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Gyroplane could soon be a Personal Transport

Gyroplane is a bit of both a Helicopter and an Airplane that takes off almost vertically in a way similar to a helicopter and can economically  cruise (fly) at speeds ranging between 100 to 160 kmph, depending upon the wind and weather conditions and are therefore good for short recreational hops only. Gyroplanes is an aircraft that derives lift from freely turning rotary wing or rotor blades tilted back to catch the air. The rushing air spins the rotor as the aircraft is thrust forward by an engine driven propeller. Modern gyroplanes use pusher propeller and are light and maneuverable. With engine in the rear, the gyroplane has unobstructed visibility. Government of India is coming out with a draft policy to regulate the operations of Gyroplanes which are set to debut as a mode of personal transport by Corporate and high-end Individuals and may also be used by paramilitary forces, state police forces and local government officials for surveillance along the border and other areas in the country.

  • Gyroplane, Gyrocopter, Autogyro, or Rotaplane; whose concept was first put forward in 1919 by Spanish inventor Juan de la Cierva; was first flown on 9 January 1923 in Madrid.
  • David and Jay Groen, two Utah-based brothers have spent 15 years and some $ 40 million perfecting a design of Gyroplane, they hope will provide a cheaper, simpler and safer alternative to the Helicopter.
  • Poland-based Raphael Celier conceived the new-age Gyroplanes in 2006 and his company Celier Aviation has been supplying these machines across the world.
  • Gyroplane is essentially a rotorcraft whose rotors are not engine-driven, except for starting.
  • Gyroplane is made to rotate by action of the air when the rotorcraft is moving and its propellers are independent of the rotor system, making it different from a helicopter.
  • Gyroplane can have STOL (Short Take-off & Landing) capability in a strong nose wind conditions but otherwise they need approximately 100 metres of runway to take-off and land.
  • Gyroplane weighs just 600 kg and is crash-safe as it glides to safety and does not drop from the air like a chopper in case of engine failure.
  • It can travel up to 600 km on a single tank-full of petrol.
  • Gyroplane can be used for highway patrolling and urban policing.
  • Government officials can also use it to survey a district in quick time to check on various development works.
  • Seven conditions have been spelt out by the government in its draft policy on Gyroplanes, the two-seater planes, which are designed like helicopters, released on Friday September 15, 2017 after years of consultations between the ministries of home and civil aviation, and there are many restrictions such as:
  • Gyroplanes will not be allowed to fly at night,
  • Not carry a passenger or property for compensation or hire,
  • Not fly higher than 2,000 feet above ground level or enter controlled airspace without a valid radio telephone operator licence. However,  they are capable of flying as high as 15,000 feet ASL
  • Pilots will need a licence and a certificate of airworthiness.
  • Gyroplanes will not be allowed to operate when flight or surface visibility falls below 5,000 metres.

The most important feature of the Gyroplane is its ability to do nearly everything a helicopter can do, at only a fraction of the cost, would cost around Rs 1.77 crore. I do not think it fits into the aviation sector in any way. At most, it is a leisure machine while doing it more safely than any other kind of flying machine. While even the most mundane gyroplanes are true STOL (Short Take-Off/Landing) vehicles, they can be configured to take-off and land with no ground-roll at all. Moreover, their exceptional STOL capabilities make them terrific for bush or water operations.

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