First Flight Of SparrowHawk Gyroplane

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Groen Brothers Aviation (GBA), of Salt Lake City, Utah, announced yesterday that its SparrowHawk Gyroplane has made its first flight. GBA said the enclosed, centerline-thrust, two-place kit-built gyroplane is dynamically and statically stable, making it safe and easy to fly. Jim Mayfield, GBA's chief test pilot and principal designer, said, "During the first flight, basic handling qualities were quantified and found to be within predicted limits. ... The centerline-thrust design, incorporating a generous horizontal stabilizer, ensures stability and increases safety. I believe that most pilots will find the SparrowHawk fun and easy to fly." Depending on the final rule definitions, the FAA's upcoming Light-Sport Aircraft category may allow the SparrowHawk, as a completed aircraft and/or a kit-built with minimum assembly requirements, to qualify as a Light-Sport Aircraft. The SparrowHawk is also being offered as a fully assembled aircraft designed specifically for aerial observation. The aircraft will be marketed and sold by American Autogyro Inc. (AAI), a subsidiary of GBA. "Based upon GBA's years of experience in aircraft structures and flight stability and control, and the several months and hundreds of fleet hours of flight time of AAI stabilization-modified aircraft, we are comfortable predicting that 'There will be no safer kit-built aircraft,'" said Mayfield, who is also president of AAI. AAI plans to fly the SparrowHawk at the upcoming Popular Rotorcraft Association Bensen Days fly-in and the EAA Sun 'n Fun fly-in, both held during April near Lakeland, Fla.