The Fairey Rotodyne was a 1950s British compound gyroplane designed and built by Fairey Aviation and intended for commercial and military uses.A development of the earlier Gyrodyne, which had established a world helicopter speed record, the Rotodyne featured a tip-jet-powered rotor that burned a mixture of fuel and compressed air bled from two wing-mounted Napier Eland turboprops.

image: Mustard

The rotor was driven for vertical takeoffs, landings and hovering, as well as low-speed translational flight, but autorotated during cruise flight with all engine power applied to two propellers.One prototype was built.

When the first Rotodyne prototype took to the skies, it could carry 40 passengers over 700km and reach speeds of over 300km/h, all while being able to land and take off on a space not much larger than the aircraft itself.


And after 350 successful test flights, the Rotodyne proved to be safe and capable. But despite plans for an even larger more powerful version, a combination of noise concerns and lack of government support for research and development ultimately led to cancellation of the project.

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