The aircraft was the first British compound, or hybrid, helicopter. It should be noted that 'FB-1' was the early designation  of the aircraft (it stood for 'Fairey-Bennett One', after the name of the chief designer, Dr. J.A.J Bennett.) before it was renamed as the Gyrodyne ('gyratory aerodyne'). It was a private venture development by the Fairey company to develop a hover capable rotorcraft that was efficient in forward flight. The underlying design principle was to combine the anti-torque device with a forward thrust producing propeller.

The aircraft was configured for 4/5 seats and 2 pilots. The combined anti-torque control/forward propulsion propeller (2 blades/7ft in diameter) was mounted on the starboard wing (note: the combined function of the propeller is why the no. of control devices is set to zero - see the Glossary for further explanation). The aircraft also embodied some novel control simplifications with no direct collective pitch contol. Collective pitch changed automatically, related to the power being applied (effected automatically by pitch/lag coupling). The swashplate for cyclic pitch was also eliminated. This was achieved by tilting the rotor head. Stick shake was also removed by using irreversible hydraulic jacks to tilt the rotor head.

The first protoype (G-AIKF) was destroyed in an accident on 17 April 1949 at Ufton Nervet in Berkshire, UK, killing Chief Test Pilot F.H. Dixon and his observer D. Galloway. The second prototype (G-AJJP) was subsequently modified to become the Jet Gyrodyne.

A detailed description of the aircraft (including technical drawings) can be found in the following reference,

Source: "Fairey Gyrodyne | Design Survey of the World's Fastest Helicopter", FLIGHT Staff, FLIGHT, 21 April 1949, pages 453-459

See also (for further background information),

Source: "The Gyrodyne", FLIGHT Staff, FLIGHT, July 15th 1948, pages 78-79 (and subsequent)


Data on design, manufacture and status

Design authority: The Fairey Company Ltd

Primary manufacturer: The Fairey Company Ltd

Parent type: Fairey Gyrodyne

Aircraft status: No longer flying


Primary flight and mechanical characteristics

VTOL type: Helicopter

Compound type: Thrust

Lift configuration: Single main rotor

Dedicated propulsion devices: 1

Crew required: 1-2

Crew seating: Side-by-side

Landing gear: Wheels (non-retractable)

Overall Dimensions

Data on aircraft size

Overall Height: 3.09 m (10.1 ft)

Overall Length: 15.77 m (51.7 ft)

Overall Width: 15.77 m (51.7 ft)

Engine Details

Aircraft powerplant (lift and/or propulsion)

Total number of engines: 1

Engine designation: Alvis Leonides LE5M reciprocating

Engine manufacturer: Alvis Car and Engineering Company Ltd

Take-off / rated power: 396 kW (531 hp)

Weights and Performance

Data on aircraft weight and flight characteristics

Max Gross Weight (ground): 2177 kg (4799 lb)

Max Range: 402 km (217 nm)

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