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Model, Static, Pitcairn PCA-2 ("Beech-Nut")

Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum

This is a model of the Pitcairn PCA-2 "Beech-Nut" autogiro. In the early 1930s the Pitcairn autogiro was a contender in the movement to build a safe-to-fly / no-stall airplane that would attract more civilian pilots to aviation. It featured rotating blades to increase lift and allow short takeoffs and landings.In 1930, after only 15 minutes of instruction, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly an autogiro. She set the first autogiro altitude record and made two autogiro cross-country tours, which were marked by three highly-publicized crashes, or "crack-ups," as she called them. (Though Earhart was the most famous woman pilot, she was not the most skilled).

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