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Bahrain Airshow: New gyrocopter makes its debut

Posted 17 January 2014 · Add Comment

A revolutionary new gyrocopter made its debut at the Bahrain Airshow, promising to dramatically slash the cost of surveillance missions.

The Falcon IS System gyrocopter has been developed as an optionally piloted vehicle (OPV). That is, it can be flown either unmanned or manned, in either a one or two-seat configuration, and is available in both military and civil form. 

The Falcon is built in Austria by SCS and is available as a complete surveillance system with multi-mission/multi-sensor capabilities from Data Capture Systems. It uses a Wescam MX-10 turret and a THEIA air-to-ground microwave datalink, developed with Lockheed Martin, to give HD video coverage from up to 75km away. 

Christian Glasemann, managing director of Glasemann Systems, who is helping demonstrate the Falcon IS System at the show, says that the gyrocopter can be flown for about one tenth the cost of a helicopter at around €90 an hour.

“There has been tremendous interest in the Falcon since it was certified last September. As a low-cost airborne surveillance platform it is unparalleled,” said Glasemann. 

“It has undergone extensive surveillance trails in Germany and with a coastguard in Europe. We are also getting a lot of interest in the MENA region and, as it can be used unmanned, it is also ideal for war zones.” 

Due to its short take-off and landing capabilities, the all-composite Falcon does not require airfield support and can be flown on a microlight pilot's licence. It also has an endurance of more than six hours in UAV mode (4.5 hours manned) and a maximum operating altitude of 12,500 feet. 

The gyrocopter has a rotor that is powered prior to take-off. It is then allowed to free wheel, turning due to the air passing upward and through it. 

Invented by the Spanish engineer, Juan de la Cierva, to create an aircraft that could fly safely at slow speeds, the autogyro was first flown in 1923. The concept is perhaps best known in its Wallis Autogyro guise, which famously graced the silver screen with James Bond 007 at its controls in the 1967 film You Only Live Twice. The term autogyro was formerly a trademark, hence the alternative title gyrocopter.


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