Image ID: 05754
Courtesy of Nottinghamshire Archives
Newark on Trent
Captain Ayre at the controls of his Cierva Autogiro. The full registration of the autogiro in G-ABFZ. It is a Cierva C19-IV P, built for Cierva by A V Roe and Co Ltd in March 1931 (construction no 5143). It was powered by a 105 hp Armstrong Siddeley Genet Major engine. The aircraft was scrapped in 1937. In many ways the autogiro (or windmill plane as it was known) represented the latest in Thirties aircraft technology. Invented in 1923 by the Spaniard Juan de la Cierva, its main claim to fame was its capacity for short take-offs and vertical landings. Although somewhat similar in appearance, the autogiro differed from the helicopter in that its rotor system was not powered. The blades were a replacement for the conventional aeroplane wing in producing lift. Forward motion was provided by the engine at the front. This combination meant that in the event of engine failure, the large rotor blades would keep the machine under control as it descended gently to earth. Demonstrations of this manoeuvre (known as windmilling) caused a sensation at the Newark Show. The crowd watched the machine climb steeply to a great height and gasped as they heard the pilot deliberately switch off his engine. All expected the machine to plunge to earth with no hope of escape. Instead it slowly glided down, following an almost vertical path before landing gently as a skilled parachutist. The 1930's saw an upsurge of interest in air travel. In May 1931, the record-breaking long distance pilot Captain C D Barnard, visited Newark with his 'Air Circus'. The show included Captain Ayre as pictured here.
Organisation Reference: NCCE000890