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Gyroplane Buyers Guide

 From Popular Mechanics Magazine
Prices are from 2001, use as estimate only

Some companies listed below may have closed
No claims of accuracy or currency are made for the
information below.  You must do a web search to find
the most current information and pricing available, or contact the
manufacturer... this page has old data and is for reference only.

IMPORTANT:  Neither Gyrosaway nor the Lone Star
Rotorcraft Club endorse or recommend any
particular manufacturer or gyrocopter design.  The
listing below does not imply endorsement.


AIR COMMAND INTERNATIONAL
Commander Elite Single Place
Beginner gyropilots will find the single-person Commander ideal with its center-line thrust that increases pitch stability and decreases drag. It takes up to a 67-hp Rotax 582 engine, but passes as an ultralight when equipped with a 40-hp Rotax 447. Cruising speeds range from 50 to 65 mph, depending on engine choice.
Kit
Kit price list by engine size:
Kit without engine: $7935
447 (40 hp) legal ultralight: $9875
503 (52 hp): $11,255
582 (67 hp): $12,675
2704: $12,996
2706: $14,995
Commander Elite Tandem And Commander Elite Side-By-Side
Similar engines produce different results in the two-seater Commanders. Tandems reach speeds up to 120 mph with a 160-hp engine or 110 mph with a 110-hp Hirth F-30, while the side-by-side can get up to only 85 mph with the F-30, though a new engine will soon be available to increase that speed.
Kit
Kit price list by engine size:
Tandem light weight without engine: $12,570
Tandem heavy weight without engine: $14,235
F-30 Tandem, basic kit: $19,975
F-30 Tandem, all options: $24,975
Mazda Tandem, basic kit: $22,975
Mazda Tandem, all options: $28,450
Side-By-Side F-30: $19,292
Side-By-Side without engine: $11,580

Contact Air Command at 903-527-3335 or www.aircommand.com.

AIRCRAFT DESIGNS
Sportster
Staking its place in gyroplane history as the world’s first two-person experimental model, the Sportster has been in the air since 1974. Its side-by-side dual controls are ideal for flight training. It’s partially enclosed and uses a 160-hp Lycoming engine to reach top speeds of up to 100 mph.
Plans
Well-detailed plans for the Sportster: $535
Bumble Bee
History was also made in 1983 with the Bumble Bee, the world’s first ultralight gyroplane. The single-seat opened-frame autogyro takes either a 40-hp Rotax 447 or a 38.5-hp Kawasaki engine. Take-off distance is 230 ft. on a calm day and useful load is 270 pounds.
Plans
Plans for the Bumble Bee: $200

Call Aircraft Designs at 831-649-6212 or visit www.aircraftdesigns.com.

BARNETT ROTORCRAFT
J4B And J4B2
Flying solo, you’ll get up to 125 mph in the single-seat J4B, but opt for cruising company and that drops to 110 mph in the tandem J4B2. The J4B is available enclosed or partially enclosed, while the two-seater J4B2 is an enclosed model.
Kit
Kit prices fluctuate. Contact Barnett for a personal price quote.

Plans
J4B plans: $155
J4B2 plans: $185

BRC540 Coupe
With a maximum airspeed of 138 mph—faster than some basic helicopters—the sporty "coupe" suffix is fitting. Cruising speed ranges from 85 to 105 mph, depending on altitude and load. The fully enclosed side-by-side two-seater also has dual controls, three throttles and two spaces for luggage.
Kit
Kit prices fluctuate. Contact Barnett for a personal price quote.

Plans
BRC Coupe540 plans: $225.

Contact Barnett Rotorcraft at 530-742-7416 or barnett@syix.com, or visit the Web site at http://members.nbci.com/BarnettRotor/

CHAYAIR MANUFACTURING & AVIATION
Sycamore Mk1 And Sycamore Mk2000
Sycamore seeds leave the tree and spin freely through the air, providing the namesake for Chayair’s tandem models. At 17 ft., 9 in., the Sycamores are some of the longer gyroplanes out there. Both use 115-hp engines and reach speeds up to 106 mph. The Mk1 is fully enclosed, the Mk2000 is partially enclosed.
Kit
Price options vary for the Sycamore kits. Contact Chayair for price quotes.

Assembled
Sycamores are available fully assembled, but prices vary. Contact Chayair for price quotes.

Visit www.chayair.com or write: Chayair Mfg. & Aviation, P.O. Box 807, Messina 0900, Republic of South Africa. Phone: +27 (15) 534-0393.

