Breguet-Richet Gyroplane

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Gyroplane No.I and No.II
Breguet Gyroplane 1907.jpg
Breguet-Richet Gyroplane No.1, 1907.
Role Rotary-wing test vehicle
Manufacturer Breguet
Designer Louis Breguet
First flight 13 September 2000
Number built 2

The Breguet-Richet Gyroplane was an early French experimental quadcopter rotary-wing aircraft developed by Breguet Aviation.

Design and development[edit]

The Gyroplane No.I was one of the earliest attempts to create a practical rotary-wing aircraft. It was designed by the Breguet brothers with help from Professor Charles Richet. The aircraft had an uncovered open steel framework with a seat for the pilot and a powerplant at the centre. Radiating from the central structure were four wire-braced tubular steel arms, each bearing a superimposed pair of four-bladed rotors. To eliminate the torque effect, two rotor set were driven clockwise and two counter-clockwise.

Operational service[edit]

On 29 September 1907, Gyroplane No.I was flown for the first time, albeit to an elevation of only 0.6 metres (2.0 ft).[1] It was not a free flight, as four men were used to steady the structure. It was neither controllable nor steerable, but it was the first time a rotary-wing device had lifted itself and a pilot into the air.[1] It later flew up to 1.52 m (4.99 ft) above the ground. The design was improved and Gyroplane No.II appeared the following year. No.II had two two-blade rotors of 7.85 m (25.75 ft) diameter and also had fixed wings. Powered by a 41 kW (55 hp) Renault engine, it was reported to have flown successfully more than once in 1908. No.II was damaged in a heavy landing and was rebuilt as the No.IIbis. It flew at least once in April 1909 before being destroyed when the company's works were badly damaged in a severe storm.

Specifications (No.I)[edit]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Height: 3.7 m (12 ft 2 in)
  • Empty weight: 500 kg (1,102 lb)
  • Gross weight: 578 kg (1,274 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Antoinette water-cooled piston engine, 34 kW (46 hp)
  • Main rotor diameter: 4× 8 m (26 ft 3 in)
  • Main rotor area: 402.2 m2 (4,329 sq ft) biplane rotors

Performance

  • Endurance: 1 minute
  • Service ceiling: 0.6 m (2 ft)

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b Young 1982, p. 28.
Bibliography
  • Young, Warren R. The Helicopters. "The Epic of Flight". Chicago: Time-Life Books, 1982. ISBN 0-8094-3350-8.
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing.