Get Your Rotor Running

Igor Bensen, the father of the personal gyroplane, founded the Popular Rotorcraft Association in 1962. Some 10 years later, gyroplane enthusiasts kicked off the Bensen Days fly-in in Wauchula, Florida. Bill Wilson hung out at the March event and recorded some of the free-wheeling annual celebration, where vendors showed off the latest in gyroplane designs and pilots flew at the drop of a hat and landed on a dime. Dan Hanan, southeastern U.S. distributor of the MTO Sport Auto-Gyro, taxied out for a demo flight; the instrument panel features a portable GPS navigation system. Gyroplanes were presented in a static display, including an RAF model with colorful mock bug splats. Brooke Beetler, in a single-seat experimental gyro, cranked the Rotax engine and rolled to the runway to fly in the egg-drop contest. Jim Fields, in his yellow HoneyBee G2, gave rides to Bensen Days visitors. Tim Verroi showed off the spot-landing capabilities of his Monarch Butterfly, plummeting from 200 feet. Video: Bill Wilson (1:33)

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