VSKYLABS Autogyro Project

The VSKYLABS Autogyro Project: 'Cricket'
Current Version: XP11 / 10.51 - 003.3

Update Log:
  • MAJOR Update release (22nd Feb 2017):
    • Additional model for X-Plane 11 is included.
    • Current version is 003.3
    • Ground handling fix handling for the X-Plane 10.51 version.
    • Important note: Creating authentic autogyro simulation of a lightweight physical body in the advanced simulation environment of X-Plane 11 is quite challenging. The Autogyro version for X-Plane 11 is still under flight-handling assessment process, and further updates to the flight model should be expected within the next few weeks.
  • MAJOR Update release (20th December 2016):
    • This update is for X-Plane 10.51, and it is a part of the preparations for upgrading to X-Plane 11. 
    • Autogyros models cannot be flown in the current X-Plane 11 beta version due to a known bug. This bug was reported and should be fixed in one of the next Beta releases of X-Plane 11. 
    • Current version is: 10.51-003.2
    • Update information: 
      • 3D model engineering update and refurbish (including fuselage, cockpit, textures, object structure arrangements for the future XP11 upgrade (plus added a minor fix to the rotor blades 3D model).
      • Flight model refinements: rotor tip weights adjusted and the autogyro is now preset with automatic trim to pitch loads, therefore letting the pilot fly more intuitively with a joystick: once a nose-attitude is set and hold for a few seconds, the autogyro will reduce pitch moments and eliminate the need for manual pitch-trim.
      • Cockpit update.
      • Systems updates: new X-Plane GPS 530.

So, I've decided to build an Autogyro in X-Plane...and I fell in love!
Although I new a lot about these flying machines, I never thought it will be so amazing flying it, controlling it, skim along the terrain for sightseeing and landing it. This flying machine provides the most fun, thrill and challenge you can squeeze from X-Plane. 

The VSKYLABS Autogyro project is definitely going to be a multi-aircraft project, with several types of Gyroplanes.

The First Autogyro to introduce in the project is a lightweight Autogyro, which is in general based on the Bensen B-8 Autogyro (as well as Nasa's X-25A Autogyro). Tail section design was modified, making the Autogyro longer, and with a Tail-wheel underneath the extended boom.


What is an Autogyro?
An autogyro features a free-spinning rotor that turns because of passage of air through it.  The downward component of the airflow through the rotor gives lift for the vehicle, and sustains the autogyro in the air. A separate propulsion unit (usually propeller driven) provides forward thrust, and can be placed in a tractor configuration with the engine and propeller at the front of the fuselage, or pusher configuration with the engine and propeller at the rear of the fuselage.

Controls of an Autogyro:
There are three primary flight controls:
  • Control stick.
  • Rudder pedals.
  • Throttle.
Typically, the control stick tilts the rotor in both axes to provide pitch and roll control, but there are Autogyros which do not tilt the rotor at all, or only doing that one dimension, Such Autogyros have conventional control surfaces. Rudder pedals provide yaw control, and the throttle controls engine power for forward thrust.

Most autogyros features a system called "pre-rotate", which when engaged drives the top rotor to start spinning before takeoff. 

Autogyros usually doesn't features Collective pitch controls, but it can be found on some Autogyro aircraft. Unlike a helicopter, common Autogyros need a runway to take off; however, they are capable of landing with a very short or zero ground roll. 

Controlling an Autogyro:

  • Pulling back on the stick tilts the rotor back, increasing lift and decreasing forward airspeed.
  • Pushing forward on the stick decreases lift and increases airspeed. 
  • The rudder pedals move the rudder on the vertical stabilizer and also control the nose gear, making it possible to steer the Autogyro on the ground, while taxiing...
  • Throttle for the engine, as in any conventional, fixed wing aircraft.

Takeoff procedure:
To take off the rotor must be pre-rotated to produce enough lift and stability during the takeoff run. Trying to lift of an Autogyro with its rotor not rotating fast enough will usually end up in a crash, or a very long runway. In small Autogyros, pre-rotation is usually done by using a small electric driven engine, but there are other methods as well (even rotation by hand). Once the rotor is up to speed, the pre-rotator must be disengaged and the Autogyro is ready for brake release and takeoff run, to be lifted by autorotation of the rotor.

Landing procedure:
When power is reduced, the forward speed decreases and the Autogyro goes into a steady descent path. The lifting force is not enough to maintain altitude, but even when the engine at Idle or even stopped, The Autogyro will descend and land safely (this aspect is an advantage over the helicopter. The helicopter's pitch angle of the rotors is ~11 degrees, and without power, Drag will quickly get them stopped, or slowed down, unless the pilot quickly reduces the pitch angle the rotor blades so that the rotor autorotates).

