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Juan de la Cierva

Born 21 Sep 1895; died 19 Dec 1936 at age 41.Juan de la Cierva (Codorniu) was a Spanish aeronautical engineer who invented the autogiro (1923), a predecessor to the helicopter. Its rotor, mounted on a mast, was not powered but provided lift by auto-rotation. Power was provided by a forward-mounted engine and a conventional propeller. Flight was controlled by elevators, a rudder, and usually ailerons, though some roll control could be achieved by adjusting the tilt of the rotor head. Unlike the later helicopters, it could not take off vertically nor hover though it could takeoff and land in a much shorter distance, it could. However, if an autogiro lost power, it could spin safely back down to earth like a maple seed. He died in a fixed-wing plane accident.«

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