While doing research on flying motorcycles I couldn’t help but blunder into the awesome story of one Juan de la Cierva, (b. 21 Sept 1895 – d. 9 Dec 1936) a Spanish civil engineer and aeronautical enthusiast who invented the Autogyro – the precursor to both the modern helicopter and the modern flying motorcycle.
The emergence in 1920 of the autogiro of Juan de la Cierva was a great event in the world of aeronautics. Today it is considered the precursor of modern helicopters and eventually was named the “gyrocopter”.
Here’s a short and quite worthwhile video that highlights some of de la Cierva’s work and his keen insights into solving rotary wing flight-problems. Clearly he was extremely bright and possessed a marvelous mechanical intuition.
For some weird reason, I’ve always really liked autogyros – they just look cool and they look like they should work; and well, they do work!
“Batman‘s first aircraft was an autogyro. The “Batgyro” was introduced in Detective Comics #31 in September 1939. It only made three appearances before being replaced by a more conventional fixed-wing aircraft.” (wikipedia). In the Hitchcock movie “39 Steps” there is a very short shot of an autogyro – can’t be two seconds – but to tell you the truth, that’s the only thing I remember about that movie! Autogyros are cool.
But that was the past and now is now, and now we have helicopters but autogyros are still cool because using the autogyro priciple, you can make flying motorcycles. Like this:
This guy makes it look easy – and he holds the record for fastest land-speed record for a flying motorcycle; no mean-feat in itself. Here’s an informative link to Gizmag’s article; it’s excellent: http://www.gizmag.com/dezso-molnar-g2-gt-flying-motorcycle/34399/
And people make gyrocopters: