Introduction

Pretty, isn't it?

It's from an Italian company called Magni.  It flies like an airplane, hovers like a helicopter.  If the word "gyrocopter" came to mind when you first saw it, read Aeronautical Metamorphosis, below.  This is not a "gyrocopter".  The only similarity the above has with a gyrocopter is the concept.  This is the next generation, an entire quantum leap.  This is an autogyro.

Here's one tooling along in flight.  Notice how it's not actually "flying" (it has no wings), it's more like a slow carnival ride, suspended from above. 

The rear-facing engine pushes you forward.  Oncoming air rotates the freewheeling rotor blades up above.  The spinning rotor blades then lift the craft.  Really a remarkable idea.

According to the NTSB, it's the safest form of powered flight in the skies.  Even hot air balloons are more dangerous.

It's just like a small helicopter except that if the engine quits, it doesn't crash.  It just lands like normal.  It also can't stall (it has no wings), nor can you accidentally put it into a steep, dangerous dive (it has no wings), and, when you're in it, it actually feels somewhat like a hot air balloon, in the sense that you feel 'suspended', rather than relying upon wings (it has no wings) to keep you flying.

You just putt around, sightseeing your way through the countryside as they're doing above.  You zip along like an airplane (up to 115 mph), and, when you want to stop and just look at something, it turns into a helicopter.  You can even turn off the engine and glide along in silence.

Some models have dual controls so either person can fly it.  It's lots of fun, more like a gentle amusement park ride than anything else.  And, unlike an airplane, if you see something interesting, you just head over there and hover around the place, checking it out.  Then you put it back into 'airplane mode' and buzz off.  The helmet radios allow you to talk back and forth while at speed, and you can take the helmets off when you're just putting along in 'gyro mode'.

The reason they're not more popular is simple: Nobody knows they exist.  Mention the word "gyrocopter" to any aviation buff and the image in his head is that of a Bensen gyrocopter from the 1960's:

And what self-respecting pilot would go near such a thing?  People simply have no idea the Magni exists.  I mean, let's compare the above to this:

Or perhaps "compare" is the wrong word.
 

Aeronautical Metamorphosis

Why An Autogyro Is So Safe

Magni M-16 Specs

The Ol' Workhorse

Advertising the Aeronaut

Design Improvements