's becoming very popular among sports flying enthusiasts."
McClung said law enforcement agencies are also becoming interested in the autogiro for surveillance work, including keeping an eye on Arizona's borders.
"It has a great future in law enforcement because it uses pump gas and operates at a cost of only $25 an hour, just a fraction of what a helicopter would cost," McClung said.
His autogiro does not hover or take off vertically, but can do most everything else a helicopter will do.
Unlike a helicopter, the autogiro's main rotor blade is non-powered. A 160-horsepower engine propels the autogiro forward. Air moving over the aircraft spins the rotor, which provides the lift.
This machine cannot stall. If there is engine failure, the rotor will continue to spin, allowing the craft to slowly descend. This is much like a sycamore seedpod with its "two wings" that allow the seed to remain airborne longer from the twirling action on the way down.
McClung said 10 to 15 hours of training is required, followed by a check-ride with a Federal Aviation Administration examiner.
A sad note about Cierva, the driving force behind the autogiro. In 1936, at the age of 41, he died in a plane crash. Ironically, it was in one of those Wright brothers' creations.
Wings & Wheels is presented by Carefree Resort & Villas and benefits the Cave Creek Museum and Kiwanis Club of Carefree.