In praise of autogyros
Your flight test on the Autogyro Cavalon in June’s Pilot was very informative but contained some statements that need to be challenged to give a balanced view of autogyros compared to other aircraft types being flown in the UK. An autogyro is a safe and low cost way to fly for any pilot trained on type.
Autogyros are no more difficult to fly than other civilian aircraft types — just ask any autogyro pilot with fixed-wing experience. Or ask any autogyro pilot with rotary-wing experience and they are likely to say getting a PPL(H) is harder because of the recognised complexity of a helicopter’s flight controls with stick, rudder and collective-pitch lever with a twist-grip throttle on the end of it.
An autogyro uses well proven, easily understood principles of aerodynamics which deliver its different flight characteristics. They are the safest single engine aircraft in the sky because, in the event of engine failure, the un-powered rotor disc continues to provide lift from the air below still passing upwards through it. Your readers will know the effects of an engine failure, and the immediate actions needed in other single-engine aircraft types. With no engine power an autogyro can make a normal approach at 65mph to a suitable landing area and be brought to a stop in a very short distance by applying rearward pressure on the stick, which makes the rotor disc a very efficient airbrake. It’s just one of the autogyro’s different design characteristics. Graham Storey, West Malling Nick Bloom replies: I found the aircraft a pleasure to fly and easy to fly in formation. But the CAA is insisting that pilots who are already fully qualified take a full PPL(G) course, so perhaps they feel that autogyros are difficult to fly in some way that I personally didn’t encounter.