Kallithea InsightsJuan de la Cierva – the father of the autogyro


Although most people think that the autogyro is a brand new machine that, given its high performance and technical parameters, was probably created in the last decades, this is far from the case.

The machine that we know today as an autogyro, gyrocopter or gyroplane was created way back in 1923 by the Spanish aeronautical engineer Juan de la Cierva.

Back in 1923, the Spanish aeronautical engineer Juan de la Cierva made a discovery that will forever remain in Spanish aviation history as a cornerstone – the autogyro.
On January 17, the 4th autogyro prototype – C.4 makes the world’s first successful flight over the land where Getafe Air Base is today. However, this success did not come easily, because the trials began 3 years earlier – in 1920.
The idea to create the autogyro was born from the need for a safe flying machine, but with the creation of this machine, Juan de la Cierva made another impressive discovery that placed him forever in world aviation history.

Despite the efforts of hundreds of companies around the world (more than 400 in the US alone) to create a safe-to-fly helicopter, it was the Spanish engineer and his C.4 autogyro and its rotor system that became the forerunner of the helicopters that are more popular today . Even nowadays, every helicopter in the sky has a minimum of 2 patents on its rotors that were created by Juan de la Cierva, without which flight would not be possible.

However, creating a safe flying machine was by no means without problems, especially back in the 1920s, when the world was nowhere near as modern as it is today, which required Juan de la Cierva to overcome many obstacles before he could create his C.4 , and subsequently all the other machines that The Cierva Autogyro Company builds.
Cierva’s gyroplanes were capable of taking off and landing in just a dozen meters, ascending with ease, maneuvering with surprising agility, evolving at extremely reduced speeds and reaching cruising speeds above 160 km / h. Meanwhile the helicopters were evolving to machines that were finally able to land and take off vertically, ascend to a few meters in height, move at speeds of about 15 km / h and with very poor levels of reliability and efficiency.




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