RUSK COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Fifty years ago a lot of people thought that by now we would all be driving around in flying cars. Well, that hasn't happened yet, but there is an aircraft that kind of resembles something from the old Jetsons cartoon, and one recently made a stop at the Rusk County Airport.
John Nagle is out of Austin Texas, but he seems to be out of the clear blue as an Autogyro pilot.
"It's my favorite type of aircraft. I've been flying for about 30 years. I fly airplanes, helicopters and gyrocopters, and without a question the gyrocopter is the most fun flying that there is," Nagle said.
And he just had to show me exactly how much fun.
They don't take off like a chopper:
"But the take-off distance is much shorter than an airplane," Nagle stated.
He doesn't sell autogyros, but he'll help get them to the new owner when they call him and tell him:
"I want to move this aircraft to this location and they pay my expenses and pay for the fuel and I'm happy to do it," Nagle revealed.
And he gets to fly a crazy amount of autogyros.
"I've flown them literally from coast to coast. Some open cockpit, some closed cockpit. I've flown ten thousand feet over the Rockies, and five feet over the desert and all points in between. It's just the greatest aviation adventure there is period," Nagle declared.
It's highly maneuverable and can fly very slowly. It looks like a helicopter but a helicopter's motor spins its blades. The wind turns an autogyros. The aircraft is pushed forward by an engine driving a propeller in the back.
"And if the engine fails you just drift down and you just land," Nagle said.
"So the blade is the lifting surface?" I commented.
"The blade is the lifting surface," Nagle agreed.
Then he showed me by cutting off the rear propeller. It was a little unnerving, but very quiet as we drifted to the runway.
"We call it a flying motorcycle because that's kind of the feeling you get when you're flying it," Nagle stated.
"Everyone should have one, I think, and they should ask me to deliver them for them," Nagle laughed.
And with that, the gyro-naut was gone heading for another auto-rotation adventure.
So would I fly in one again? Sure if it was brand new like that one.
Nagle says Texas is become a hub for autogyros in the U.S. and there are many instructors in the state. The license is similar to a regular pilot's license.
Nagle has a Facebook page, if you'd like to check it out, click here.