X-Plane Flying Instructions:

Recommended Field-Of-View setting is 65-95 Degrees:
The Autogyro is a very intuitive flying machine, with minimal cockpit. Mostly recommended is to set the Field of view to 65-95 degrees, and "feel" the Autogyro motion as you fly, especially in low-level, sight seeing flights. The actual pilot POV was set to be slightly lower to make it comfortable to see the panel while flying. NOTE: You can toggle the Field-Of-View by pressing the Smartphone screen!

Before Takeoff:
  1. Taxi slowly to the Take-off spot.
  2. Apply Brakes.
  3. Pre-rotate switch to "ON".
  4. Wait for the Rotor to rotate and stabilize. Usually it takes 10-15 seconds.
  5. You can "help" the main Rotor to reach the needed rotation speed by gently advancing the throttle to ~30%.
  6. When the RPM of the main rotor (Yellow needle in the RPM gauge) reaches ~160 RPM, it is safe to proceed to the Takeoff procedure down bellow.
  7. CAUTION: Do not throttle up the engine while Pre-rotate switch is "ON". Torque moments might cause the Autogyro to crash while on the ground. 
Pre-Rotate is NOT engaged

Pre-Rotate is engaged and rotor RPM is ~160


  1. Pre-rotate switch to "OFF". Do not wait too much after switching it to off so it won't slow down too much.
  2. Release the Brakes and apply full power for Takeoff.
  3. Pull the stick as you start running and gently keep the Takeoff run straight using the Rudder (it is very effective so be gentle).
  4. Expect liftoff at ~20-30 knots.
  5. As the Autogyro is airborne, push the stick forward and let the Autogyro to gain airspeed before starting a climb or other maneuvers. 
  1. Pretty much like a conventional fixed-wing aircraft.
  2. Use rudder for coordinated turns.
  3. Use rudder for tight maneuvers.
  4. If you fly slow - make sure you gain speed before attempting to do "something stupid" ;)
  5. Flight envelope: 45 knots is a good airspeed for cruise.
  1. Fly the Autogyro to the desired landing area.
  2. Enter a final leg, maintain reasonable airspeed and sink rate (not below 20 knots and not above 40). Final approaches may be steep enough to overcome obstacles.
  3. Just as you a low enough (20 feet or so), pull the stick gently for slowing down. Judge for zero airspeed just before touching down. This "exercise" requires some practice, but it is very easy and controllable situation.



  1. Bought this one and I really want to recommend it. An autogyro is quite another experience and this model simulates that rather well. Very fun to fly once you master it.

    1. Thanks!
      This package is going to have another update during the next couple of weeks. It will include an additional model for X-Plane 11.

      Thanks again :)

      I think, this ultralight helicopter will be very interesting...

  2. Sorry I can't load link and picture in the post...


  4. Hi, this is an amazing little gyro and very fun to fly! Thanks a lot! I tested the latest version 003.3 on X-Plane 11. I'm missing one thing in the flight model: Every gyro "doesn't like" negative g-forces. If you are in a climb for example and push the stick hard forward, the rotor rpm will drop dramatically and causes a very dangerous situation. Maybe you could have a look at it in your next update of this model.
    If you're planing creating your next autogyro model please have a look at the Cavalon (side-by-side) from the german manufacturer "Auto-Gyro":
    Thanks a lot and best regards from Germany!

    1. Hi!
      Thanks for the great feedback :)

      I got your note regarding the negative g-force rotor rpm characteristics. X-Plane flight dynamics model deals fairly with the raise in rpm in a positive g, but it seems that in the lightweight autogyro, the reduction in the rotor's rpm in a negative g is quite low. I will investigate this behavior with heavier autogyro settings (including the variables of the main rotor), to see if I can induce this behavior when pushing the stick aggressively.

      one of the principles in my projects is that I'm not using any external plugins to enhance the flight dynamics model as it is "out of the box" in X-Plane. I hope that I will find a way to get this particular aspect of the autogyro's flight envelope covered more precise.

      The Cavalon is a great candidate for future autogyro project. I wrote it down as a special request ;)

      Thanks again for your feedback!

    2. Hi again. Thanks for pointing that out. I recently sent a report to Laminar to take a look at their flight model for gyrocopters regarding negative g-forces. I don't know if I was the first one reporting that, but I thought that it's important to mention this issue.

      But now I have another issue: The Cricket autogyro worked very well so far, but now since I'm using XP11 rc1 obviously full throttle doesn't work any more. The engine cannot achieve full throttle, thus I cannot take off. Other models work well (for example the ELA-07S autogyro), so my joystick is calibrated well. Could you please have a look at it? Do you have the same issue with XP11 rc1? Thanks a lot!

      Best regards!

      PS: I'm very looking forward if you will create the Cavalon for X-Plane anytime in the future... :-)

    3. Hi!

      The Cricket is flying great in X-Plane 11 RC1 (I've just completed a test flight). I'm experiencing only a slightly over-sensitive rudder control, but it is "non issue" and will be tuned, as the Cricket is on a (short) waiting list for it's next update.

