January 1923: In 1922, the Spanish engineer Juan de La Cierva entered the final development stage of an autogyro: an airplane whose wings were replaced by a free-spinning rotor, entirely driven by the speed of the forward propeller. Landing of an autogyro occurred by shutting down the engine and performing an autorotation.
The autogyro made its maiden flight on January 9, 1923 with Lieutenant Gomez Spencer at the controls. At the time, Cierva was working with the company Talleres Loring, which became Aeronautica Industrial S.A. (AISA) in 1934. AISA later joined CASA in 1995.
Although the autogyro was not a helicopter in the proper sense of the term, Cierva's inventions did have an impact on the future of this type of aircraft. In particular, the rotor head principle became a model for future helicopter rotors with more than two blades. Later, Cierva created his own company in Great Britain and sold licenses to American or European companies such as Lioré et Olivier or Focke-Wulf.