The Bensen B-8M Gyrocopter
1957: The Bensen Aircraft Corperation has been the largest manufacturer of light gyroplanes since the early fifties. The B-8M was designed and tested from the earlier B-7M. The modifcations worked out from the -7 project included a higher horsepower engine from 42hp to 72hp in a McColloch 2 stroke. The B-8M set many world records and was brought into the collection of the Smithsonian in 1969.
The little American Bensen B-8M went into production in both kit and plan form following the successful testing of the modified B-7M. The B-8M has been one of the most copied designs of gyroplanes but in part may be due to the basic and simple design of the aircraft.
The B-8M is a single seat gyrolane with a rotor diameter of 22 ft and fuselage length of 11ft 4 in. The gyro has a gross weight of 500lbs, speed of 85mph and a range of about 100 mi.
A varient of the B-8M known as the Super Bug included many changes including a greater gross weight, swivelling nosewheel, prerotator, and rotor brake, jump takeoff capability and one of these models was even out fitted with floats.
The craft itself being born from the design and engineering efforts of Dr. Igor Bensen with research he conducted on the British Rotachute. From his research Bensen started development of his own gyroplane which started with towed gyroplanes. Later he added small engines and eventually was refined enough to what we today recognize as a sport gyroplane. This craft and Dr. Bensen was the birth of homebuilt gyroplanes in America and for the most part around the world. It would be the passion from this gyroplane to revolutionize the industry.