      So... check your hardware/software settings, and also that you are using the most updated version of the Cricket for X-Plane 11 (version v003.3).

      If you are still having problems with it, let me know!

      Thanks :)


  5. Simple amazing! Just one question, i'm using X-Plane 11 and the Gyrocopter keep sliding sideway even with weather CAVOC and engine off. Can you help solve this little problem?
    Thanks in advance

    Marcelo Fontenele

    1. Today I bought this autogyro and I have the same problem. The engine is off, but the autogyro is sliding sideway, rotating around his axis, it's shaking and the wheels are squeaking. After 5 minutes the tires burst and the rotor is rotating with about 1000 RPM, although the engine is off. Rolling on the runway and driving curves is very difficult.

      I have X-Plane 11.00, fresh installed.

    2. Hello "unknown" person ( :-) ),

      Indeed, i think the developer have some card hidden on the sleeve and will resolve this. Thanks to you for your reply. By the way, my X-Plane 11 is fresh installed too and with little plugins along, almost default. That's it.

      Marcelo Fontenele

    3. Hi 'Unknown' and Marcelo!
      In X-Plane (since it was created), when flying a very light and small aircraft, there is the "shaking" phenomena, especially when your PC is having difficulties to handle X-Plane in high rendering settings.

      The solution is built inside X-Plane: go to settings 'Genera' tab. You will notice a 'FLIGHT MODEL' section with 'Flight models per frame' bar. When you experience a "shaky" aircraft, try to move the white circle on the bar to the right, to set a higher rate (from 1 to, lets say 6 or higher). Play with it and find the right place for your system. It will solve the shaky thing.

      Now, in addition...the Gyro plane is indeed stretching X-Plane's flight dynamics model envelope by being a very small and light aircraft, and at the same time having a decent motor and main rotor (especially when the pre-rotate clutch is aligned) it is really a "spring loaded" sometimes it is difficult to hold it steady with the pre-rotation clutch aligned. Small "heading skidding" may be also be related to how X-Plane is calculating tire traction and friction in a "skid" state. This is an issue that I will have to address to X-Plane's developers (it is also affecting cross-wind handling on larger airplanes).

      Thank you for your feedback :)


    4. Hello there!

      Perfect tip, i set the slide to 5 and the gyrocopter is firmly on the ground now. In time, i'll buy most of your products for sure. Another little question, is there a way to replace the GPS device for another around X-Plane community?

      Marcelo Fontenele

    5. Hi :)
      Do you mean like replacing the GPS 530 with other type of GPS?

  6. Hello,

    Yes, but just a simple question, i think the way it is fine, just for curiosity.

    Marcelo Fontenele

  7. Just bought this model, but for some reason when I switch on the blades the whole craft spins in circles, also I can't steer/taxi for some reason.

    1. Hi:) When switching the blades (pre rotate) you should be very gentle with the throttle, and let the main rotor to gain its speed slowly (you can help it by increasing *gently* the throttle). Taxiing with the pre-rotate in "on" position is not possible, so for taxi, make sure it is switched off. The Autogyro is very lightweight and challenges X-Plane flight dynamics model (including landing gears traction simulation) while on the ground, so you have to operate it very gentle. I also recommend to set up the 'Flight models per frame' to at least 3 or 4 (it's the horizontal bar in the General setting window).

  8. are updates coming anytime soon?

    1. Hi :) Yes. It is currently still under work.

  9. My first flight in a Cavalon is on Sunday - I can send some photos for inspiration!!!

    1. Good luck! Please do! :)

    2. Hi JetManHuss,

      I think a lot of light weight rotorcraft enthusiasts would be very thankful if you could continue your autogyro project in creating a modern side-by-side gyroplane, like the "Cavalon" by the german manufacturer Auto-Gyro, as Montgomery Cross mentioned before.
      I could offer you my assistance in graphical work (for free), if you need any help. I don't know how to work with PlaneMaker or Blender, but I do know how to work with Adobe Photoshop or Indesign and so on, because this is my main profession.

      A few months ago I did a complete redraw of the textures and cockpit elements of the ELA-07 model for X-Plane. I did this for myself and never published it. In the old version the text elements in the cockpit were barely to read in VR, the wind shield glass looked like sh*t and so on, that's why I redrawed the cockpit, scaled and redrawed the outer textures and brought everything to 4K.

      Because I am german and Auto-Gyro is a german manufacturer I could help you in doing researches about the Cavalon or doing translations. Here is the pilot operating handbook for the Cavalon for example:

      As already mentioned it would be great to have a modern side-by-side gyroplane in X-Plane... I you are capable of doing thins and getting things right! ;-)

      Best regards!

  10. Please also consider the Calidus and MTO Sport by AutoGyro, as well as some comparable models by Magni and other manufacturers.