AUTOGIRO – Rotary Wings before the Helicopter

The Autogiro has existed in the mind of inventors from the time of Leonardo da Vinci but while inspired by the sycamore seed and having existed as the principle of a Chinese toy from ancient times, the practical revolving-winged aeroplane was a long time coming to fruition. The work of Spaniard Juan de la Cierva was crucial to the perfection of the auto-rotating lifting rotor. Long experiments in his native land eventually led to success and he was invited to move to England where he could continue experiments at the Royal Aeronautical Establishment, Farnborough. Soon he formed his own company and moved to Hanworth. With the assistance of the Avro Company, he began producing Autogiros. Meanwhile in America there was a man who saw the great potential in Cierva's machine. He was Harold Pitcairn, soon to be Cierva's firmest and most loyal friend. The formation of a company in America to license the manufacture to others created Kellett and Buhl. But it was the time of Recession and with the death of Cierva in a fixed-wing airliner crash, his former British collaborators moved the business ever more into helicopters. Eventually only Pitcairn was left to promote Cierva's work. This book is the first definitive history of the Autogiro and describes both the pre-history and the most 1950s development which has seen the birth of the small recreational Autogiro. 328 pages, comprehensively illustrated with photos and 3-view drawings, bibliography and fully indexed. Published by Mushroom Model Publications, Petersfield, 2009. 328 pp, decorative boards, ISBN 978-83-89450-83-8. £35.50 direct from the Author or contact the publisher at