Short History


This is NOT a complete autogyro history but a short description of events leading to the formation of our company.  There are dozens of other companies involved in autogyro design and production. You can easily Google for more information using the keywords autogiro, autogyro, gyroplane, gyrocopter, rotaplane, etc.  As an example this is a link to Italian Aeromedia  page.

 

The Invention, the Autogiro

Juan de la Cierva, born on September 21, 1895, in Murcia, Spain, was an aeronautical engineer who invented the autogiro.

He was interested in flight as a teenager and experimented with gliders with his friends. After receiving his engineering degree, in 1918 he built the first trimotor airplane. Its crash in 1919 after a stall convinced him that aviation safety called for a stall-proof aircraft. He began experimenting with rotating-wing aircraft in 1920. His first attempts with rigid rotors were unsuccessful. He then applied the idea of mounting the blades to the hub of the rotor on hinges so they could flap. This would equalize lift on advancing and retreating sides of the rotor while in forward flight. His first successful flight with the autogiro took place on January 9 1923. The craft was equipped with a conventional propeller for forward flight and an articulated, or hinged, air-powered rotor.

After WW II the Bensen Gyrocopter

The helicopter would have probably completely replaced the autogyro after WW II unless Igor Bensen in the US had decided the other way. 


Igor B. Bensen was born in 1917 in Rostov, Russia. He received a mechanical engineering degree from Stevens Institute in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1940 and then went to work for General Electric. In 1944, Igor Bensen was put in charge of G.E.'s helicopter research and development. During this time Igor was exposed to the Hafner Rotochute and the Focke-Achgelis Fa330. In 1953, Igor founded the Bensen Aircraft Corporation in Raleigh, North Carolina.

By 1954, Bensen was selling plans for the B-6 Gyroglider. It looked very much like the Hafner Rotochute. It was designed using a 3/8 water pipe and plywood. Things that the individual had easy access to at their local hardware store. The next model that Bensen introduced was the B-7 Gyroglider and was constructed out of Reynolds "Do-it-yourself" aluminum. The B-7m was Bensen's first powered Gyrocopter and used a Nelson H-59 engine. The round tube frame was a little difficult for homebuilders to plug and drill accurately, so Igor designed the B-8 frames in 2 x 2 tubing. The B-8m used the McCulloch engine that was designed for military target drones. The Bensen Gyrocopter over the years became the most purchased homebuilt aircraft plans. The Bensen Aircraft Corporation was the first gyroplane manufacturer to offer their aircraft in kit form and among one of the first to do so in all forms of Sport Aviation.



Autogyro Development in Finland

Jukka Tervamäki was born in 1935 in Punkalaidun, Finland. While in high school in 1954 Jukka Tervamäki saw an article on the Bensen Gyroglider in Life-magazine and soon found a Bensen advertisement for gyrocopter kits in the Popular Mechanics magazine. This lead him to start dreaming of his own autogyro. He concentrated on his studies at Helsinki Technical University in rotary wing aircraft and eventually bought a Bensen B-7m rotor head for his first machine, the JT-1. The machine flew in 1959. Some 6 years later he had a more ambitious project underway, the ATE-3 autogyro which flew the first time in 1968. This development also included the worlds first composite rotor blades for the autogyros and an extensive study of gyro stability with a horizontal stabilizer.

Finally in 1969 he designed the JT-5 autogyro which flew in 1973 and became world famous after many stories in world experimental aviation magazines. Many people around the world were willing to build or buy the machine. 

In Finland several enthusiasts bought the JT-5 drawings. Among them was Veikko Silvennoinen and his son Juha Silvennoinen. They completed the machine in 1986 and flew it for over 500 hrs. They then sold the machine to Seppo Vihavainen and Markku Hakamäki who today are the happy owners and pilots of the OH-XRK autogyro.


In 1974 Jukka Tervamäki shifted his interest from autogyros to motorgliders and started his next project, the JT-6 motorglider. He then decided to sell his JT-5 autogyro and got many offers from various countries.  Vittorio Magni from Italy won the competition. In the purchase he also got all the tooling, moulds and composite rotorblade know how.

However, when returning to Milano with a bag full of notes/drawings etc... all he got from Jukka,  he stopped at a service station for a quick coffee and the bag and his luggage were stolen . Afterwards he had to base all on his memory and on what Jukka was able to send as copies.



Vittorio Magni starts autogyro production in Italy

Born near Milan in 1938, Vittorio Magni started gaining technical knowledge in 1956 at Agusta Spa working in the transmission, engine and airframe departments.
In 1962 he was recruited as a specialist in the Helicopter Division of Montedison, acquiring experience in crop spraying and aerial disinfestations.
In 1964, together with another pilot, he established Elitaliana, a company for aerial work specializing in crop spraying.
In 1967, thanks to his wide rotorcraft experience, Magni collaborated with Silvercraft Spa (a brand new company created to build a new light helicopter). At Silvercraft, he was appointed Flight Line Leader and obtained a helicopter pilot’s license.
In 1977 he created VPM, later renamed Magni Gyro, including a department manufacturing composite parts, in order to satisfy the increasing demand from several aeronautical companies (Agusta Spa; Aerea Spa, etc.).
In 1967 he had imported the plans of a Bensen gyroplane from the U.S.A. This must have been the first gyro flying in Italy.

After that first machine, Vittorio has developed a complete range of one- and two-seat gyros.

After its first years in Cavaria, the Magni Gyro underwent its first expansion in 2000, when it moved to a 900 sqm building in Besnate, a small town in the Varese district. Beginning from January the 1st 2008 the company underwent a new and important expansion. The new 2000 sqm building, also set in Besnate, allows to produce 6 gyroplanes per month, an annual production of approx 60-70 units.
In the Magni Gyro Vittorio has also developed production methods and quality to a very high level. Magni rotors have evolved to be the smoothest rotors available in the industry. The gyros have been tested to strict British standards and requirements.

The Magni Gyro Nordic OY Ltd is born.

Now we have all the pieces together to form a new company:


  1. 1)An excellent product, the Magni M24 Orion is a two seat autogyro which, by being fully enclosed, is suitable for northern conditions.


2) A staff which is the most experienced in Finland in building and flying autogyros. The staff also includes three of the first qualified autogyro flight instructors in Finland.