A18 Air and Space Gyrocopter
A18 Air and Space gyrocopter This attractive little jump-start autogyro was designed by Raymond Umbaugh in 1959 after he had built and sold several examples of single-seat cabin developments of the Bensen Gyro-Copter. The Umbaugh 18 prototype (N43U) was flown during 1959, and in August arrangements were made for final development and mass production to be undertaken by Fairchild, the aircraft to be known as the Flymobil. In the event, however, Fairchild built only five development aircraft during 1960, all being tandem 2-seaters with 180hp Lycoming O-360-A1D engines. The original single fin and rudder of the first prototype gave way first to a Vee tail assembly and finally to a triple tail unit with a low-set tail plane bearing two fixed fins and a third movable one in the centre. One of the Fairchild machines was used to gain an FAA type approval certificate in September 1961, and certification of the production version, the Model 18-A, was granted early in 1965. This is built by the Air & Space Manufacturing Co. of Indiana, the agreement with Fairchild meanwhile having been dissolved. No recent figures have been disclosed, but one hundred and ten production Model 18-A’s had been completed by the end of 1965. The autogyro has an all-metal fuselage skin, and wooden rotor blades reinforced with glassfibre. The engine drive can be connected to the rotor for jump starts, after which it is disengaged and clutched to the pusher propeller for forward movement.