Governments manage and control airspace, certification and regulations for both pilot and aircraft. Aviation is one of the most highly regulated areas of oversight. Given the amount of information and complexity of aviation regulations, we can't do justice to this important topic in the small space we have here.
The best resource for gyroplane regulations is the aviation authority in your respective country. A great place to start is your aviation authority's website, as well as the websites of aviation associations and flying clubs, or by connecting with gyroplane instructors and pilots. Some keywords to search, include: gyroplane, gyrocopter, autogyro, rotorcraft and experimental amateur-built aircraft.
In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the aviation authority regulating rotorcraft. Gyroplanes are considered rotorcraft within the Experimental Amateur-Built Aircraft category. Air Command gyroplanes are production kits and subassemblies sold as build-to-fly rotorcraft.
The builder of a gyroplane is the person who builds the major portion of the aircraft defined as more than 50-percent of the fabrication and assembly tasks. The FAA calls this the Major Portion Rule. It is also commonly referred to as the "51-percent rule".
In order for a gyroplane to be certified under the Experimental Amateur-Built Aircraft category, the 51-percent builder must be an amateur who is building the aircraft for education or recreation. The only exception to the 51-percent Rule is when the gyroplane is used for law enforcement purposes. Then, the aircraft can be purchased or professionally built as ready-to-fly.
The builder must maintain a builder's log and take pictures during construction. This information is provided to the FAA Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR) at the time of the aircraft's airworthiness inspection, so an Airworthiness Certificate can be issued.
The FAA has stated that the gyroplane is one of the safest designs on the market. Gyroplanes are as safe as the pilots who build and fly them.
What is an amateur-built aircraft?
Airworthiness Certification for Amateur-Built Aircraft
Airworthiness Certification of Aircraft Order 8130.2J (Refer to Ch. 15 "Amateur-Built Aircraft")
Amateur-Built Fabrication and Assembly Checklist (2011) - Gyroplane (Determination of 51% Major Portion)
Search Aircraft Registry
To our understanding, the United States is the only country requiring the Major Portion (51-percent) Rule to build a gyroplane. Other countries, i.e. Europe, allow manufacturers to factory-build gyroplanes as ready-to-fly aircraft.
Government Aviation Authorities
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