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Flight Characteristics[edit]

There are very little information regarding how an autogyro actually flies. How does it compare to an airplane or a helicopter in terms of take-off, landing, handling and top speeds? Jonathan Karlsson (talk) 13:01, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

I've built and flown gyrocopters (the name Autogyro properly belongs only to Cierva's invention and was a trade name). Depending on such variables as engine power, altitude, air temperature etc they usually have a short take off and very short landing roll. If the rotor can be spun up before take off, they can leap into the air. They are fairly resistant to crosswinds and turbulence, much more so than fixed wing aircraft of the same mass. Despite being incredibly manoeuvrable, they do NOT tolerate negative G situations, as the rotors become unstable, begin to flap wildly and can hit the rudder or pusher prop. As the rotor in autorotation creates a lot of drag and is very inefficient, they generally have a top speed much lower than the same power plant and propeller would give for a fixed wing aircraft. --Phil Wardle (talk) 01:47, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
the name Autogyro properly belongs only to Cierva's invention and was a trade name - Actually the Cierva Autogiro Company trade name was Autogiro with an 'i' - spelt with a 'y' it's the generic name for any rotocraft of this type. IIRC, 'gyrocopter' was a trade name registered by the Bensen Aircraft company in the US. So the correct generic name for these types of aircraft is autogyro. If the name is spelt with an 'i' then the aircraft is built using the Cierva Autogiro Company's patents - hence Pitcairn Autogiro company. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:35, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Performance, and engine failure/stall characteristics[edit]

Does anybody know how many miles to the gallon these things typically do? Also, in the case of an engine failure/stall, what is the landing like? Let's say you're at 5,000 feet and your engine fails - do you make a soft landing? Hard landing? Can you die this way? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:06, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Although these pages are for discussing the article rather than the subject I can give you some quick answers - generally gyros do less than helicopters but more than fixed wing planes of similar performances (the rotors are not powered, hence the power need by helis to maintain flight is un-needed, but autorotation develops a lot of drag compared to fixed wings...) If the engine fails while you are in autorotation you remain in auto rotation, only your foward speed decreases until you start descending (descent also causes the wing to autorotate). Your landing will be hard but generally survivable - with skill you should still be able to execute a flared landing and be none the worse except at the wrong destination. Of course you can die this way, but usually through panicking or bad luck. LessHeard vanU (talk) 21:24, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for that. I know these pages are for discussing the article. I guess I was asking that this information be put into the article if anybody knew it. I would do it but have had too many complaints when I made edits. But thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:54, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Landing under autorotation doesn't have to be hard e.g. this one which was done pretty much engine-off. As for fuel consumption, it can be quite heavy. A Bensen-type gyro fitted with a Rotax 582 (or Rotax 503) two-stroke engine can consume as much as 25 litres/hour yet can only fly at 60-70mph. A larger gyro fitted with a Rotax 912 or Subaru engine would have lower consumption (<20 litres/hour at 75% throttle) and would go faster. --TimTay (talk) 21:59, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Barry Jones performed a forced landing in the Alps using the Rotax 914 turbo. Dr.K. (talk) 04:04, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
The question with including the information indicated/requested is how to include it? There is no general performance criteria for fuel consumption, and it will always be a range for a general article that ranges between the worst and the best, although a statistical majority range could be discovered. Furthermore, unless the information comes from a reliably published source, the information is original research and cannot be included in the article. Other general aircraft articles attempt to include a Safety section. Engine failure and stall characteristics could be included in such a section in this article, again, if it can be referenced through reliable published sources. --Born2flie (talk) 17:52, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree. It would be interesting to include such section if we can find RS for it. No place for WP:OR here. Thanks. Dr.K. (talk) 20:32, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

