|Designation:||X-25 (Air Force)|
|Nickname:||Gyro-Copter, Gyro, Autogyro|
|Type:||a push-propeller aircraft using a wind-powered propeller for lift|
|Length:||11 ft. 4 in.|
|Height:||6 ft. 3 in.|
|Rotor Diameter||21 ft. 6 in.|
|Gross Weight, max||550 lbs.|
|Gross Weight, empty:||247 lbs. empty|
|No. of Engines:||1|
|Powerplant:||McCulloch 4318 piston engine|
|Horsepower (each):||72 hp (diff options ranged 65 to 90 hp)|
|Range:||84 miles in 1 hour and 25 minutes|
|Cruise Speed:||65 mph|
|Max Speed:||95 mph|
The Bensen B-8M gyro-copter is motorized version of the Bensen B-7, a small single-seat gyro-glider developed in the mid-1950s by aviation pioneer Igor Bensen. A Russian immigrant to the United States, Bensen designed the B-8M as a light, safe rotary-wing aircraft for private use. Little more than a rotor, seat, tailfin and motor the B-8M's simple design could be assembled from a kit by aviation hobbyists in less than forty hours using simple hand tools.
Gyro-copters are a helicopter-airplane hybrid, like a helicopter the gyro-copter is dependent on its rotor blade to create and maintain lift. Unlike a helicopter, the gyro-copter's rotor blades are unpowered; therefore, the aircraft requires a short roll before taking-off.
High aircrew loss rates during the height of the Vietnam War spurred the US Air Force to acquire a number of B-8Ms for training and evaluation giving the aircraft the designation X-25A. As a part of the Discretionary Descent Vehicle program, an attempt was made to integrate gyro-copter features into ejection seats and provide aircrews with the ability to maneuver after ejection in hopes of increasing survivability and evading capture. Tests proved promising however, with the end of the war, loss rates decreased and the DDV program was canceled.
The museum's Benson B-8M was donated on January 19, 1991, by Adeline Weigandt of Huntington Beach, CA. This aircraft is on loan from the USAF.