This Day in Aviation History
January 17th, 1923
First controllable flight of an Autogyro.
Juan de la Cierva invented the modern autogyro (autogiro in Spanish) in the early 1920s. His first three designs (C.1, C.2, and C.3) were unstable because of aerodynamic and structural deficiencies in their rotors. His fourth design, the C.4, made the first documented flight of an autogyro on 17 January 1923, piloted by Alejandro Gomez Spencer at Cuatro Vientos airfield in Madrid, Spain (9 January according to Cierva). De la Cierva had fitted the rotor of the C.4 with flapping hinges to attach each rotor blade to the hub. The flapping hinges allowed each rotor blade to flap, or move up and down, to compensate for dissymmetry of lift, the difference in lift produced between the right and left sides of the rotor as the autogyro moves forward. Three days later, the engine failed shortly after takeoff and the aircraft descended slowly and steeply to a safe landing, validating De la Cierva’s efforts to produce an aircraft that could be flown safely at low airspeeds….
Wikipedia, Autogyro: http://gstv.us/24AY67l
YouTube, Golden Age Pioneers: Juan de le Cierva: http://gstv.us/24AYva1
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