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Breaking The World Altitude Gyroplane Record

Donatella Ricci, PMO in Leonardo Helicopters, Tessera Venice, Italy


UTC 09h:35’:20”, Altimeter reading 27556ft. A radio call was transmitted on Treviso Air Traffic Control frequency:
“I succeeded! I broke the record!”.
On November 8th, 2015 a new World Gyroplane Altitude Record was established.
The record breaker is Donatella Ricci, Program Manager in Leonardo Helicopters , with a degree in astrophysics and a great passion for flying.

The absolute world record is the one she established in a sunny Sunday at Ponte di Piave close to Venice , with her Magni M16 gyroplane, reaching the astonishing altitude of 27,556 feet, (8,399 meters) generally used for commercial airliners. The previous record was achieved by the American Andy Keech in 2004 rising up to 26,407 ft (8,049 m) with a special gyroplane made for the record.

The gyroplane uses an unpowered rotor in autorotation to develop lift, and an engine-powered propeller to provide thrust with a tandem open cockpit and a maximum takeoff weight of less than 450kg. The reader will be guided through the nine months spent to prepare the World Record, presenting challenges, difficulties and the incremental flights test approach before the record-day.

Together with the flight aspects, the paper presents definition and identification of required flight test instrumentation, flight test equipment as oxygen kit and environmental flight suit and, least but not last, an overview of the required documentation for World Record certification.

The world record altitude is the result of a flight tests campaign aimed to gain the “top of the world” step by step , bringing together safety aspects, gyroplane performance and pilot’s health.
“Determination, strength and courage for climbing so high, opening an unexplored gyroplane flight envelope, dealing with technical issues but always keeping the focus on the final goal.
This long journey shows that if you really want to reach a target, with passion, courage and determination, you can do it and you can really make the difference in your life.”

Wed, 2017-09-13