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by Renato Chinetti

The gyrocopter, one of the most fascinating machines one can think of, has flown in our skies for over seventy years. It is the brainchild of Juan De La Cierva, a Spanish pilot of the twenties.
Distressed by the number of friend pilots who died as a result of fatal stalls, he decided to create a machine which could not be put in such condition. An aircraft which could not stall! He conceived a free-wheeling rotating wing kept in motion by the relative wind.
This configuration ensured that the aircraft had sufficient lift to hold it aloft in any flight condition, whether slow, translated or vertical flight. During Second World War, the gyrocopter was used on the German U-Boats being towed aloft as an observation and alerting vehicle. The gyro was made famous also by a flight scene in one of the many James Bond movies.
Let us now take a closer look at a gyrocopter built in Italy by Vittorio Magni, a true expert in this specific field. We are talking about the Magni Gyro M16 Tandem Trainer.
The cockpit features tandem seating and dual controls. It is a very stable, easy to fly and predictable machine designed specifically for training, which gives even neophytes a feeling of safety.
The frame is constructed entirely of TIG welded 4130 chromoly steel tubing. The 27-foot composite rotor is built by Magni Gyro directly. The cockpit and the tail surfaces are also in composite using a sandwich structure. Empty weight is 270 Kg.
The tank, built into the rear seat, has a 50 litre capacity. Range can be extended by installing an auxiliary 30-litre tank which takes the place of the rear passenger. Even so, this tank can be installed or removed in minutes thanks to a quick release fastening mechanism.
A fundamental characteristic common to all Magni gyros are the oversize tail planes with a large horizontal surface. The latter is essential in order to have a stable machine devoid of any "porpoising" tendencies, thus eliminating any possibility of PIO's (Pilot Induced Oscillations).
The engine is a Rotax 914 turbo which, in combination with a carbon fibre three-blade Arplast ecoprop propeller, designed specifically for such engine, makes for the ideal solution in terms of weight, power and good torque even at low rpms.
The Magni is easy to handle in any situation and, due to the very nature of the gyrocopter, it is only marginally hampered, if at all, by either wind turbulence or updrafts (thermals).

Flying Characteristics

With the gyro lined up on the runway, the rotor is prerotated when the engine reaches approximately 2000 rpms. As the rotor picks up speed the throttle is pushed in more in order to supply enough horsepower to the mechanical prerotator. At 130 rotor rmps the stick is pulled all the way back so as to expose the most rotor disk surface to the wind.
At approximately 200 rotor rpms the prerotator is disconnected and the throttle is pushed in firmly but gradually, thus beginning the take-off phase.
About 5000 to 5300 engine rpms are required, with two occupants, for a normal take-off. Under such conditions, the gyro lifts off in about 80 metres, leaving a good power reserve as the 914 can be pushed to 115% power or 5800 rpms.
The actual flight characteristics are very similar to a conventional plane although with a more limited use of the rudder pedals.
With two people on board, it is possible to perform all manoeuvres holding approximately 4500 engine rpms. The real impressive thing is the capability for this gyro to literally turn about its vertical axis: a completely new sensation for anybody who has never flown with this aircraft. Top speed is around 115 mph, with a cruise speed of 70-75 mph, even though the aircraft can easily fly a steady 90 mph if it weren't for the excessive blast of air that the passenger is subjected to.
The landing phase is usually carried out with the engine at idle and a nose down attitude, so as to maintain an indicated airspeed of 50-60 mph. Touch-down, instead, occurs at a ridiculously low airspeed. The aircraft stops in a space anywhere between 0 and 30 metres.
Fuel consumption is definitely higher than in a fixed-wing aircraft, due to the induced drag of the rotor, and is between 15 to 20 litres/hour, depending on use.
In conclusion, the Magni gyro is an aircraft which readily adapts to all types of applications, always ensuring fun and safe flying. It is not difficult to imagine how a possible power loss event can be easily turned into a normal landing due to its incredibly low minimum speed and landing space requirements, which are also a guarantee against overturning.
Alcuni dati tecnici

Empty weight 270 Kg max take-off weight 450 Kg
width 1800 mm length 4655 mm
height 2600 mm fuel capacity 50 lt
rotor diameter 8230 mm propeller diameter 1700 mm
max airspeed 115 mph max cruise speed 90 mph
max altitude in ground effect 4000 m max altitude out of ground effect 3500 m
price 67.000.000 F.F - VAT not included (ready-to-fly with Rotax 914 Turbo 115 hp and FlyDat)
In kit form 63.000.000 FF - VAT not included
Built by Magni Gyro - Via della Tecnica, 4 - Cavaria (Va) - Tel. +39 331 218041 - Fax +39 331 217328

For more information, please contact Renato Chinetti

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