Day 1 of our Portrush aircraft profile is the Auto Gyro from Gyro Air Displays who are returning to Portrush on both days!
Autogyro’s were invented by Juan de la Cierva, only 20 years after the Wright Brothers first flight, they marked a departure from conventional fixed wing aircraft in an attempt to invent an aircraft that couldn’t stall. The name autogiro was a Trade name for Cierva’s make of aircraft, nowadays, they are also known as gyrocopters, gyroplanes, and autogyro’s and just Gyro’s, they were the first rotary wing aircraft to fly successfully under full, safe control.
The most simplistic view, it’s a flying windmill or even a rotating parachute, think of a sycamore seed gently floating down as it spins.
The rotor blades of the gyro are completely free wheeling in flight, being driven solely by the air going up through the rotor disk. There is no mechanical drive to the rotors in flight, the phenomenon of autorotation drives them, once airborne the rotors just look after themselves and keep spinning, even if the airspeed indicator is showing Zero!!
The propeller of the aircraft pushes it through the air for forward flight, the rotor is inclined slight back and the air flows up though the rotor disk keeps the rotors spinning. Stop the engine and the aircraft slows and descends, the air still flows through the disk and keeps them turning, even when flying sideways or even backwards – Birds don’t even fly backwards deliberately!!
As the rest of the aircraft is hanging from the rotor it acts like a pendulum giving the gyrocopter natural stability, the rotors (wings) are flying through the air at 350mph so turbulent unstable air and wind gusts are ‘sampled’, this make the gyroplane much more stable that most other aircraft and capable or flying in conditions other won’t.
Autogyro, Gyroplane, Gyrocopter, Gyro – call them what you like, they are fun to fly and great to watch displaying.
THE PILOT – Peter Davies
Peter Davies has been flying for 33 years, and been flying Gyroplanes for 23 years. First issued a Gyroplane Display Authority (DA) in 1991. Peter became an Display Authority Evaluator (DAE) in 2012. Has displayed aircraft at several major shows including – Paris Air Show, Biggin Hill, Farnborough, Blackpool and Manchester.
He has over 2500 flying hours in Gyroplanes and is an official ‘Earth Rounder’ the name given to people who have flown around the world. Peter Davis and has won the 1994 Around the World Air Race
We look forward to seeing them at Air Waves Portrush 2016! ( Information from Gyro Air Display website, photo our own from 2015)