Argon GTL 915 iS could be the gyroplane you didn't know you wanted
Although gyroplanes (aka gyrocopters) were once bare-bones open-cockpit contraptions, we're seeing an increasing number of more deluxe, fully enclosed, higher-performance models. The Argon GTL 915 iS is one of the latest – and certainly one of the sharpest-looking – to hit the market.
First of all, just what is a gyroplane? Well, it's a small aircraft that has a powered propeller in the rear, along with a non-powered set of rotor blades on top.
As the prop pushes the plane forward, air passes through the rotor blades, causing them to spin and produce lift. It's sort of like a cross between a helicopter and a fixed-wing airplane.
Among the selling points of gyroplanes are the facts that they're relatively easy to pilot, they can take off and land on very short runways, they remain stable even when flying at low speeds, and because they're small and essentially wingless, they take up little storage space.
Built by Polish aviation firm Manufaktura Lotnicza, the 2-seater Argon GTL 915 iS features a carbon fiber/Kevlar composite hull, a 141-hp Rotax engine, a practical ceiling (maximum altitude) of 23,000 ft (7,010 m), and a cruising speed of 180 km/h (112 mph). It runs on either regular or aviation gasoline, 120 liters (32 gal) of which is stored in two integrated 60-l fuel tanks.
External tanks can be added as a range-boosting optional extra. A company representative tells us that the aircraft burns gas at a rate of 18 to 25 liters per hour, depending on how much weight it's carrying ... so, it could conceivably fly for up to six hours on one fill.
Speaking of weight, the Argon reportedly tips the scales at 305 kg (672 lb), and can heft up to 295 kg (650 lb) in passengers/cargo. Its luggage compartment is claimed to be large enough to accommodate items such as golf clubs, skis, foldable bikes or full-size suitcases.
The Argon GTL 915 iS is available by individual order, via the company website. We're told that depending on configuration, buyers should expect to pay between 140,000 and 180,000 euros (about US$148,557 to $191,000).
It can be seen in action, in the video below.
Source: Manufaktura Lotnicza