What is a gyrocopter?
Gyrocopters have recently been in the news after 61-year-old Douh Hughes flew a gyrocopter onto the lawn of the US Capitol building in Washington. A gyrocopter looks like a small helicopter but the main difference is there is no engine turning the rotors. The rotors simply self-propel, which is called 'autorotate', due to the way that the air flows through them.
As the engine is not connected to the rotors, this means that a gyrocopter is not seriously affected if the engine should stop in flight. This, together with a very short landing roll means that a gyrocopter is one of the safest methods of flying. They can fly lower and slower more safely than most other forms of flying machines. They are also capable of flying in weather conditions which will ground most other sport aircraft. This is really important, considering the weather in Britain.
Gyrocopters have traditionally been open cockpit 'Motorbikes of the sky' but, since late 2010, they are available as fully enclosed models. The Gyrocopter Experience has flying schools around the UK where customers can "fly one, to try one". The Gyrocopter Experience head office at York also has a gyrocopter museum and sales showroom.