Airborne Awesomosity

Never Seen A Man Beat A Snake Before

What you see here is a gen-u-wine flying contraption powered by Volkswagen and held aloft by black magic.

Juan de la Cierva is usually regarded as the creator of the demonic machine. Part helicopter, part airplane and all evil, it uses a powered propeller for thrust while satanic spirits turn the rotor. Since its first flight in 1923, these miniature flying machines have been taking to the skies to spread their own special brand of mayhem and misery on the world. How do I know they are evil? Just look at the little girl tilting her head with a concerned expression trying to figure out what darkness lurks in it tubular frame.

Should you want to delve into the dark side of aviation, Mr_Biggles has found one for you. The old, Canadian farmer that is selling it wants to move it. $3,000 he says. The engine is an aircooled VW unit that isn’t shown. I can only imagine he keeps the engine and the machine separated by miles to prevent them from re-uniting into a depraved mechanism sent by Mephistopheles himself.

The tormented soul of the farmer further explained that the only way to get it to work was to sell your soul to the man with the golden fiddle. Actually, what he really said was, “Just like anything, lots of fun once you start tinkering with it.” Every virtuous soul knows that tinkering is the Prince of Darkness’ playground.

Amelia Earhart flew a gyrocopter to a women’s world altitude record of 18,415 ft in 1931. In 6 years (6 being the number of evil) she went missing. Many surmise her soul was finally claimed by the Furies and her time here on earth was done. Of all the flying craft, the autogyro is the one of the last to not circumnavigate the globe. The most likely reason is that the pilots, no matter how strong, can not ignore the pernicious machine they attempt to control. In the first attempt to circumnavigate the globe in an autogyro, Mother Nature herself rose up to quench the burning product of the Devil after it had only traveled 7,500 miles.

[Ed. Special thanks to Mr_Biggles for sharing his story of seeing this autogyro on his way to a family cabin north of Toronto. His thoughts of buying prove that the autogyro is pure, mechanical evil. He knew that should this carrier of Hades enter his home, it would create a schism in his household. Should you want to buy one and, worse, fly one be warned. They are a hell of a lot of fun. And that’s not a pun.]

[Image Credits: Mr_Biggles]

  • MrHowser

    This looks awfully cobbled together for a machine designed to take to the skies. I would only fly it over the demonstration area of the local bouncy-castle emporium.

  • FЯeeMan

    So, uh, you really don't like auto-gyros, eh?

    • Give him a chance to get up to speed and he'll start coming around.

    • I had a buddy in college that had one and he swore up and down that they were the most fun you could have with 50 hp. I don't doubt him. I do doubt that Juan de la Cierva was a good Catholic.

    • dmilligan

      Bah, those flying lawnmowers have always been deathtraps. Some "friends" once attempted to coerce me into flying one of those cobbled together horrors, but I wasn't having any of it. I'm still alive, I might add, whereas most of those gyro pilots that I knew have been growing clover for decades.

  • If you look close you can see shit stains on the seat and blood stains on the rotor from its first owner.

    • OA5599
    • highmileage_v1

      That's the spare cushion on the seat. The original is halfway up the owners small intestine by now. The pucker factor generated by a gyrocopter is very high..

  • tiberiusẅisë

    Lord Humungous does not approve.

    <img src="; width="400">

    image courtesy of shaggybevo

  • There was this old guy who lived here, who was an experienced pilot, had all kinds of stories. In his garage was an autogyro he built himself. He never flew the damn thing, said the thought of actually getting into the contraption and getting airborne, scared him to death. If these things scared him, that's saying something.

    They didn't scare James Bond, though. Remember the autogyro in You Only Live Twice? Badass.

    • Froggmann_

      You're talking about "Little Nellie" that was actually flown by Commander Ken Wallis. Here he is in a replica Little Nellie doing his best "Gyro Captain" landing:

      [youtube Rkx3thmogEk youtube]

      BTW he's in his 90's and still flies and builds these contraptions.

    • dmilligan

      That is why your friend was an old pilot.

    • highmileage_v1

      My rotary wing colleagues won't go anywhere near these things. Something about a lack of rotor inertia. Basically, if rotor rpm droops, you drop.

      • Yeah, that's what's so scary about these deathtraps. They are true rotary wing aircraft, with the rotor being spun by the speed of the aircraft, and that's really the rotary wing. The little prop on the back of the thingy provides thrust, and the rotor up above you provides lift from the forward motion, by spinning around in circles. It's not powered by anything but the forward motion of the vehicle. If the bearings seize, or the rotors go out of balance and fall apart, or any mechanical failure occurs, you're falling to the ground like a paralyzed falcon. Done. However, I like the idea of these manic thingys, I just want you guys to try them out, not me.

  • My LeMons team once tried to make a wing for our Peugeot out of a rotor blade from an auto-gyro. Mixing too old to be used as originally intended auto-gyro parts with a beat to hell Peugeot destined for racing use seemed to be asking for trouble, so we got wise and built our wing out of Boeing scrap 757 wing frame pieces and scraps of aluminum and phenolic used in 747 flaps.

    Our wing works great and doesn't have the firey explodey death mojo that would come from using auto-gyro parts.

  • Deartháir

    I'd rock it. Come on, air-cooled Volkswagen engine? Even if (when) it broke down, they're so easy to fix you could probably have it up and running again before you hit the ground!

  • Ever since Road Warrior, I've badly wanted one of these things. Flying an autogyro is on my bucket list, but one of the last… just in case.

    Looks like a barrel of fun!

    [youtube OIV8poi12nQ youtube]

  • Mr_Biggles

    I had never seen a gyrocopter in the flesh until I saw this one. As I drew near I could hear odd noises which, now that Engineerd has pointed out the connection, I can place as serpents hissing. But I have to say now that I've looked it up and watched some youtubes on it, I'm half converted (in spirit maybe) to this particular form of devil worship. I've always thought I would like to try flying an ultra light, but many of the videos out there make this look like sooo much more fun. I could totally see flying at a constant giggle. It almost demands a leather helmet, oily goggles, a scarf only 1 inch shorter than necessary to get caught in a prop or rotor, and a cigar clamped in the teeth.

  • P161911

    If I remember right from reading "Best Damn Garage", one of Smokey Yunick's first legitimate jobs was working at an Auto-gyro factory.

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  • Don't need no stinking motor!

    [youtube TWfph3iNC-k&feature=player_embedded youtube]

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  • Victor

    Sometimes the flight unflown is the right choice.