WindRyder Rotorplane – Speed With Style

WindRyder Gyrocopter

This gyrocopter is built with state-of-the-art techniques and building materials, achieves speeds of 130 mph and looks great

Before the WindRyder, a brief history of gyroplanes to start us off:

The autogyro was invented by Juan de la Cierva, a Spanish aviator whose C-4 “Autogiro” first flew successfully in January 1923. The autogyro, as a functioning, usable aircraft, pre-dated the helicopter by many years, and it wasn’t until the advent of World War Two and the subsequent government funding of helicopter development that helicopters started gaining favor and acceptance over the autogyro.

Flying WindRyder Gyro

LEFT: Top speed of the Hurricane 100 is 130 mph. At this speed, cross-country trips in a gyroplane are now not only feasible, but also practical.
RIGHT: The WindRyder utilizes composite pre-molded structural components.

The autogyro of today has many of the advantages of the helicopter while retaining the relative simplicity of a fixed-wing aircraft. It has the ability to fly relatively fast, while maintaining the ability to fly very slowly, a characteristic difficult to achieve with a fixed wing.

If it loses the forward speed required to maintain altitude, it will slowly lose altitude, but it will do so in a fully controlled manner instead of a stall. Since the airspeed over its wing (rotor) is relatively high, it is very insensitive to winds and gusts.

Single seat composite gyrocopter rotorblades

The WindRyder features – Skywheels; the laminar flow composite rotor system.

The slow-flight capability of the autogyro also gives it a short takeoff and landing capability which is surpassed only by that of a helicopter. The dynamics of an autogyro in flight are much simpler than that of a helicopter because the rotor is not powered by torque from the engine.

The main rotor receives its power in flight from the air moving upward through it. As the air passes through the rotor disc, it imparts a force to the rotors. The vertical component of this force is lift, while the horizontal component causes the blades to rotate.

The blades rotate at an rpm which is fairly independent of forward air-speed, and since roll and pitch control is achieved by tilting the rotor disc, roll and pitch control is also independent of forward airspeed. Since the main rotor receives no torque from the engine, a tail rotor is not necessary, and yaw control is achieved with a rudder.

VIDEO: The Original WindRyder Demo Footage

The versatility, performance, simplicity and inherent safety of the autogyro have caused a fairly recent rebirth of interest from all areas. In the last two years, they have all but taken over the ultralight market and now, with the WindRyder, they are receiving attention from those with more serious aviation needs.

The rotors are 29-foot-diameter composite “Sky Wheels!’ Because of the unsurpassed performance and durability of this rotor system, they have captured approximately 90 percent of the market since they were introduced in 1984.

The blades are constructed from unwoven bi-directional S glass in a vinylester matrix, oriented at + and -45 degrees to span-wise to ensure torsional stiffness.

A full length 6061-T5 aluminum spar is bonded inside the leading edge of the blade which carries the majority of the tensile loads and provides the proper chord-wise balance.

WindRyder 130 mph gyrocopter

The WindRyder comes with a pre-rotator as standard equipment. This is capable of spinning the rotors to 200 rpm and this will get you off the ground in zero to two hundred feet, depending on wind velocity and direction.

The blades are designed for flight loads of three Gs with a safety factor of two. Designing a rotor system for an autogyro is a complicated process involving many parameters.

Changing one parameter always affects the other parameters, so compromises must be made. When trying to visualize what effect a particular design change or modification will have on rotor performance, it is always helpful to examine the lift distribution from tip to tip.

Any discontinuities or abrupt changes in this lift distribution will cause pressure differentials which will further mix or agitate the air after it passes through the rotor system.

Energy spent doing work which mixes or agitates the air is wasted work, and every effort within the limits of cost and practicality should be made to minimize these inefficiencies.

This mixing is caused by several interrelated occurrences, not the least of which include tip vortices, non-uniform lift distribution and a stalled and reversed airflow region located on the inboard portion of the retreating blade.

A smaller-diameter blade will rotate faster than a large-diameter blade on the same aircraft, and will have a proportionally smaller stalled portion on the retreating blade, but the higher disc loading will result in increased tip losses and an increased disc angle.

VIDEO: WindRyder Gyroplane Pre-rotation

Also by twisting the blade, it is possible to obtain a more even lift distribution on the advancing blade, but this twist will cause the stalled portion on the retreating blade to increase in size.

These examples are not meant to confuse, but rather to indicate, the level of complexity of our ongoing experimentation, and the degree of our commitment to provide our customers with the best rotor system available.

They have tried every diameter rotor possible on the WindRyder, from 23 feet to 29 feet. Each increase in diameter has resulted in an increase in top speed, a lower slow flight speed, and a shorter takeoff roll.

A 29-foot-diameter rotor on a fully loaded WindRyder yields a disc loading of 1.1 pounds per square foot of rotor disc area, which is the lowest disc loading of any design on the market.

Disc loading which is one of the main Certification as a Private Pilot Gyroplane requires a Class 3 Medical Certificate, a passing grade on a written examination, 20 hours of flight instruction from a certified gyroplane flight instructor, and 20 hours of logged solo flight time.

An “Add-on” Private Pilot Gyroplane certification is possible with ten hours of logged gyroplane flight time, after solo privileges have been granted by an instructor.

WindRyder autogyro

From every angle, the WindRyder sports the unmistakable look of advanced design and modern construction.