GYRO-KOPP-TERS
Mosquito Hawk And Midnight Hawk
Nearly neck-in-neck in specs, the Midnight Hawk has a slight edge over the Mosquito in speed with its 90-hp fuel-injected engine. Both reach top speeds of 80 mph. Gyro-Kopp-Ters can be purchased by kit or assembled and tested.
Kit
Midnight Hawk: $8500
Mosquito Hawk: $6500

Assembled
Midnight Hawk: $9500
Mosquito Hawk: $7500

Contact Gyro-Kopp-Ters at 904-752-9116. NOTE: Area code will be changing to (386).

JAY SOUZA GYROPLANES
Super Bandit/Super Bandit Ultralight
A pilot of up to 250 pounds can comfortably jump aboard the Super Bandit. The single-seat, opened-frame can be equipped with a 94-hp EA-81 Subaru engine or it can morph into an ultralight with a 55-hp 503 Rotax engine. With the Subaru, it can reach 85 mph and with the Rotax, 63 mph. Useful load is 313 pounds with the Subaru or 348 pounds with the Rotax.
Kit
Basic kit (without engine, instruments and propeller): $7500
Deluxe kit: $11,000

Contact Jay Souza Gyroplanes at 530-741-0741 or www.rotorcraft.com/bandit.

JIM MONTGOMERIE GYROCOPTERS
Merlin
Bensen’s Gyrocopter is the design-ancestor to the Merlin’s frame and streamlining is the modern Merlin’s anthem. The Merlin gets up to 100 mph on a 65-hp Rotax 582. Two fuel tanks are foamed in place behind the pilot and together hold 11 gal. Partially enclosed, it has capacity for one.
Kit
Kit price without engine, rotors, propeller or instruments: approximately $5338.98 (U.S. dollars). Price varies with the exchange rate.

Contact jim.montgomerie@virgin.net or Jim Montgomerie Gyrocopters; Kirkmichael Road, Crosshill; Maybole, Ayrshire; Scotland KA19 7RJ; www.gyrocopters.co.uk.

KEN BROCK MANUFACTURING
KB-2
Designer Ken Brock took this single-seat opened-frame cross-country in 10 days. Whether or not that’s your goal, this model reaches maximum speeds of 90 to 95 mph and runs on either a Volkswagon or 72- or 90-hp McCulloch engine.

Kit
The KB-2 is sold in sub-kits. Price may vary with options, but the average is $12,500.

Plans
Plans for the McCulloch-powered KB-2: $125
Plans for the Volkswagon-powered KB-2: $135

KB-3
Brock’s newer single-seat model, the KB-3, can be flown licensed or as an ultralight. At 65 hp and a top speed of 63 to 70 mph, it is less powerful than the KB-2 but has a slightly more rugged weight of 250 pounds, versus its predecessor’s empty weight of 230 pounds.

Kit
The KB-3 is sold in sub-kits. Price may vary with options, but the average is $12,500.

Plans
Plans for the Rotax 582-powered KB-3: $125

Call 714-898-4366 or see www.kenbrockmfg.com.

LITTLE WING AUTOGYROS
Little Wing LW-2, LW-3 And
Little Wing 2-Place
Echoes of the old Cierva style are evident in the classic-style Little Wings, modernized and sufficiently compact for transportability. Versatile, the airframes can accommodate most common engines. Thrust lines below its center of gravity also make for enhanced stability. Cruise speeds are 65 to 75 mph. The 2-place is a tandem and carries a large useful load of 550 pounds. All come enclosed.

Plans
Construction drawings for the Little Wings: $175

Contact Little Wing Autogyros at 501-470-7444, rotopup@aol.com or www.flygyro.com/littlewing.

MAD MAX AERO
Mad Max
Audaciously colored, the bold-looking Mad Max is aptly named. The "Max" in its namesake also stands for its award-winning designer, Maxie Wildes. The Max now comes in single- or double-seat capacities and the opened-frame gyro cruises at 60 mph and reaches 80 mph.
Kit
Kits for the Mad Max: $19,000. Preinspections are available.

Call Mad Max Aero at 912-897-6702.

MAGNI USA
Magni M-16 Tandem Trainer 2000
Think of the M-16 as getting the Big Mercedes of Magni’s models. A wider cabin and more kneeroom in the front seat can make this tandem autogyro feel like you’re riding right on the clouds. Partially enclosed, the M-16 includes dual controls, a large instrument panel and standard electric trim. Both the M-16 and M-14 have engine options of a 115-hp Rotax 914 or a 100-hp Rotax 912 ULS. The top speed for both is 115 mph. Crop dusting is also possible in the versatile M-16.

Kit
Prices for the M-16 kits vary greatly with the Lira exchange rate.

Assembled
The prices for a fully assembled M-16 varies greatly with the Lira exchange rate.

Magni M-14 Scout 2000
Nearly identical, performance-wise, to the M-16 is the sporty M-14 model. More compact, the M-14 delivers the utility of tandem seating with aerodynamic performance. It has a slightly higher useful load of 648 pounds, versus the M-16’s 617 pounds and retains a lot of the standard features, such as electric trim.

