Perhaps the most misunderstood aircraft is the autogyro, often confused with the now more familiar helicopter it closely resembles.

However, in aerodynamic terms it is a distinct type. The concept of autorotation is very familiar through the sycamore (acer pseudoplatanus) seed’s ‘wings’, but like the sketch of a ‘helicopter’ by Leonardo da Vinci, the challenge of powering and using a humanlifting rotating wing remained theoretical until the 20th century.

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