Regular contributor Albert Dyer sent in several photos for our Year in Pictures special focus in the December issues. Among these was this photo of an open frame autogyro design being flown by Jack Fisher at Lansing Municipal Airport (KIGQ), 21 miles south of Chicago. He explains:
“The autogyro was invented by Juan de la Cierva and first flown in 1923 from Cuatro Vientos Airfield in Madrid, Spain. The autogyro is the missing link between aircraft and helicopter. During a time of unreliable aircraft and engines, which Juan de la Cieva experienced firsthand, his design concept was this: To have the ability to land an aircraft slowly within a minimal footprint without loss of aircraft, cargo or pilot in the event of a forced landing such as the way a maple seed falls from its branch.
“Engineer Igor Bensen designed the open frame design in the mid-1950s, selling thousands of plans and kits for decades. Many a young boy thumbing through the pages of Popular Mechanics found the Bensen Gyroplane ad and dreamed of flight.”