Because it is in the “single seat, experimental ” category, the WindRyder may be legally flown with a Class 3 Medical Certificate, once solo privileges have been granted by a flight instructor, or with a private pilot’s license.

Further information on both private and commercial pilot gyroplane licensing requirements is available in FAA Regulations Part 61. Once registered with the FAA, and operated by a licensed pilot, the WindRyder auto-gyro enjoys the same privileges as all other General Aviation aircraft.

Wind Ryder Hurrican 100 Gyroplane

Composite WindRyder Gyrocopter Specifications
Seats 1
Length 133 inches
Width 86 inches
Height 98 inches
Weight (gross) 750 pounds
Weight (empty) 435 pounds
Fuel capacity 16 gallons
Maximum speed 115 mph
Cruise speed (75 percent power) 90 mph
Minimum speed 15 mph
Rate of climb 1000 fpm
Takeoff roll (depending on pre-station and winds) 0 to 250 feet
Landing roll (depending on pilot proficiency) 0 to 50 feet
Service ceiling
10,000 feet
Disc loading 1.135 Ib/sq ft
Blade loading 39 Ib/sq ft
Power loading 11.54 lb/hp
Engine Rotax 532 65-hp 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled, rotary valve, 2-cycle
Rotor Sky Wheels 29-foot-diameter composite, 3-part
Propeller 64-inch (163 cm) diameter fixed-pitch, wooden, two-blade
Main wheels Cleveland 500×5 cast magnesium, integral hydraulic disc brake
Tires McCreary Airtrac 4-ply ribbed-tread aircraft type
Instrumentation (Standard) Airspeed indicator, variometer, compass, fuel gauge, rotor tachometer. Engine: EGT, CWT, tachometer, amp meter
Electrical System Regulated 12 vdc 140-watt capacity
Review Date
Reviewed Item
WindRyder Rotorplane
Author Rating

2 Comments on "WindRyder Rotorplane – Speed With Style"

  1. Many years ago I was going to extend the tail and put 5-10 hp to the B-8 gyro rotor because compound helicopter experiments showed less power required. Has any one done this and did the tail volume counter all the rotor torque and at what speeds?

  2. Ultra High Lift Without Flaps (Courtesy:

    Dr. Gecheng Zha, an Associate Professor with the University of Miami has an impressive set of credentials, culminating in a Ph.D.from the University of Montreal, Ecole Polytechnique. That, and his impressive body of work helped impress the audience at the seventh annual Electric Aircraft Symposium this last April.

    His work over the last decade has focused on generating high lift and low drag through circulation control on wings – even leading to the concept that wings can generate thrust instead of drag. This integration of aerodynamic forces would lead to highly efficient aircraft capable of flying on little – or even no power.

    Earlier attempts to increase lift and decrease drag have relied on sometimes complex, multiply flapped and slotted wings which require powerful mechanical actuators to work their magic. Others have used rotating cylinders laid spanwise on wing leading and trailing edges, or active suction or blowing to achieve their goals. Zha has looked at these and other approaches, including synthetic jets and plasma jets for circulation control.

    His claims for the resulting Co-Flow Jet (CFJ) airfoil are pretty startling, and hints of possible applications could be game changers in military, civilian and – importantly to the CAFE Foundation – Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) arenas.


    The airfoil injects air into a span-wise “slot” in the wing toward the leading edge, sucks air from that slot toward the trailing edge, and is driven by a low-power pump inside the airfoil. The simple system provides high lift and low drag throughout the entire flight regime, instead of just during landings and takeoffs, as with flaps and slots. Wind tunnel tests show that the CFJ flow between leading and trailing edges transfers energy to the air flowing over the wing’s surface “via turbulent mixing under severe adverse pressure gradient.” This Zero Net Mass Flow (ZNMF) keeps the main flow attached with induced large circulation, improved boundary layer control and consequent high lift.

    Besides generating high lift, CFJ reduces drag to the point where it may even provide thrust (much like what John McGinnis proposes with his box-wing configuration), and increases the stall margin over an expanded range of angles of attack. It works with any thick or thin airfoil, places small demands on the aircraft’s powerplant, and can be applied to a wide range of aircraft.


    With higher lift and lower drag, wings can be smaller, stall speeds can be lower, and something like the vision below might make even high-speed transport possible from true neighborhood airports. Such aircraft will be quiet enough to be good neighbors because they lack the noisy wake mixing brought about by high-lift flap system deployment.


    The wide, open slot with its large discontinuity in the upper wing surface generates enhanced mixing of the spanwise and streamwide vortices structure of ZNMF, far exceeding theoretical limits. Dr. Zha has a patent pending on these breakthrough ideas and is looking for investors and collaborators to help make his ideas into practical flying hardware.

    As an added note, Time magazine reported that NASA named Dr. Zha’s Supersonic Bi-directional Flying Wing as one of the 10 “most fantastic projects that NASA hopes will be inspiring people long after Curiosity has finished exploring Mars”. The airplane would be capable of lift-to-drag ratio of 16:1 at Mach 2.0, and flights between New York and Los Angeles in two hours, or New York to Tokyo in four. The ninja throwing star-shaped craft would accomplish this without massive sonic booms, the sound waves from the jet hitting the ground in smooth sine waves rather than two large thunderclaps.

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