This is early example of rotary wing technology. It is powered by a 330 hp Wright J6 engine with a ground adjustable propeller. It has a maximum gross weight of 3000 pounds and an empty weight of 2250 pounds. It could cruise at 110 mph with a 50 gallon fuel capacity.
An autogiro has an unpowered rotor that provides lift like the wing of a conventional airplane. The rotor is powered only by the forward speed of the autogiro in flight and must be "spun up" on the ground by taxiing or a take-off roll like an airplane. This particular model has a power take off on the engine to pre-spin the rotor prior to take-off, but must be disengaged before flight. Roll, Pitch and Yaw control is provided by the same control surfaces that you would find on an airplane. Later models had a directly controllable rotor and did away with the wing. They even had collective pitch control enabling "Jump" take-offs. However they lacked the zero airspeed yaw control of a helicopter's tail rotor, so the rotor could not be powered in flight, separating them from a helicopter.
Stephen Pitcairn donated "Miss Champion" to the EAA museum in the fall of 2005. I was part of the crew that assembled it upon its arrival in Oshkosh, in preparation for Steve flying it for a photoshoot and moving in to her new home in the Pitcairn Hangar at the Oshkosh's Pioneer Airport. Click on the thumbnails below for some pictures of that adventure. Unfortunately Steve left us on March 29, 2008 at the age of 83. He will be missed by many, but due to his generosity, the legacy of Pitcairn Aviation will live on.