The aircraft was the first British compound, or hybrid, helicopter. It should be noted that 'FB-1' was the early designation  of the aircraft (it stood for 'Fairey-Bennett One', after the name of the chief designer, Dr. J.A.J. Bennett) before it was renamed as the Gyrodyne ('gyratory aerodyne'). It was a private venture development by the Fairey company to develop a hover capable rotorcraft that was efficient in forward flight. The underlying design principle was to combine the anti-torque device with a forward thrust producing propeller.

The aircraft was configured for 4/5 seats and 2 pilots. The combined anti-torque control/forward propulsion propeller (2 blades/7ft in diameter) was mounted on the starboard wing (note: the combined function of the propeller is why the number of control devices is set to zero - see the Glossary for further explanation). The aircraft also embodied some novel control simplifications with no direct collective pitch contol. Collective pitch changed automatically, related to the power being applied (effected automatically by pitch/lag coupling). The swashplate for cyclic pitch was also eliminated. This was achieved by tilting the rotor head. Stick shake was also removed by using irreversible hydraulic jacks to tilt the rotor head.

The first protoype (G-AIKF) was destroyed in an accident on 17 April 1949 at Ufton Nervet in Berkshire, UK, killing Chief Test Pilot F.H. Dixon and his observer D. Galloway. The second prototype (G-AJJP) was subsequently modified to become the Jet Gyrodyne.

A detailed description of the aircraft (including technical drawings) can be found in the following reference,

Source: "Fairey Gyrodyne | Design Survey of the World's Fastest Helicopter", FLIGHT Staff, FLIGHT, 21 April 1949, pages 453-459

See also (for further background information),

Source: "The Gyrodyne", FLIGHT Staff, FLIGHT, July 15th 1948, pages 78-79 (and subsequent)


Data on design, manufacture and status

Design authority: The Fairey Company Ltd

Primary manufacturer: The Fairey Company Ltd

Parent type: Fairey Gyrodyne

Aircraft status: No longer flying


Primary flight and mechanical characteristics

VTOL type: Compound Helicopter

Compound type: Thrust compounded with 1 propulsors

Lift devices: 1 Single main rotor

Crew required: 1-2 in Side-by-side arrangement

Landing gear: Wheels (non-retractable)

Key Characteristics

Data on key physical features

Aircraft Details

Data on aircraft configuration, weights, flight performance and equipment


References and sources used

Afternoon Session | The Constructors Approach to the Problem | The Fairey Gyrodyne
Dr. J.A.J Bennett
The Journal of the Helicopter Association of Great Britain, TBA (page 25)
Detailed review of the design of the aircraft

Fairey Gyrodyne | Design Survey of the World's Fastest Helicopter
Flightglobal Archive, 21 April 1949 (page 456)
Comprehensive description of the design and development of the aircraft with detailed sketches and drawings

The Gyrodyne - A Forgotten High Performer?
S.S. Houston
Journal of the American Helicopter Society, October 2007 (page 382)
Performance and stability analysis of the aircraft

Related VFS Resources

Resources related to the Gyrodyne (FB-1), provided by the Vertical Flight Society.
Forum Proceedings
Vertiflite articles
Enter a search term in the box above.
Web files from
Enter a search term in the box above.
Webpages from
Enter a search term in the box above.
Images from the VFS Gallery
Enter a search term in the box above.

Related Public Resources

Resources related to the Gyrodyne (FB-1), provided by public sources across the internet.