are two types of rotary winged aircraft. Helicopters have a powered
rotor head, can hover and take off and land vertically, are very complex
machines and very expensive to purchase and operate. A
Robinson R22, perhaps the most popular light helicopter for the
private pilot, will set you back around $145,000.
It is said that helicopters do not fly, they beat the air into
submission! Helicopter flight is a complex subject; for a brief
introduction, click on helicopters. Helicopters don't need runways and
can often take to you where you really want to go to. Unlike fixed wing
aircraft, you can also fly into large cities like London. The smaller
privately owned helicopters are however relatively slow, have a short
range and are unable to carry much weight.
Helicopters are expensive to learn to fly, typical
prices being between £175 and £250 an hour in the UK. In the USA you can
get dual training in an R-22 from around $160 per hour, but even so it
will probably cost you around $7,000 to get your licence.
helicopter is just too expensive or complex for you, then you might
prefer the autogyro, made famous by Little Nellie in the James Bond film "You Only Live
Twice". The autogyro has an unpowered rotor that rotates because of the
air flowing over it. Forward motion is provided by a propeller. You can
think of the autogyro (or gyrocopter) as a conventional aircraft or
ultralight with a freewheeling rotor instead of a wing. Autogyros
require a runway, although they can land nearly vertically and with
almost zero roll-out. They are very much cheaper to learn to fly, to
purchase and to operate than a helicopter, Simple to fly, easy to store
and transport and cheap to build, buy or own, one or two seat autogyros
are constantly attracting new converts and enthusiasts. However, there
are substantial differences in the principles of gyro flight, and if a
pilot is to make a successful and safe conversion it is essential that
these are grasped.
Gyro training is usually carried out in two seaters nowadays, and is
relatively cheap - comparable to the cost of ultralight training.