Avro Rota (Cierva C.30A)

The Avro Rota was the name given to twelve Cierva C.30A autogiros built under licence for the RAF by Avro during 1934-35. The autogiro was designed to be almost impossible to stall. If the machine was travelling too slowly to generate enough lift, it gently lost altitude. Unpowered landings were far safer than in normal aircraft (or most helicopters). The Cierva C.30A was a significant improvement in autogyro design. In earlier examples the rotor was completely unpowered, and

Avro Rota autogiro
Avro Rota autogiro
some way had to be found to bring it up to speed – often by using ropes to start it moving. On the C.30A the engine could be connected to the rotor at take-off, to start it rotating (but not to provide direct lift as in a helicopter).

The RAF had originally been interested in the Rota for army co-operation. An order ten was placed in 1934 (later increased to twelve), and the aircraft were delivered between August 1934 and May 1935. They were not used in their intended role, but the very low minimum speed of the autogiro made it ideal for calibrating coastal radar. The Rota was used for that job by No.81 Squadron in 1939-40, then by No.1448 Flight (which later became No.529 Squadron).

Engine: Armstrong Siddeley Genet Major IA
Power: 140hp
Rotor diameter: 37ft
Length: 19ft 8.5in
All-up weight: 1,800lb
Maximum speed: 110mph
Cruise speed: 95mph
Range: 285 miles

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (26 October 2008), Avro Rota (Cierva C.30A) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_avro_rota.html

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