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)

Layout and Dimensions

Data on aircraft size

Overall Dimensions
Overall Height: 3.09 m 10.1 ft
Overall Length: 15.77 m 51.7 ft
Overall Width: 15.77 m 51.7 ft
Airframe Dimensions
Airframe Length: 7.62 m 25.0 ft
Airframe Width: 5.39 m 17.7 ft
Airframe Height: 3.09 m 10.1 ft
Landing Gear Dimensions
Landing Gear Base: 2.67 m 8.8 ft
Landing Gear Track: 3.05 m 10.0 ft
Cabin Dimensions
Cabin Internal Height:  
Cabin Internal Length:  
Cabin Internal Width:  

Weights and Performance

Data on aircraft weight and flight characteristics

Max level flight speed and Range are estimates

Max Gross Weight (ground): 2,177 kg 4,799 lb
Max Gross Weight (airborne):  
Max Take-off Weight: 2,177 kg 4,799 lb
Empty Weight: 1,633 kg 3,600 lb
Useful Load: 544 kg 1,199 lb
Empty Weight Fraction: 0.750
Climb Performance
Max Rate of Climb: 396 m/s 77,992 fpm
Hover Performance
Hover Ceiling IGE:  
Hover Ceiling OGE:  
Max Level Flight Speed: 225 km/h 121 kts
Never Exceed Speed:  
Service Ceiling: 3,002 m 9,850 ft
Range and Endurance
Max Range: 402 km 217 nm
Max Endurance:  

Engine Details

Aircraft powerplant (lift and/or propulsion)

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

Number of engines: 1
Designation: Alvis Leonides LE5M reciprocating
Manufacturer: Alvis Car and Engineering Company Ltd
Normal Ratings
Max continuous:  
Take-off / rated: 396 kW 531 hp
OEI Ratings
OEI contingency:  
OEI continuous:  
OEI 30-second:  
OEI intermediate:  

Primary Lift Device

Data on primary lift devices such as main rotors

Constant chord blade Airfoil sections: NACA 23022 inboard, NACA 23015 outboard Blade consrtuction: Spruce, birch-faced, plywood-sandwich ribs, 1/15" 3-ply birch skin

Main Rotor Characteristics
Diameter: 15.77 m 51.73 ft
Direction of Rotation: Counterclockwise
Hub Type: Automated collective pitch through pitch-lag coupling and cyclic pitch effected by rotor head tilt (rotor head acting as the swashplate)
Main Rotor Blade Characteristics
Blade Construction: Wooden blades with steel, hollow spar
Blade Chord:  
Blade Tip Geometry: Conventional
Blade Twist:  
Number of Blades: 3
Main Rotor Derived Characteristics
Disc Area: 195.27 m² 2102.0 ft²
Disc Loading: 11.15 kg/m² 2.283 lb/ft²
Main Rotor Blade Derived Characteristics
Blade area per blade:  
Tip Speed:  

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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