Hafner "Rotachute"


This autogyro glider, development work on which was done during World War II by Raoul Hafner and the staff of the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment at Beaulieu in Hampshire, was intended to land a paratrooper armed with a Bren gun after being dropped with the rotachute from a large transport aircraft designed for the purpose.

A change of policy in 1943 brought the development work to an end.

This autogyro glider consisted of a soldered steel tube framework, carrying the rotor and having its rear part covered with rubberized fabric in which there were two small vertical shutters.

The rotor had two wooden blades articulating on the hub by means of steel hinges. The hub was attached to a small upright com-ponent by a rubber block acting as a universal joint, so that some vertical displacement could occur but vibrations were not transmitted to the main structure.

The rotor controls operated in the opposite way from those on an aircraft. To raise the nose, the control column was pushed forward; to bank to the right, the column was moved to the left.

The undercarriage originally consisted of two main wheels joined by an axle and placed almost directly below the rotor. Following towing tests behind a car, changes were made and in the Mark 2 a skid was added. Further tests resulted in the Mark 3, a version of greater length and with a rigid tail. This final prototype was exten-sively towed by a Tiger Moth and on several occasions released from a height of more than 1100m.

This rotachute may be compared with the German Focke Achgelis Fa 330.

P.Lambermont "Helicopters and Autogyros of the World", 1958

Hafner Rotachute Mk.3

Technical data for "Rotachute"

Number of seats: 1, rotor diameter: 4.57m, height: 2.08m, weight fully loaded: 134kg, empty weight: 34kg, cruising speed: 136km/h