It may have fallen out of favour, but the gyrocopter, a clever, versatile aircraft, is making a comeback, reports Tom Batchelor.
Helicopters have for decades been the aircraft of choice for police, ambulance and search and rescue teams the world over, their rapid mobilisation and ability to operate in remote locations making them formidable platforms.
But there is an aircraft hailed as cheaper, more reliable, and quieter than a helicopter, while providing similar operational capabilities: the gyrocopter. These rotorcraft use a propeller to generate forward motion coupled with a freely rotating, unpowered rotor for lift.
American company Skyworks Aeronautics, which has been developing manned and unmanned vertical lift technology for more than two decades, is establishing its firstUK base as it prepares to launch three new aircraft, the Hawk5, VertiJet and the eGyro.