With regards to the non-powered landing characteristics of the gyrocopter, on mine it was basically a case of point the nose to the ground at about a 60 degree angle while maintaining an airspeed of 60 mph. Right before you become a lawn dart, pull back and flare. If the weight and balance on the aircraft is right (i.e. you did a proper "hang test"), you will flare into a landing and the aircraft will be none the worse for wear. Mine wasn't and I ended up with a broken bone in my foot, a broken rib, and a bit of runway rash. With respect to its glide ratio, it's basically a case of looking between your legs and that is where you are going to land. Grumman581 (talk) 09:25, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

In view of the "CAA's assertion that autogyros have a poor safety record", some stats on safety would be appropriate. How do autogyro crashes compare on a per-air-hour basis with small fixed-wing craft? Is the CAA assertion backed by fact, or is it a nanny-state version of CYA? Graywriter (talk) 16:22, 31 July 2013 (UTC)


Perhaps a comparisation with ornithopters can also be made, as these are also cheaper than helicopters and have comparable charisteristics. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:39, 15 December 2008 (UTC)


Perhaps mention that most autogyros costs about 10% as much to own and operate as a helicopter (some cheaper) yet can accomplish 90% of what a helicopter can do. Unlike a helicopter an autogyro cannot hover, take off or land vertically.

ref= —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:09, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

But gyrocopters can hover. (maybe just certain models in the right wind conditions?) -- (talk) 07:27, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Gyro's cannot truly hover, that is stay in one place relative to the ground in most wind conditions. A gyro which can sustain flight at (for example) 25knots will appear to hover if flying directly into a 25knot wind - but should the wind die the gyro will fly away. Again autogyro's can land "vertically" if flying below sustainable velocity into a wind - and they can land the last few feet of an approach vertically if the pilot flared just before landing. Lastly, some gyros can "bunnyhop" vertically into the air by spinning the rotors (via a pre-rotor clutch) in a no pitch configeration beyond the rpm needed to sustain flight and then apply the necessary pitch. This is only for gyro's with adjustable pitch rotors - which is uncommon. The other problems in this approach is that the engine is run without the prop engaged, which means both the engine and the reduction gear get very hot, and then the prop needs to be engaged while the engine is still racing to provide the necessary thrust to maintain flight when the rotors energy has dissipated sufficiently not to create lift. It takes a very skilled pilot who can manage the engine output, pre-rotor drive/rotor pitch, prop clutch, etc. while controlling the craft in vertical ascent - possibly more difficult than controlling a helicopter. For this reason nearly every gyro takes off from a roll, even if some instances are very short when the rotor is prespun. LessHeard vanU (talk) 18:46, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Mention this info above in article.

Primary picture unclear[edit]

As the specifics (vertical propeller: powered, horizontal: unpowered) of the text is easy to miss, the 300px-Aurogyro-ELA-07-Casarrubios-Spain.jpg image should be replaced by a schematic schowing arrows and the text "powered propeller" and "unpowered propeller". (talk) 09:33, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Theory of operation[edit]

I feel the article lacks the theory of operation of an autogyro, i.e what causes the rotor to rotate when the prop drives the machine forward on the ground, in the air, and what causes the rotor to provide lift. Also a bit could be said about the effect on forward motion on the lift provided by the advancing and retreating rotors and the consequences for stable flight. I would love to contribute these myself but sadly am too ignorant. Mike Avison, 11/12/10 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:58, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Autorotation is noted toward the end of the opening sentence of this article, and that article would be the place to discuss the various physical properties of that operation. LessHeard vanU (talk) 13:22, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Generic terms and trademarks[edit]

The term Gyrocopter was coined by Igor Bensen and registered as a trademark in his name. His machines were autogyros of the kind now commonly called gyroplanes (both terms generic), employing a two-blade, teetering rotor of extremely simple construction allowing recreational flying machines to be built cheaply. Autogiro with an "i" is a Cierva trademark, but autogyro is a generic term for any rotary-winged aircraft with an autorotating main rotor. Wilford used the term gyroplane, which at that time had a more general meaning than it does now, to describe his type of autogyro, which unlike those of Cierva (three hinged blades) and Bensen (two blades, teetering) had no flapping motion, but instead used a feathering motion to compensate for the difference in forward velocity between the advancing and retreating blades. Wilford's was the first rigid rotor system. To repeat: autogyro, gyroplane are generic terms; Gyrocopter, Autogiro are trademarks of Bensen and Cierva, respectively. (talk) 13:15, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Rocket power?[edit]

