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)