Bensen B-8 Gyro-Glider
In 1954, Igor Bensen designed the Gyroglider as a means to introduce aviation enthusiasts to the thrills of flight with minimal cost. The pilot relied on an automobile to pull the aircraft aloft. The movement of air through the rotor disc caused the blades to autorotate, which provided lift.
Available in the form of a complete kit or as a set of drawings, the Bensen B-8 Gyro-Glider was the first gyrocopter of simple design and construction that can be built by homebuilders.
Basically, the machine is as lightweight tubular aluminum structure with fin and rudder in plywood. The rotor blade is made of laminated plywood and is titled by a stick to control direction of flight.
QUICK VIEW: Bensen B8 Technical Characteristics (PDF)
Hundreds of kits and drawings have been sold (and continue to be sold) and some were even used by the USAF as the X-25B for military assessment.
A powered version, called B-8M Gyro-Copter, flew in July 1957. The engine installed on the mast behind the pilot was a flat four McCulloch 4318 or a 1600cc Volkswagen engine creating a small, robust, cross-country flyer.
Some machines were fitted with floats and known as the Hydro-Copter.
Bensen B-8 Gyro-Glider characteristics:
Rotor diameter: 6.10m
Empty weight: 58kg