Kit
An M-14 kit is the medium-cost craft between the M-16 and M-18. Prices vary greatly with the Lira exchange rate.

Assembled
An M-14 kit is the medium-cost craft between the M-16 and M-18. Prices vary greatly with the Lira exchange rate.

Magni M-18 Spartan 2000
Simpler to build than its cousin models, the M-18 is a single-seat autogyro made of the same steel airframe from the Italian company’s other models. Its smaller, 65-hp Rotax 582 engine delivers only a slightly reduced top speed of 105 mph. Available open or partially enclosed.

Kit
Prices for the M-18 kits vary greatly with the Lira exchange rate.

Assembled
Prices for the fully assembled M-18 vary greatly with the Lira exchange rate.

Prices vary with monetary exchange rates. Call the U.S. distributor at 573-883-3541 or visit www.magnigyro.com.

NORTH AMERICAN ROTORWERKS
Pitbull
A front-engine design lends a look from gyros of yesteryear to the Pitbull, which has also has modern, unique options like float capability. The predrilled, bolt-together frame cuts down construction time for the single-seat gyro that accepts a Subaru EA-81, a 48-hp Rotax 503 or a water-cooled 582. Top speed is 80 mph and cruising is 65 mph. The Pitbull can be partially or fully enclosed and its useful load ranges from 240 to 290 pounds.
Kit
Kit price list for the Pitbull:
Complete without engine, propeller or instruments: $7900
Complete without engine: $9900

Contact North American Rotorwerks at 509-683-1507 or www.classics.nu/pitbull.

RALPH TAGGART
Gryobee
If you want to sneak a peak at how involved a build-from-scratch gyro project is without dishing out cash for a hard copy, or if you’re looking for an ideal beginner’s ultralight, Gryobee is a non-commercial model whose plans are available for free download on the Internet. The Gyrobee revolutionized ultralights in the early 1990s with a low-rotor disc loading as its core concept, which allows it more decent performance on 40 hp. The designer also says it assumes a 215-pound pilot, a figure with more room that the FAA’s recommended ultralight capacity of 170 pounds.
Plans
A Gyrobee documentation package consisting of 126 pages of text and drawings is available for free download at http://taggart.glg.msu.edu/gyro/gbplans.php

Contact Ralph Taggart through the Gyrobee Web site at http://taggart.glg.msu.edu/gyro/gbee.php.

Aerotec, Inc. is a separate company that sets airframe kits and engines based on the Gyrobee plans. Its Web site is www.usaerotec.com.

ROTOR FLIGHT DYNAMICS
Dominator And
Dominator Tandem
Perched high off the ground, the Dominator gets a characteristic look from its long, spider-like legs. It is available with one or two seats, although the tandem model is often used for instruction. The single-seat performance model reaches 123 mph and the tandem 914 performance model reaches 105 mph. Dominator is the originator of the Tall Tail design, now widely copied for its stability. The craft also holds the official world altitude record in its class, at 24,463 ft.
Kit
Prewelded airframe kits are available. Prices vary, call for information.

Plans
Plans are available for the single-seater Dominator models: $175.

Assembled
Depending on model and engine size, Dominators are available fully assembled: $12,000 to $29,000.

Contact Rotor Flight Dynamics at 813-634-3370 or www.rotorcraft.com/dominator.

ROTOR HAWK INDUSTRIES
Falcon And
Falcon II
Deciding between Falcons really boils down to whether you want to share the ride with someone else. Both are accommodating to most aircraft engines, including Subaru, Rotax and Hirth, and both cruise at 60 to 70 mph with a top speed of 95 mph. But two passengers can ride side-by-side in the Falcon II while the Falcon only has room for one. Both are now available with or without enclosure.
Kit
Falcon kit
(without engine, propeller, rotor blades, instrument and seat tank): $3995

Falcon II kit (without engine): $11,950, but may cost less, depending on option choices.

Sparrow
Correspondingly named, the Sparrow is the ultralight cousin of the Falcon. Its bolt-together aluminum frame carries a useful load of up to 240 pounds, depending on the engine (choice of Rotax 447 or 503, or Hirth 2704 or 2706). Cruising airspeed is 63 mph.
Kit
Kit for the Sparrow:
(Without engine, seat tank, propeller, rotors and instruments): $3795

Plans
Plans for the Sparrow: $175

Contact Rotor Hawk Industries at 219-748-4495, http://www.vortechonline.com/gyrokits or nealfalcon@aol.com.

SNOBIRD
SnoBird Charger
Charge full-speed ahead in this gyro, or at least to its 90 mph maximum airspeed. Cruising speed is 70 mph with its 65-hp Hirth 2706 engine. Shock-absorbing landing gear is also a feature of the opened-frame single-seater. Its useful load is 335 pounds.

