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  Autogiro Day

Autogiro Day!
Saturday Sept 27

Aircraft Displays
Hands-On Activities for Kids
Helicopter Flight Simulations
Guided Tours
Presentations by Jean-Pierre Harrison
And Much More!

Join a celebration of the earliest rotary-winged aircraft as the Museum celebrates Autogiro Day! Discover the world of autogiros, unique aircraft flown with unpowered rotors. Flown as early as 1923, autogiros were among the leading aircraft designs well into the 1930s. Amelia Earhart set an altitude record of over 18,000 feet flying a Pitcairn autogiro in 1931.

The Museum will welcome autogiros from around the Bay Area, and will display them along with traditional helicopters on the Compass Rose throughout the day. Special autogiro-themed events and programs will be held as follows:

10-11 AM Autogiro Arrivals (Weather Permitting)
10:30 AM Public Helicopter/Autogiro Tour
11 AM-1 PM Autogiro Static Aircraft Display
11AM-1:30PM Rotor Roundup Activities for Kids
11 AM Harold Pitcairn and American Autogiro Development - Presentation by Jean-Pierre Harrison
11 AM-2 PM Flight Simulators Open-Helicopter Missions Available*
Ticket and Fee Required
12 PM Public Helicopter/Autogiro Tour
12:30 PM The Cierva Autodynamic Rotor -Presentation by Jean-Pierre Harrison
1:30-2:30PM Autogiro Departures (Weather Permitting))


Rotor Roundup Hands-On Activities
Join educators from the Hiller Aviation Museum to explore the world of vertical flight! Build and fly a simple rotor-winged aircraft, examine real helicopter and autogiro artifacts, test-fly a small remote control helicopter and more! All activities are included with Museum admission.


Public Helicopter/Autogiro Tours
10:30 AM, 12:30 PM

Explore the Museumís unparalleled collection of rotary winged aircraft with an experienced docent guide. See full scale reproductions of the Buhl Autogiro and Hiller XH-44 helicopter, including a demonstration of the Hillerís unique twin rotor system. Investigate the forces that act on a helicopter in flight during a static demonstration of a Hiller 360 helicopter and discover the Museumís rare Del Mar helicopters, including the only tandem-rotor DH-20 ever built.

Suitable for all ages, tours are included with Museum admission.


Harold Pitcairn and American Autogiro Development
Presentation by Jean-Pierra Harrison
11 AM

Harold F. Pitcairn, born into a wealthy family, channelled his interest in rotary-wing aircraft into the development of the Autogiro upon flying the aircraft in 1928. He licensed the North American Autogiro patent rights and undertook a major development programme coordinated with that of the parent Cierva Autogiro Company, Ltd., in England. Pitcairn's efforts contributed significantly to the development of rotary-wing aircraft and laid the foundation of the helicopter industry in North America.


The Cierva Autodynamic Rotor
Presentation by Jean-Pierre Harrison
12:30 PM

The Cierva Autodynamic Rotor was a developed by the Cierva Autogiro Company following the introduction of the tilting hub control system in 1933. The system was intended to utilize the forces acting upon itself to provide automatic jump takeoff capability, rotor rpm governing, tip plane path control, automatic stabilization, and vibration suppression, among other design objectives. Development of the system continued in various forms until 1938, and again from 1945-1949. The Cierva Autogiro Company released very little technical information on the autodynamic rotor and much of what was learnt had to be rediscovered when large scale helicopter development commenced after the Second World War. The autodynamic rotor was unsuccessful as a complete system but components are in common use today.


Lectures included with Museum admission.



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