Juan de la Cierva

From Academic Kids

Juan de la Cierva (September 21, 1895--December 19, 1936) was a Spanish aeronautical engineer and pilot. His most famous accomplishment was the invention of the autogyro in 1923. The autogyro was a predecessor to the modern helicopter.

He was born in Murcia, Spain, and moved to England in 1925. He was involved with the British Cierva Autogyro Company.

His craft used a tractor-mounted forward propeller and engine, a rotor mounted on a mast, and a vertical stabilizer. His first three designs -- the C.1, C.2, and C.3, constructed by Parnall -- were unstable. His fourth design, the C.4, was successful.

During the Spanish Civil War, he supported Francisco Franco's side. He died in a fixed-wing plane accident near London, England at the age of 41. Many say that if he had not died so young, he would have invented the helicopter, because his creation the autogyro is the direct predecessor of the helicopter.

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