Image © Darrenj Harbar

Image © Darren Harbar

History of the Autogyro

Autogyro’s where invented by Juan de la Cierva, only 20 years after the Wright Brothers first flight, they marked a departure from conventional fixed wing aircraft in an attempt to invent an aircraft that couldn’t STALL.

The name autogiro was a Trade name for Cierva’s make of aircraft, nowadays, they are also known as gyrocopters, gyroplanes, and autogyro’s and just Gyro’s, they were the first rotary wing aircraft to fly successfully under full, safe control.

They rely on a phenomenon known as autorotation, where the airflow makes them spin by the aerodynamic forces of the airflow through the disc of the rotor and over the blades, exactly the same way a windmill blade turns. No Power, just the wind.

The technologies essential for helicopters rotor heads were all first developed for the autogyro. They have a number of advantages over helicopters, namely simplicity, cost, and weight. A helicopter rotor is a complex and expensive piece of engineering; it provides the lift, thrust, and control for the aircraft.

The Autogyro also uses the rotor for flight control, but by the use of a two blade teetering (seesaw) rotor it reduces the complexity of the system, and thus reduces weight and cost. In flight the autogyro has one other major advantage that over both airplanes and helicopters – safety in the event of an engine failure. If an engine fails in a gyro, the same thing would happen as if the pilot tried to fly too slowly, no stall, the aircraft will slowly descend vertically under full control. In fact, the procedure for landing an autogyro after engine failure is similar for landing an autogyro under ordinary circumstances, quite simple and with a 3m landing roll, very safe to be put down anywhere safely

All rotorcraft exhibit the ability to handle strong and gusty wind conditions, the autogyro in no exception, capable of handling 40kt winds, there natural stability make them easy to fly in these condition, making hovering in the wind relative to the ground a easy maneuver.

Image © Paul Johnson/Flightline UK

Image © Paul Johnson/Flightline UK

Our Display Aircraft

RotorSport Calidus with Rotax 914 (115hp).

Tandem two-seat aircraft, designed in Germany 3 years ago as a comfortable touring machine capable of going places, with cabin heat, fully adjustable pilot seat. Was certified by CAA in UK Jan 2011. Over 1000 of this make sold Worldwide. Built in response to the demand for an enclosed gyroplane, the Calidus addresses many of the problems which have occurred with other aircrafts of this type:

  • Uses tried and tested technology
  • Low weight – great performance
  • Tandem seating for low drag
  • Aerodynamic profile gives clean airflow to the prop
  • Spacious interior for comfort
  • High payload allows serious cross-country flight
  • High-tech composite bodywork & horizontal stabilizer
  • High performance aluminum rotor system 8.4m diameter
  • 115hp Rotax 914ULS flat 4 four stroke engine with a 2000hr life, runs on Mogas (car petrol)
  • Quiet – meets strict German noise regulations
Empty Weight
Max Take-Off Weight
VNE (max speed)
Cruise Speed
Min Speed
Rate of Climb
Take-Off Distance
Landing Distande
Fuel Capacity
Fuel Burn
Length (exlc. rotor)
300 kg
500 kg
200 kg
120 mph
up to 100 mph
20-25 mph
up to 1,200 fpm
10m – 70m
0m – 15m
76 litres
up to 4hrs endurance
12 -18 litres per hr