Aircraft [Everson Gyrocopter]

Maker and role
Ron Everson, Maker
Ernest Everson, Maker
Production date
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Object detail

Accession number
Production period
Gyrocopter - Everson Brothers. Rotary wing aircraft built of tubular metal pipe. The tubular chassis is uncovered. There is a tubular centre pole with a large, free-floating rotor blade which provides the lift. Steering is from a tail-rudder (no ailerons) by angle of rotor blades, controlled by a smith bar. A single bucket seat is fitted above the middle of the chassis and over the fixed undercarriage. There is also a forward pneumatic tyre under the front of the chassis frame. The 2 centrally positioned tyres are rubber pneumatic with red rims. The power plant is a VW12 air-cooled engine which is mounted above and behind the bucket seat. The engine is fitted to a tubular frame anchored off the centre pole. The propeller is timber in a pusher configuration.
Brief History
A gyrocopter – also known as an autogyro or gyroplane – is a type of rotorcraft that uses an unpowered rotor to develop lift. Unlike a helicopter, which uses an engine to power its spinning rotor blades, a gyroplane's upper rotor blades are not powered by an engine. Instead, the engine powers a back propeller that pushes the gyrocopter forward. As the aircraft moves, air passes naturally through its rotor blades, creating lift.

The Everson Gyrocopter was built by Ron and Ernie Everson in the early 1960s. The Everson brothers and their Gyrocopter illustrate the notion of ‘kiwi ingenuity.’ The Gyrocopter was tested at Muriwai Beach, where it was tethered to a vehicle and driven at high speed. The aircraft did not receive a Certificate of Airworthiness.

The brothers were passionate about aviation for many decades. One of their first projects was a glider called Evo I. They went on to build several aircraft, including one with a single-seat twin-engined design called Evo III. This aircraft, in which the pilot’s head was inches away from the propeller tips, was initially condemned by the authorities. Nevertheless it remains the only twin-engined homebuilt aircraft made in New Zealand.

The drive and ingenuity of the Everson brothers is indicative of the pioneering spirit of many New Zealand aviators including Richard Pearse. It is a spirit that continues today.

Ron Everson donated the Gyrocopter to MOTAT in 1982.
Credit Line
Ron Everson et al. 1961-1962. Aircraft [Everson Gyrocopter], 1982.748. The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).


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