Kit
Kit (including the 65-hp Hirth 2706 engine, brakes, propeller, rotor blades and flight instruments): $13,750

Call SnoBird at 219-477-5332

SPORT COPTER INC.
Sport Copter Vortex
Sport Copter’s composite seats that snugly conform to the pilot’s shape, including the head, provide comfort as well as crucial support. Independent toe-operated hydraulic disc brakes are standard on all models. Its unique nose-wheel suspension operates independently from the rudder to make for smooth takeoffs and landings in crosswinds. Vortex reaches 100 mph with a 67-hp engine and has seating for one with a useful load of 460 pounds.
Kit
Kits for the Vortex: $20,400
Sport Copter Lightning
A unique feature on both the Vortex and Lightening is float capability—these crafts can take off right on the water. The Lightning must be equipped as an experimental model with a 67-hp engine for this feature, but it typically operates as an ultralight with a 50-hp Rotax 503. Top speed is 63 mph with the ultralight or 80 mph with the experimental. Conforming composite seats, nosewheel suspension and independent disc brakes also come on the Lightning.
Kit
Kits for the Lightning: $15,300

Contact Sport Copter at 503-543-7000, information@sportcopter.com or www.sportcopter.com.

WINNER’S CIRCLE ENGINEERING
H-1 Racer
Vaguely zeppelin-shaped, this unique gyro is also fun to look at. With a Rotax 503 engine, cruising airspeed is 65 mph. The one-person seat is mostly enclosed and useful load is 250 pounds.
Kit
Kit for the H-1 Racer (including frame, tail, steering, landing gear, seat tank, brakes, front suspension and rotor head): $6000

Plans
Plans for the H-1 Racer: $150

Contact Winner’s Circle Engineering at 317-996-3157.

CARTERCOPTERS
Rotor Wing
CarterCopters’ Rotor Wing, a grass-roots effort-turned-NASA grant project, is being developed as a high-performance gyroplane that has the versatility to do military and commercial work. It is projected that the five-passenger craft will eventually make non-stop trips from Los Angeles to New York.
Under development
Currently, the Rotor Wing exists only as a prototype. Look for this gyro to be produced not by CarterCopters, but by other certified aircraft manufacturers for which Carter is developing and licensing the technology.

Contact Carter Copters at www.cartercopters.com. Send e-mail to Ken Hibbs at khibbs@wf.net, or write CarterCopters L.L.C., 5720 Seymour Hwy., Witchita Falls, TX 76310.

GROEN BROTHERS AVIATION
Hawk 4
The Hawk 4 aims to revolutionize the utility of the gyroplane with items such as its 960-pound useful load and 75-gal. fuel capacity. Groen predicts the Hawk 4, which is in its early stages of production, will find its niche in police departments, delivery and shuttle services, news bureaus and farms.
Assembled
The Hawk 4T is sold fully assembled with a Rolls-Royce Model 250 B17C gas turbine for $749,000. Deposits may be paid now, but the first crafts will be delivered in summer 2002.

Contact Groen Brothers Aviation at 801-973-0177 or www.gbagyros.com.

VORTECH INC.
Shadow Two-Seat Gyroplane
Among the Shadow's features are: a durable, high-strength airframe, dependable, FAA-certified Lycoming engine, certified disc brakes for superb ground handling, rugged gearbox-driven prerotator, large, expandable instrument panel, and a full electrical system for avionics and lights. It also takes off and lands in very short distances and operates exceptionally well at high altitudes. It's size is easily reduced for storage in a garage or transported by trailer. It's maximum speed is 100 mph.and its cruising speed is 75 mph.
Shadow kit minus engine and instruments: $15,750
Skylark One-Seat Helicopter
Developed from an award-winning design, pilots have expressed amazement at this craft's stability and maneuverability. The Skylark can be flown in the Experimental Aircraft category. Although this is one of the more affordable homebuilts, the airframe and all of its major components have been designed for quality, dependability and durability. The Skylark can reach speeds of 95 mph and cruise at 70 mph.

Features of the Skylark:
Full helicopter flight: vertical takeoffs and landings, forward, backward and sideward flight, and hovering.

Standard helicopter control system. All-aluminum main- and tail-rotor blades. Aircraft-grade steel and aluminum airframe and major components, plus all AN hardware.

Full instrumentation Skylark kit minus engine and instruments: $19,995

Skylark construction plans:
Reduced-size prints (11" x 17" format): $75 (add $6 postage U.S. or $16 foreign)
Full size prints (18" x 24" format): $175 (add $7 postage U.S. or $22 foreign)

Contact Vortech Inc. at 410-692-0333 or www.prismz.com. Rotor blades for homebuilt helis and gyros are at www.vortechinternational.com

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