A flettner airplane or rotor airplane is an airplane that has no wings but instead uses the Magnus effect to create lift. Thus it is similar to the flettner rotor used in a rotor ship. Such airplanes were first built by Anton Flettner. Flettner airplane should not be confused with the cyclogyro, which uses a different aerodynamic effect, but has a similar configuration of rotors.
Although Flettner constructed at least one aircraft, there was no record of them ever having flown. Recently at least one free-flying model has been built and flown.
The development of the rotor aircraft was inspired by Flettner's rotor ship. The rotor ship, the Buckau, now renamed the "Baden-Baden," successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean on 9 May 1926, and docked in New York, where it attracted considerable attention. The image[clarification needed] shows the prototype of the rotor aircraft in an American shipyard at Hudson, New York. At that time, corresponding developments were made in Germany already.
Note 1: A tiltwing or tiltrotor aircraft functions as an aeroplane during normal (horizontal) flight and as a helicopter during low-speed flight.
Note 2: For full-size aircraft with powered rotors the rotor is normally tilted to achieve thrust (e.g. in a helicopter). Some toys (e.g. balloon helicopter) do have a powered rotor with no means to tilt the rotor to produce horizontal thrust.