Gyroplane builders Groen Brothers Aviation, based in Salt Lake City, have agreed to form a joint venture with the government of Aragon, Spain. GBA signed a memorandum of understanding with Aragon on Dec. 14.
Aragon will acquire Groen Brothers’ Hawk 5 program under the agreement, and will fund GBA’s FAA certification of the aircraft, establish dealerships for it worldwide, and build a factory for it in Aragon. The Hawk 5, a five-place turboprop gyroplane, is a derivative of GBA’s original Hawk 4 design.
In a sense, the joint venture takes rotary wing technology back to its origins. It was Spaniard Juan de la Cierva who designed, built and flew the first Autogiro in 1923. It was the world’s first successful – that is, controllable – rotary-wing aircraft and led to licensing agreements with famed U.S. Autogiro builders Harold Pitcairn and brothers Wallace and Roderick Kellett.
Cierva invented the hinged, or articulated, rotor blades which made controlled rotary-wing flight possible. The blades were attached to the shaft by a flexible hinge for cyclic pitch control, which balances the lift and torque of the rotating blades and produces a stable ride. Cierva’s articulated rotor blade is used today on all helicopters. David Groen, president and CEO of Groen Brothers, commented that “It is entirely fitting that autorotative flight’s full emergence into the modern world be completed in Spain.”
Groen pointed out that “negotiations are still under way (with the Aragon government) and will take some time for agreements to be in place, assuming negotiations are successful.”
The memorandum of understanding calls for Aragon to provide a firm offer by the end of January.