2019 VFS History Calendar

The VFS History Committee is proud to present the 2019 VTOL History Calendar, sponsored by Airbus. Each month is provided here with more information about each of the featured photos. We hope you enjoy the calendar!

The Calendar was mailed to all Vertical Flight Society members with the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of Vertiflite. Members can also download a complimentary pdf of the whole calendar by logging into the VFS Online Store.

Check out the historical descriptions in past VFS VTOL History Calendars as well: 

2020 History Calendar | 2018 History Calendar | 2017 History Calendar | 2016 History Calendar | 2015 History Calendar | 2014 History Calendar | 2013 History Calendar | 2012 History Calendar


Breguet-Dorand Gyroplane Laboratoire

First Flight: June 26, 1935

The Gyroplane Laboratoire was an early French prototype helicopter. Its designer, Louis Breguet, announced in 1929 a set of patents that addressed the flight stabilization of rotorcraft, and, in 1931, Breguet created the Syndicat d'Etudes de Gyroplane (French for "Syndicate for Gyroplane Studies"), together with Rene Dorand as technical director. Their goal was the development of this experimental helicopter, the Gyroplane Laboratoire.

The aircraft consisted of an open steel tube framework, containing the engine, fuel tank, controls and pilot, and a plywood tail assembly. The tailwheel landing gear was installed with the main wheels on outriggers and with an additional small wheel at the front to avoid nosing-over during landing.

Power was provided by a 240 hp (180 kW) Hispano radial engine propelling the two contra-rotating, coaxial rotors. No anti-torque tail rotor was needed because with the rotors turning in opposite directions, the torque from one rotor was canceled out by the torque produced by the other rotor. The two twin-bladed metal rotors of 52 ft (15.9 m) diameter incorporated both cyclic and collective pitch blade control, which allowed control about the pitch and roll axis as well as climb and descent flight regimes.

The aircraft was completed in 1933. Gross weight was about 4,300 lb (1,950 kg). After a few ground tests and an accident, the first flight took place on June 26, 1935. Shortly thereafter, the test pilot, Maurice Claisse set many records, including a max speed of 65 kt (120 km/h).

Breguet and Dorand continued to conduct further experiments to improve the design until the aircraft experienced a hard landing in June 1939. Development was abandoned with the outbreak of World War II. The sole prototype was destroyed in 1943 during an Allied air attack on the airfield at Villacoublay.

Photo: via Ray Watkins, 1000aircraftphotos.com
Text: Peter Noell

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2019 History Calendar Index