What are GyroCopters?
Comparison to other Aircraft
Even though the gyro looks similar to a helicopter due to the rotating blades, both aircraft operate totally differently.
The helicopter's blades are driven around by the engine while the gyro's blades are rotating automatically (autorotation) the same way a windmill turns in the wind. Once the blades are spinning, the gyro flies like an aeroplane that cannot stall.
An aeroplane has to be moving forwards to generate a relative airflow over its wings to produce lift, the gyro's spinning blades are creating their own relative airflow so there is no requirement for forward movement.
So with sufficient height you can safely bring the speed back to zero, even fly backwards in a good wind, without the concern of the gyro flying out of control.
Safety in an Engine Failure
If an engine fails in a light training helicopter, you have about 1 second to lower its collective lever to enter autorotation otherwise the rotors will cease to turn which is followed by a not so happy ending with the ground. With a gyro however, there are no levers to worry about and the gyro will continue in autorotation, with a fully controllable flight down to a landing spot the size of a tennis court.
Compared to the gyro, a fixed-wing aeroplane with an engine failure has to find a large landing area, usually a farmer's paddock, of at least 200 metres in length.
The reduced effect of turbulence is another positive feature of the gyro giving a much smoother ride than other aircraft. This is due to the rotor blades' relatively small surface area and as well as the gyros rotor disc not being statically fixed to its airframe like an aeroplane's wings fixed to its body.
All types of gyro offer outstanding visibility from the cockpit, especially the open cockpit version where you can literally look straight down from either side of your seat without the feeling of any vertigo. This gives extra safety for the look out of other aircraft as well as providing for an uninterrupted scenic view.