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These ungainly plane-helicopter hybrids were once used to transport mail

April 28, 1936An autogyro takes off in front of the United States Capitol.Image: Library of CongressIn 1919, Spanish aviation engineer Juan de la Cierva witnessed one of his airplanes crash after stalling out due to low speed. The pilot was uninjured, but Cierva was determined to improve the safety of low-speed flight.The solution: a set of unpowered rotors attached to the top of the plane, a design Cierva dubbed autogiro.As an autogyro accelerated forward with…

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These ungainly plane-helicopter hybrids were once used to transport mail

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