Parts of the new section "Rocket powered autogyro" may not conform with the subject of the article, which is autogyros with "unpowered rotor" in regular flight. The sentence "The engine weight and engine power may be reduced by half, because smaller engine is needed for takeoff" implies torque to the rotor shaft and thus not an unpowered rotor, but more accurately an actual helicopter or perhaps heliplane or gyrodyne. I do not see a conflict between tip jets and unpowered rotor, as this happens only during takeoff/landing due to the high fuel consumption. TGCP (talk) 10:21, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

I suggest removal of the entire section as lacking factual basis or support. This section reflects at best merely some individual's unfinished pet project, not a true category of autogyros. The section provides no citation to any actual hydrogen peroxide tip jet autogyros in current or historical use, but instead merely describes a theoretical modification that could be, but in practice is not, made. There have been a few tip jet helicopters, and there is occasional TALK of tip jet gyroplanes, but where is there a real aircraft? There is only one citation I can find on the web of a single prototype attempting this design direction, and as of the last posting, it shows only one non-vertical take-off of a true autogyro with peroxide tip jets for pre-spin (see this link: ). There is no evidence of anyone ever stopping and starting such a system in flight as the section claims. The notion that a smaller engine is needed is also completely unsupported (rotor system drag is likely to be slightly increased with the addition of tip jets, thus increasing the power required in flight; once again one can only speak in theory, because it's not done in practice). The section also provides an unsupported "pie in the sky" view of the effectiveness and practicality of systems that are not actually used in practice, and ignores real world issues (e.g., how do you think Homeland Security would react to people attempting to buy large quantities of rocket propellants?). Jonwithnoh (talk) 18:41, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't think the section should be removed, as it points to the two Faireys (Fairey Jet Gyrodyne and Fairey_Rotodyne) which flew as true autogyros. The peroxide system lacks references. TGCP (talk) 14:58, 27 December 2011 (UTC)


Some questions occur to me and I hope that answers can be included in this article:

  1. What is the flight range, both height and distance? The article includes the women's record for height (18,000 feet) but this doesn't seem like it would be typical. Is an autogyro usually flown in the same altitude range as a helicopter (and what is that)? How far can a flight be before refueling? I ask to know what kind of trips would be feasible in this machine or if it is for local use only.
  2. It seems like in some of these designs (where the pilot is not in an enclosed cockpit), it would be difficult to use a radio. What is done so that the autogyro doesn't interfere with the flight of other aircraft? The way I've seen these machines used in media, it's almost like jumping on a bicycle and taking off. But there must be some kind of communication to avoid other aircraft.
  3. The article says that 1,000 autogyros are in use by military agencies. Is it against the law to own one as private citizen? Are they for military use only (aside from props in movies)?

Thanks! Newjerseyliz (talk) 17:31, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Range varies significantly, with some ultralight versions carrying 5 gallon fuel tanks, and the Air & Space 18A carrying over 27 gallons, and with wide variation of engine power (near 50 to 180 hp or more). 200 miles is practical for many. 18,000 feet is unusually high. An advantage of gyros is that they may be safely flown at very LOW altitudes (and speeds), because their ability to land in extremely small places makes it easy to stay in gliding range of a suitable emergency landing site even when quite low to the ground; their ability to fly very slowly without a stall/spin risk also enhances low altitude safety. Pilots of unenclosed gyros often wear a flight helmet with built-in headphones and microphone for radio communication with other aircraft and/or air traffic control. They are subject to airspace use rules, much like those applicable to helicopters. The great majority of gyros are privately owned and flown as civil aircraft, not in military use.Jonwithnoh (talk) 23:38, 14 August 2013 (UTC)