Back Hafner "Rotachute"

Hafner Rotachute Mk.3

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

Stephen Holup, e-mail, 03.09.2023reply

Hi Mal,

I would love to obtain a copy of the complete set of drawings... that is if they are for sale???

Please advise,
Stephen - USA -

C MacKay, e-mail, 20.04.2017reply

The blades for this miniature autogiro were made by the Morris Company of Glasgow. They also made the blades for Hafner's flying Jeep. The deign of the Rotachute went to America. You can find all about it in Shavings for Breakfast and the history of the British helicopter, the sycamore seeds. Both profusely illustrated. One version of the Rotachute had an inflatable fuselage

kalouguine, e-mail, 14.10.2010reply

Hi "Mal Gilmore"
Delighted that you have the drawing can you please contact me .Kalouguine

robin bird, e-mail, 30.12.2010reply

Mal I would be interested in seeing your Flying Jeep and
Fa330 material. My late father was the AFEE photographer for these trials.

Parkertwo, e-mail, 27.06.2011reply

Hi Mal Gilmore, I also would like you to contact meabout the rotachute and rotajeep plans, flight test data anything you may happen to have sir. Thank you Paul Kasper USA

giroconcept, 29.08.2011reply

Rotachute and FA 330 are beautiful , but i can't build these autogiro kite in small dimension , there don ' t a good fly , it's so hard .Since 1999 , I buid some autogiro kite with 3 , 4 and 5 blades.
You can see my videos on Youtube :giroconcept

Joe Faust, e-mail, 08.12.2011reply

Hafner seems to have employedthe hung-pilot-pod tensionsionally while havig a small triangle control airfram part that via weight-shift by pressing the part would control pitch of the rotor in his gyroplane. Later Bensen would use similar. The mechanics for such control of wing via an airframe part by hung pilot was in 1910 in FLIGHT magazine and also in 1908 in Breslau in a gliding club where a hang glider used a cable-stayed airframe triangle control frame (two queenposts based with a basebar) for controlling the pitch and roll of wing.

Mal Gilmore, e-mail, 24.05.2010reply


I have a complete set of original drawings for the construction of the Rotachute and the off set delta hinge and 3 set of blades drawings along with flight testing data and construction plans for the 43 ft Jeep rotor and head design.Some are marked Secret. I also have the drawings and flight reports for the Fock Achgelis Fa330

Al Mellor, e-mail, 11.11.2009reply

There are one or two original Rotachute drawings held by the Museum of Army Flying at Middle Wallop, Hampshire England

kalouguine, e-mail, 09.03.2009reply

I am looking for rotachute blue print and drawing whit intention to reproduce one for studyed do you have any idea where i have to look for
many thanks

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