The British company Fairey had built several compound helicopters in the 1940s. One of these was modified with tip jets as the Jet Gyrodyne in 1953. Based on this data, Fairey designed the 33,000 lb Rotodyne, a 40 passenger transport powered by two 2,800 shp Napier Eland 3 turbine engines. The fuselage was 59 ft long with nearly 3,300 cubic feet of internal volume, ending in rear clamshell loading doors. The 60 ft diameter four-bladed rotor was rotated by tip-jets in vertical flight and autorotated in cruise, providing about half of the aerodynamic lift. During transition, the engine power was transferred by hydraulic clutches to two four-bladed tractor propellers mid-mounted on the 46 ft wide wings. In hover and forward flight, yaw was controlled by differential propeller pitch, while pitch and roll were produced by the cyclic rotor pitch. Aerodynamic surfaces augmented control in forward flight.

First flight in helicopter mode was on 6 November 1957. The first transitions were begun in April 1958, with problems making satisfactory tip jet relights at altitude being solved by that October. Tip jet noise was extremely unpleasant, driving a significantly modified production version with lower pressure tip jets. Despite apparent commercial interest, Fairey was taken over by Westland, causing the program to fizzle out in about 1962.

Source: AHS V/STOL Wheel


Data on design, manufacture and status

Design authority: The Fairey Company Ltd

Primary manufacturer: The Fairey Company Ltd

Parent type: No type defined

Aircraft status: No longer flying


Primary flight and mechanical characteristics

VTOL type: Helicopter

Compound type: Lift and Thrust

Lift configuration: Single main rotor

Dedicated control device: Other

Dedicated propulsion devices: 2

Crew required: TBA

Crew seating: Side-by-side

Landing gear: Wheels (all retractable)

Layout and Dimensions

Data on aircraft size

Overall Dimensions
Overall Height: 6.76 m 22.2 ft
Overall Length: 27.43 m 90.0 ft
Overall Width: 27.43 m 90.0 ft
Airframe Dimensions
Airframe Length: 17.88 m 58.7 ft
Airframe Width:  
Airframe Height:  
Landing Gear Dimensions
Landing Gear Base:  
Landing Gear Track:  
Cabin Dimensions
Cabin Internal Height: 1.83 m 6.0 ft
Cabin Internal Length: 14.02 m 46.0 ft
Cabin Internal Width: 2.44 m 8.0 ft

Weights and Performance

Data on aircraft weight and flight characteristics

Max Gross Weight (ground): 14,969 kg 33,000 lb
Max Gross Weight (airborne):  
Max Take-off Weight: 14,969 kg 33,000 lb
Empty Weight:  
Useful Load:  
Empty Weight Fraction:  
Climb Performance
Max Rate of Climb:  
Hover Performance
Hover Ceiling IGE:  
Hover Ceiling OGE:  
Max Level Flight Speed:  
Never Exceed Speed:  
Service Ceiling:  
Range and Endurance
Max Range:  
Max Endurance:  

Engine Details

Aircraft powerplant (lift and/or propulsion)

Provided powerplant data is for uninstalled, sea level, static operations.

Number of engines: 2
Designation: Napier Eland N.E.L.3 turbine
Manufacturer: D. Napier and Son Ltd
Normal Ratings
Max continuous:  
Take-off / rated: 2089 kW 2800 hp
OEI Ratings
OEI contingency:  
OEI continuous:  
OEI 30-second:  
OEI intermediate:  

Primary Lift Device

Data on primary lift devices such as main rotors

Flap hinge offset = 0.0444R. Blades have NACA 0015 airfoil section. RPM is the value in hover.

Main Rotor Characteristics
Diameter: 27.43 m 90.00 ft
RPM: 152.8 rpm 152.8 rpm
Direction of Rotation: Counterclockwise
Hub Type:
Main Rotor Blade Characteristics
Blade Construction:
Blade Chord: 0.686 m 2.25 ft
Blade Tip Geometry: Conventional
Blade Twist:  
Number of Blades: 4
Main Rotor Derived Characteristics
Disc Area: 591.02 m² 6361.9 ft²
Disc Loading: 25.33 kg/m² 5.187 lb/ft²
Solidity: 0.0637
Main Rotor Blade Derived Characteristics
Blade area per blade: 9.41 m² 101.3 ft²
Tip Speed: 219.46 m/s 720.0 fps

Primary Control Device

Data on primary control devices such as tail rotors

Tail Rotor Characteristics
Configuration: Unknown
Direction of Rotation: Unknown
Tail Rotor Blade Characteristics
Number of Blades:  
Blade Construction: N/A
Blade Chord:  
Blade Twist:  
Tail Rotor Derived Characteristics
Disc Area:  
Tail Rotor Blade Derived Characteristics
Tip Speed:  
Blade Area (per blade):  

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