|Length 3.73 m||First flight February 2003|
The AAI SparrowHawk is an American two-seat pusher ultralight autogyro, available in kit form for amateur construction.
Design and development
AAI (American Autogyros Inc) was formed as a division of Groen Brothers Aviation (GBA) late in 2002, with the initial task of improving stability in existing autogyros. After a series of such modifications they decided to develop their own aircraft and a proof-of-concept machine first flew in February 2003. This was based around the pod of an RAF 2000 autogyro but had a different tail design. The first AAI built production prototype flew on 25 February 2004.
The SparrowHawk is a pusher configuration autogyro with an uncowled single 160 hp (120 kW) Subaru EJ25 flat-four engine mounted behind a totally enclosed glass fibre cabin. This pod, which seats two side by side, has almost triangular sides and is entered via optional large, partially glazed doors. An aluminium keel projects aft of the pod and a vertical member fixed to it carries the engine and rotor mast. The two-bladed rotor is of bonded metal construction.
The tail unit is attached by a pair of alumininium centreline booms. The upper one is mounted directly on the vertical engine/rotor mast and is cranked near midpoint to clear the propeller tips. The lower one is attached well below the keel on an extension plate. They support a deep, wide chord, finless rudder, formed from honeycomb composites material and carrying a pair of fixed horizontal stabilizers with small endplate fins. The rudder has self-centring springs. The resulting cruciform structure is centred on the propeller thrust line for dynamical stability.
The SparrowHawk has a tricycle undercarriage with three equal-size wheels mounted off the keel, supplemented by a smaller tailwheel. Steering on the ground is by rudder pedal-controlled differential braking and a steerable nosewheel.
The first kit built SparrowHawk flew in Russia on 23 September 2004. Dealerships were established in North, Central and South America, in India, East Asia and South America. 125 kits had been sold by mid-2008. By November 2009 there were 45 SparrowHawks on the US civil register. One SparrowHawk was on the European (west of Russia) registers in mid-2010. The Russian version is marketed by Aro-Avia.
In 2008 GBA announced its intention to sell off the SparrowHawk program. A press release in January 2011 announced an agreement with Guangzhou Suntrans Aviation Science and Technology Co., Ltd. to form a Cooperative Joint Venture for the manufacture of SparrowHawks in China.
Specifications (SparrowHawk II)
Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft 2010/11