This page links you to FAQ pages on various topics.
More advanced researchers should click on the button "General Questions Page" Below.
An Adobe Acrobat flyer Introduction to Gyroplanes his HERE
Ok, lets get the big questions out of the way first:
Are Gyroplanes / gyrocopters / autogyros 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.
Are the blades powered?
Can you take off like a helicopter (vertical takeoff)?
Well not easily anyway. Several methods have been developed to achieve vertical takeoffs in gyroplanes. One method used in the very first gyroplanes ( autogyros ) used the engine to prerotate the blades past the speed needed for flight and then they can do a 'jump-takeoff'. Another technique used in rotordynes uses small jet nozzles called tip-jets to temporarily give the gyroplane helicopter - like abilities of vertical takeoff and hovering. These abilities are rare in gyroplanes and an expensive feature typically only found in specialized production gyroplanes.
Lets Learn about Rotorcraft!
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So, why are so many people so crazy about gyros??
Gyroplanes are the most maneuverable of all aircraft.
Gyroplanes are among the least expensive aircraft to operate
Gyroplanes like no other craft give a 'magic carpet' ride akin to 'flying like Super Man'. Imagine driving your lawn chair out onto a runway then taking off in a few hundred feet. Your lawn chair has the power to weight ratio of an F-16 and astonishing maneuverability. Before you is no aircraft body only your legs and the control stick.
A well made and stable gyroplane can handle wind and wind gusts better than almost all general aviation aircraft if piloted by an experienced pilot.
Gyroplanes are inexpensive to purchase and easy to build compared to other sport and general aviation aircraft.
Gyroplanes are easy to store and transport. It is common practice to keep your gyroplane in the garage and trailer it to a local airport to fly.
Landing is fun
GYROPLANES JUST PLAIN KICK BUTT!!
Ok, what is NOT so great about gyros?
Disinformation about gyroplanes abound.
Depending on where you live you may have to travel to get training.
I have some money burning a hole in my pocket and I want to buy a gyroplane right away. What do I need to know..
As you would expect the longer you have been involved with gyroplanes the more you will know and the better the buying decisions you will be able to make. Here are some important things to consider:
1. You WILL need TRAINING
2. Do not purchase a gyroplane unless you understand the significance of CLT ( Center Line Thrust ), Horizontal Stabilizer use in gyroplanes, PPO ( Power Push Over ), PIO ( Pilot Induced Oscillation ) and how to tell a gyroplane meets stability requirements.
3. Bensen and RAF gyroplanes are killers unless they have Horizontal Stabilizers and a low thrust offset!
4. Older gyroplane designs are the most likely to be Bensens. There are many good Bensens but you must make sure it is stable and that you receive proper training.
5. Do NOT trailer a gyroplane with the blades on.
6. Do not try to taxi the gyroplane until you understand rotor management.
7. Beware of unfinished kits. They are likely more trouble then they are worth.
8. Research your purchase as much as possible. See the links page for even more info.
What is the deal with the terms: Gyrocopter, Gyroplane, Autogyro? Do they all mean the same thing?
In general YES. However, there are minor technical differences. Here they are:
Autogyro 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. The most popular of this kind were the Pitcairns. Currently there is a revival of this style and several companies are offering plans and kits to build autogyros. Early Pitcairn autogyros could jump take off and would land and takeoff from the tops of buildings when doing runs for the US Postal Service.
Gyrocopter This is the most common term used by the general public. The term gyrocopter is a product name owned by the Bensen company. However, most people think this term represents all gyro's but technically it does not. Sort of like the term Kleenex is a brand name but not all tissues are Kleenex some are just tissues. Another way to look at it is that gyrocopter is the proper term after all. Though many stuffy gyro pilots might argue this point. Igor Bensen's Gyrocopter is the forefather of every gyroplane that is not a true autogyro. So it is not wholly wrong to call any modern gyroplane a gyrocopter.
Gyroplane 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. This term with the blessing of the FAA describes the entire class of aircraft. In the Category of Rotorcraft there are two classes: Helicopter and Gyroplane. When discussing FAA rules and regulations gyroplane is always the correct term to use.
Gyroglider Mostly a product of the Benson company this is a gyrocopter that is towed by a car or a boat. It has no engine and was often used in the past as a training tool. It is mostly used for fun now rather then training. Some of the very first gyrogliders or gyrokites were used for surveillance in world war two.
Rotordyne / Gyrodyne Rotordynes blur the line between helicopters and gyroplanes. Although autogyros can jump takeoff allowing a nearly vertical takeoff they can not hover or maneuver like a true helicopter. Rotordynes have blades that are temporarily powered in slow flight to allow the aircraft to take off vertically and hover much like a true helicopter. Once entering forward flight the rotordyne then unpowers the rotors becoming an autogyro. In autogyro mode the rotordyne can travel faster and more efficiently then a helicopter and with much lower operating costs. The most famous of it kind is the Farie Rotordyne
V/STOL Vertical / Short Take Off and Landing. Widely defined term covering hovercraft, jump jets, gyros, helicopters and more.
Can you tell them apart now?
Mouse over to see which term most commonly describes each one.
How did you do?
Basic FAQ about gyroplanes, gyrocopters and autogyros
"Rotors... The only way to fly"