A century of rotating wings

De la CiervaDear Colleagues,

This is not the first time I have marked a date, but this one is particularly significant for lovers of technology, aviation and above all for those of us who work in the world of helicopters. Today, 17 January 2023, marks the centenary of the birth of the rotary wing.

C4The first flight of a rotary wing aircraft took place on the grounds of the current Getafe Air Base, near Madrid, on January 17th, 1923. It was the fourth autogiro prototype built by Juan de la Cierva, the C-4 and was piloted by Captain Alejandro Gómez Spencer. This was not the only flight that took place there, but the first one that was successful from the trials that started in 1920 with the C-1.

The creation of the gyroplane is an exceptional case: Juan de la Cierva, starting from an abstract and pragmatic conception of a theoretical nature, was able to create and develop a new type of aircraft with full success.

The Autogiro is the greatest Spanish contribution to aviation. Since the achievement of motorized flight by the Wright brothers, it is the only case of design, creation and development of a totally new, original and different flight system: the Rotary Wings.

The gyroplane was created under the generative force of in-flight safety. But in developing the gyroplane, Juan de la Cierva did much more: he solved in practice something that still proves to be exceptionally complex today, the rotor system. Despite the efforts of hundreds of companies around the world (more than 400 in the USA alone in 1919), no helicopter flew effectively until the autogiro rotor began to be used. Even nowadays all helicopters carry a minimum of two Juan de la Cierva patents on their rotors, and if it were not for them, they would not be able to fly.

I invite you to find out more about this event, the protagonist and his machines at the following web site: https://centenarioautogiro.com/en/the-autogiro-history/

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