Surmanowicz ornithopter-gyroplane


Surmanowicz’ human-powered aircraft was a single-seat rotorcraft with three-bladed rotor, the blades having NACA-0012 (modified) profile. The tail boom ended with a horizontal and a vertical stabilizers. The landing gear was arranged in tricycle (initially – 2-wheels), comprising a forward bicycle-type wheel and two small side wheels at the back. A specially designed swashplate made the craft self-controllable. The rotor was propelled by a chain drive transmitting the rotary motion of a foot crank to the rotor mast. The rotor had an area of 20 m2 (215 sq ft) and the maximum loading of 4.5 kg/m3. Steering was possible by turning handles and thus winding up/releasing control cables connected to the swashplate. The power needed for a take-off was calculated as 0.3 to 0.5 hp. Materials used: steel alloys, duralumin, balsa, pine and birch wood.

The aircraft took 3 years to complete with a significant input of work and money. First trials took place in October 1974 and then in the summer next year. According to the constructor the tests were successful, the aircraft having made several jumps. Mikołaj Surmanowicz died in 1975 hence no further trials were made. In 2005 the Surmanowicz family donated the aircraft to the Polish Aviation Museum in Kraków.