Bensen Aircraft Corporation Papers, 1966 - 1973, PC.1931


Bensen Aircraft Corporation Papers, 1966 - 1973, PC.1931


Igor B. Bensen, a Russian immigrant to the United States, realized in 1953 his dream of establishing his own aircraft company. At the invitation of North Carolina state officials, Bensen formed the Bensen Aircraft Corporation near the Raleigh-Durham Airport with the goals of developing safe, light-weight, rotary-wing aircraft for both construction and use by private individuals. By April of 1954, Bensen had completed the first gyro-glider and was making towed flights with this prototype. The gyro-copter, a powered version of the glider, was first flown on December 6, 1955.
This collection, dating from 1966-1973, includes promotional material relating to the gyro-copter, a manual for building and operating the gyro-glider, and 6 double oversize technical drawings for Model B-8 of the Bensen Gyro-glider.

Descriptive Summary

Bensen Aircraft Corporation Papers
Call Number
Bensen Aircraft Corporation
1966 - 1973
23.00 items
State Archives of North Carolina

Restrictions on Access & Use

Access Restrictions

Available for research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], PC.1931, Bensen Aircraft Corporation Papers, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC, USA.

Biographical and Historical No

, located near the Raleigh-Durham Airport, was incorporated in 1953 by Igor B. Bensen, at the invitation of North Carolina state officials. Bensen, son of an agricultural scientist who fled Russia shortly after the 1917 revolution, was educated in the University of Louvain, Belgium (1934-1937), the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N.J. (1937-1940), and Indiana University (Ph.D., 1968). After some years in the employ of the General Electric Corporation, Bensen resigned to study helicopter design under Igor I. Sikorsky (1889-1972), father of the multi-engine airplane and of the modern helicopter.

Bensen invented and manufactured at his Raleigh plant both the gyro-glider andthe gyro-copter. Both were small, light-framed, single-passenger craftthat were furnished with rotary blades that were kept in motion by airrather than by engine power. The gyro-copter, as opposed to the gyro-glider, was furnished with an additional propeller driven by a 60 or a90-horsepower engine. Bensen Aircraft Corporation manufactured both kindsof aircraft and sold them in inexpensive kit form. In 1963, Bensen, usingone of his gyro-copters, duplicated the first flight of the Wright brothersby taking off and flying at the same speed and height as the celebrated 1903flight and using the same spots among the Kitty Hawk dunes for his flight.He dubbed the gyro-copter used for this feat, and subsequently, in 1969, gave it to the Smithsonian Institution's Air and Space Museum.

Contents of the Collection

1. Technical Drawings For Model B-8

1. Technical drawing 8-102-100 (Rotor Head System, Bensen Model B-8)
Box PC.1931.2 (Double Oversize)
2. Technical drawing 8-103-100 (Rotor blades, Bensen Model B-8)
3-6. Technical drawings 8-104-100
Sheet 1: Gyro Glider, Bensen Model B-8 (two copies of this drawing, one of them having measurements penciled in)
Sheet 2: Details, Model B-8 (Keel, axle, and mast tubes, tall wheel assembly, etc.)
Sheet 3: Details, Model B-8 (Nosewheel and brake assembly, brake plate assembly, head plate, stop contact, gusset plates)
Sheet 4: Details, Model B-8 (Rudder assembly, horizontal stabilizers, indicator assembly, cable attachments, airframe bolts, seat frames, etc.)

Subject Headings

  • Bensen, Igor B.
  • Bensen Gyro-Copter.
  • Bensen Gyro-Glider.
  • Gliders (Aeronautics).
  • Helicopter industry.
  • Helicopter Transportation
  • Acquisitions Information

    Gift, Kenneth Brokamp, Missouri, to North Carolina Museum of History; transferred from Museum to State Archives of North Carolina, 1999.

    Processing Information

  • Processed by George Stevenson, July 16, 2003. Encoded, then edited for publication in DOC, by Fran Tracy-Walls, September 16, 2003 and April 9, 2020.