Country of origin: Germany
Built: Wolfsburg, Germany, c. 1980
Engine: 75hp Volkswagen 4 piston engine
Type: Piston engine
Note: Used in many types of vehicles, light aircraft and autogyros.
Details: Autogyros require light-weight air-cooled reliable engines to drive the pusher propeller mounted behind the pilot. The main rotor is unpowered and auto rotates in the forward air flow to provide lift, so vertical take-off is not possible and a short take-off run is necessary. In some autogyros the rotor can be coupled to the engine to enable a jump-start semi vertical lift off from the ground.
The Volkswagen air-cooled engine is an air-cooled boxer engine with four horizontally opposed cast-iron cylinders, cast aluminum alloy cylinder heads and pistons, magnesium-alloy crankcase, and forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods.
Originally designed by Porsche the Volkwagen car and it's simple air-cooled engine engine was produced in great quantities between 1936 and 2006. It's wide scale availability, reliability and low cost has made the 'beetle' engine a popular choice for light aircraft and autogryos.
Several examples of Autogyros including the Campbell Cricket can be seen here at The Helicopter Museum.