The autogyro , also known as a  gyrocopter  or gyroplane,  is a type of aircraft that has been around for several decades. These were the first rotary wing aircraft that managed to fly successfully and with sufficient control. The design had inherent safety, better low-speed flight than airplanes, as well as the ability for vertical take – off and landing . But despite their advantages, even before the introduction of the first successful helicopters that outperformed, autogyros were never accepted by the public.


Information of interest

  • Vehicle Type:  Aircraft
  • Inventor: Juan de la Cierva
  • Year:  1920

What is the autogyro?

The autogyro is a flying vehicle analogous to airplanes and helicopters that has some characteristics that make them unique. Created with wings, wheels, frame, motor and propeller to propel the air .

  • History of the autogyro
  • Who invented it
  • Autogyro Features
  • How the gyrocopter works
  • Applications

History of the autogyro

The initial history of the autogyro is based on the story of a man known as Don Juan de la Cierva . Cierva was born in Murcia, Spain , on September 21, 1895. His first attempt was to rebuild the biplane known as the Sommer . He equipped it with a new engine and made several modifications to it. In 1912, he named it the BCD-1 El Cangrejo aircraft . The aircraft managed to fly well and was the first aircraft built in Spain. Cierva’s second attempt was the BCD-2 , a monoplane, which he built in 1913. He managed to rebuild it again, but it crashed a second time so he decided to abandon the design. The third and final aircraft design was the C-3. The plane was a biplane of three engines large, and managed to complete it in May 1919. He managed to blow it properly but one of the preliminary tests the pilot flew the plane too slow and stopped.

Cierva’s first attempt to build an autogyro was known as C.1 . This aircraft had two different rotors with the idea of ​​providing lift and counter rotation to eliminate torque . A vertical control surface above the rotors was intended to provide lateral control , while a conventional tail rudder and elevators would provide control over the other axles. Unfortunately it didn’t work but when it was tested again in October 1920, it successfully demonstrated the principles of autorotation.while rolling on the ground. After the C.1, Cierva began work on his next design, the C.2 which had a single five-bladed rotor , with duralumin bars and then began work on the C.3. It had a rotor with three blades , a rudder and an elevatorfor yaw and pitch control. However, this design proved impractical, and the C.3 only managed to rise a few inches off the ground. Once this was done with the C.3, he went back to working with the C.2. The C.2 was finally completed in early 1922 and had similar controls to the C.3 but this time it achieved slightly better lateral control and short jumps of a few feet above the ground, but was still unable to maintain sustained flight .

The next major breakthrough in gyroplanes came on August 5, 1931. This was the first flight of the Wilford WRK . This new gyrocopter replaced the hinged rotors with a rigid rotor with cyclic pitch variation. Cyclic pitch variation is a method in which the pitch of the blades changes as they rotate. The pitch is lowered when moving in the direction of the aircraft, and raised when moving in the opposite direction. This does the same as flapping to balance the lift created by the blades. The WRK was the first autogyro to successfully fly with a rigid rotor.

Who invented it

The autogyro was created by Juan de la Cierva in 1920.

Autogyro Features

  • It carries out its propulsion by means of a propeller .
  • It has wings and a rotor similar to the helicopter .
  • The rotor rotates freely driven by the air.
  • Has speed flying slow but not stop in the air.
  • It is quite a safe device to fly.

How the gyrocopter works

The autogyro advances by means of a motor that turns the propeller when it pushes the air backwards. It has several rotating blades at the top, which is known as a rotor , which is rotating producing speed depending on the air. The speed makes the blades move rotary without the need for a motor, which creates an air impulse that gives lift, producing the lift of the gyrocopter .


  • Forest , coastal and border surveillance .
  • Fire detection .
  • Support and link to land and sea units.
  • Police and army and counterterrorism strategies.
  • Support for civil protection in the countries .
  • Tracking victims or fugitives .
  • Control air traffic .
  • Inspection of electrical lines.
  • Agricultural spraying .
  • Farm control .

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