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1941 Pitcairn PA-39 Autogiro - N3908

The autogiro has some characteristics similar to an airplane, and some similar to a helicopter. Like an airplane, a propeller provides thrust to pull the plane through the air. Like a helicopter, a rotor spins to provide lift. Unlike a helicopter, the rotor blades are not powered, they simply auto-rotate as the aircraft moves through the air. Compared to airplanes, autogiros can take off and land in extremely short distances. The PA-39 was developed to serve as an observation aircraft protecting shipping convoys from submarines. Only seven PA-39s were built for the British Air Ministry, and N3908 is the only remaining example. The others were sunk being shipped to Britain or lost in training and test flight accidents.

Donated by: Stephen Pitcairn, Bryn Athyn, PA


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