Strange Flying Things: Gyrocopters
By James Grahame
Canadian gyroplane manufacturer Rotary Air Force has just rolled out a new website for their classic flying machines. They've been in business since 1987, and their RAF 2000 is touted as the world's most advanced gyroplane. It's powered by a 2.2 L or 2.5 L Subaru automotive engine and cruises around 70-90 mph (112 - 144 km/h). It's capable of landing in under 10 ft (3 m), as well.
Gyroplanes (or gyrocopters or autogyros) were invented in 1923 by Spanish aviator Juan de la Cierva. Propulsion comes from the small propeller sitting behind the pilots. They can take off and land in significantly less space than conventional aircraft and -- despite the unconventional looks -- have a reputation for being extremely safe.
The RAF 2000 is available as a kit, starting at US $24,900.
RAF 2000 Gyroplane (Rotary Air Force)