There’s a great article by Meg Godlewski at General Aviation News about the Pitcairn PAA-1, an autogiro marketed to private pilots in the early 1930s. The article includes a glorious set of photos by Flickr user FlyerMedia of the Pitcairn at an airshow in April, 2010, but not any of it going off into the wild blue yonder. That’s cool; you can check it out in flight in the videos below.
You might recognize the Pitcairn from The Rocketeer, in which Howard Hughes flies one, or the concept of the autogiro in general from The Road Warrior. Thirty years before that, autogiros were popular in comic books and pulp fiction in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s because of their exotic look.