All you need are motorcycle and private pilot licenses, $14,395 and 200ft of flat airstrip and you can revolutionise the way you go to work and impress the neighbours as well.  

A range of Butterfly gyroplanes are now available from Oklahoma-based Butterfly, which the company claims features “modern design with many safety components available”. A range of gyroplanes are on offer, from the ultra-simple Emperor to the more sophisticated $44,995 two-seat TurboGolden, powered by a 300hp Subaru STI engine and capable of 95 m.p.h.

Gyroplanes, or autogyros, have a free-rotating rotor that spins up and provides lift as the aircraft is pushed forwards by the rear-mounted propeller. However, the lift is maintained only as long as the rotor is kept spinning by updraught through the blades. Gyroplanes have been described by the UK civil aviation authority as having a “significantly higher accident rate than other classes of recreational aircraft”.

Butterfly, however, claims to have overcome safety issues. It has, for example, placed  the propeller thrust centreline under the gyroplane’s vertical centre of gravity to ensure airflow through the rotor is maintained. It also has located the large horizontal stabiliser in the propwash to improve stability to the point where, according to Butterfly, the aircraft can be flown for up to ten minutes hands off. “I have driven some of my flying buddies nuts when they look across and see me with my hands in my pockets as we’re flying across country”, says Butterfly’s chief designer, Larry O’Neil.

The company also offers its Metro Launch System, a “revolutionary” device which eliminates the need for runways altogether by spinning up the rotors before take-off. And for pilots who need a “second chance of walking away from a bad situation” Butterfly thoughtfully offers its Gyro Recovery System… “a parachute that will let the whole gyroplane and pilot down under canopy if needed”.

One questioner e-mailed the company to ask whether the Butterfly Sky Cycle could be licensed “to drive on the road in Florida?”  The answer was an unequivocal “yes…we’re designing it to be a commuter for people to go to work in”.