Autogyros : it is an aerodyne [1] of rotating wings, like the helicopter but, unlike this one, the rotor blades are moved by the air and not by a motor system, that is to say, self-rotate or autogyran. For this, it is necessary that the device travels in the air, so it requires a power unit that provides a movement of translation, as in the case of the plane (fixed wing).

Although the appearance of this aircraft may resemble that of a helicopter and airplane hybrid, it is an aircraft with its own entity. Therefore, although in English the term gyroplane (gyroplane) or gyrocopter (gyrocopter) is usually used, with which the Anglo-Saxons assimilate this apparatus to a kind of airplane (gyroplane) or helicopter (gyrocopter), we prefer to use its original designation (and patented) from Autogiro because we understand that it is a neutral term that refers to the principle of operation that characterizes it.


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  • 1 History
    • 1 Inventor
  • 2 First Flight
  • 3 References
  • 4 Sources


Trimotor Biplane C-3 built by “the gang”

Like every engineering student, La Cierva had to finish his career with a final project and although he finished his studies in Road Engineering, he remained faithful to his vocation and decided on the design of the first Spanish poly-jet aircraft and one of the first in the world: the C.3 trimotor bomber, with 220 hp engines and with 5 tons of total take-off weight, which it submitted to the contest that the Spanish Military Aeronautics Service convened in 1919 to update its troops.

He obtained from the businessman and aristocrat Juan Vitórico Casuso the financing for the construction of the prototype and once finished, it was tested by the renowned pilot captain Julio Ríos Agüeso. However, on a test flight the plane crashed and was destroyed (the pilot, who saved his life, had no experience in polymotors).

The tragedy served so that La Cierva began to think of an aircraft whose flight safety was not compromised by a loss of speed due to a propulsive failure. This made him focus on a rotating-wing aircraft, since in this case the aerodynamic speed responsible for the lift comes mainly from the rotation of the rotor blades, while in the plane (fixed wing) it comes from the translational movement and therefore , the propulsion is more critical.
The idea of ​​support by means of rotating wings was several centuries old but its practical application to an aircraft, the helicopter , materialized in 1907 (Bréguet-Richet and Cornu) and 1909 (brs. Berliner).

However, these first devices were unable to perform a stable and controlled flight, they were quite complicated mechanically and aerodynamically.
Due to this complexity and difficulty of control, La Cierva discarded the helicopter . He discovered that if the rotor shaft was tilted backwards so that the air flow hit the blades from below with a small angle, it was possible to rotate them with a low incident air speed (low flight speed). In 1920 he patented an aircraft that used the principle of self-rotation and called Autogiro.
The Deer was able to demonstrate by some model that the application of self-rotation to an aircraft was possible.


Its inventor of the Autogiro was D. Juan de la Cierva Codorníu (n. Murcia, Spain , 21-9-1895; † Croydon – England -, 9-12-1936), son of the relevant lawyer, politician (several times minister) and businessman D. Juan de la Cierva and Peñafiel. From childhood he felt passion for the then nascent Aviation , building, with the help of his friends Pepe Barcala and Pablo Díaz, gliders (1910) and, in 1911-12 (with only sixteen years!), One of the first airplanes Spaniards who flew well: the BCD-1 Crab biplane. Later, in 1913 , he flew the last project of the trio, the BCD-2, a monoplane (as would be the future planes).

First flight

Although the Autogiro model worked, in the first real prototypes he encountered an important problem: the blade that advanced in the direction of the translation of the device had more aerodynamic speed than the one that receded, so that one sustained more than the other (asymmetric lift) and there was a moment of balance that was transmitted to the rotor shaft and, therefore, to the fuselage, causing the Autogiro to overturn.

La Cierva devised several solutions, which were successively applied to its prototypes C.1 (1920), C.3. (1921) and C.2 (1922).

None was satisfactory, but his determination and creativity led him to a correct solution: the paddling joint (in the model, the flexibility of the blades corrected the problem). This device was not only crucial for the Autogyro but also for future helicopters.

The C.4 prototype, with blades attached to the rotor head by means of these joints, managed to make the first flight of an Autogyro on January 17 , 1923 , with Alejandro Gómez Spencer at the controls. This date can be considered as the first (effective) flight of a rotating-wing aircraft.


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