GBA’s First Gyroplane
(Above) The Hawk 4 served in an aerial observation role for the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command (UOPSC) during the Olympics and Paralympics, completing 67 missions and accumulating 75 hours of maintenance free flight time.
Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc. (GBA) of Salt Lake City, Utah, had developed and certified with the FAA the world’s first turbine powered gyroplane. Powered by a 420 shp Rolls-Royce Model 250 series gas turbine engine, the four place Hawk 4 gyroplane brought to aviation a unique aircraft with many utilitarian qualities. The Hawk’s performance and exceptional versatility also offered a safe and affordable alternative to helicopters and airplanes in many applications. Based on the lessons learned during successful flight testing of three prototypes over 10 years, the Hawk 4 provided USTOL (ultra short takeoff and landing; under sea level standard conditions, as short as 25 feet) capabilities with its patented variable pitch rotor head.
The Hawk 4 provided operators with takeoff distances unimaginable to operators of fixed wing aircraft. The aircraft’s simple, robust, design translated into lower operating costs than any comparable turbine powered helicopter. The wide operating speed range, from 46 mph to nearly 150 mph, of this highly maneuverable gyroplane also ensured the Hawk 4 a new niche in the aviation marketplace. Easy to fly and always in autorotation, the Hawk 4 offered uncompromising safety in the realm of flight.
The Hawk 4 was the first in a series of gyroplanes from GBA. Preliminary designs of several larger aircraft were also underway when Hawk 4 was accomplished. The flight test program for the first production Hawk 4 was carried out at the Flight Operations Facility in Buckeye, Arizona. By mid 2006, a total of thirteen GBA authorized Dealerships had been sold creating orders and deposits on more than 140 aircraft production positions.
Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc. (GBA) was a fully reporting, publicly traded corporation registered in the State of Utah. The company was listed over-the-counter on the OTC Bulletin Board under the stock symbol “GNBA” at any Stock Brokerage Company. Investment information including stock reports, Market Makers and SEC annual and quarterly reports are accessible on this web site previously.
* Set-asides for periodic overhauls and all interim maintenance costs – $/hr.
These projected direct operating costs for the Hawk 4 are 38% to 46% less than comparable turbine powered rotorcraft according to information obtained from Conklin & de Decker.
NB; The above report shows estimated prices and values they weer back in 2006
Marketing the Hawk 4
The market for the Hawk 4 gyroplane is large, and the GBA company used to receive many inquiries and orders from around the world. The world had previously become dependent upon helicopters as the only viable form of flight when runways were not available, or if slow flight was required.
The Hawk 4 was and is still a low cost alternative which can out-perform helicopters and airplanes in many roles. The inquiries of the gyroplanes came from industries as diverse as oil exploration and power line survey, to agricultural spraying, from the owners of yachts and fishing camps, and from numerous people searching for economical air-taxi service.
As helicopters had become commonplace in the world, many potential users realized how useful vertical flight would be if only they could afford it. Market studies and forecasts show that this pent-up demand was as important to the company’s marketing plans as the opportunity to sell to individuals, companies and agencies already flying helicopters.
Other Hawk 4 demonstrators were used by major metropolitan police departments in a ‘Public Use’ evaluation program. State and local governments were allowed by the federal government to fly non-certified aircraft in public service thus broadening the market of these planes. The Hawk 4 was designed and built to FAA type-certification standards and hence was easy to acquire a certification thus improving customers confidence.
The advantages of the Hawk 4 in police work, including low operating cost, high utilization rate, and high performance was demonstrated and well publicized in the media, trade journals and at law enforcement trade shows. This increased the demand and likeability of the formidable planes