McCulloch J-2 Gyroplane

The J-2 was a two-seat gyroplane built by the McCulloch Aircraft Corporation from a design by Drago Jovanovich who was active in early Piasecki design work in Philadelphia. It first flew as the Jovair J-2 in 1962. McCulloch acquired the design and the Helicopter Engineering & Research Corporation (HERC)* and put the aircraft into production in 1970-74.  Some 83 gyroplanes were built at a reported sales price of $15,900.

The design featured a belt clutch and a transmission which could be engaged to spin the rotor blades to high speed before take-off to produce short takeoff runs. The rotor could be spun to over 500 rpm before takeoff, well above the normal flight range (typically 425 rpm). After a very brief takeoff run (typically 25 to 200 feet, depending upon load and winds) adequate flight airspeed would be attained. The rotor was not engine-driven in flight.

The rotor system (hub and blades) is very similar to that found on the early versions of the Hughes 269 series helicopters

McCulloch expected to produce 1,600 J-2s, but due to performance problems, production ended early. Its range was limited and the noise level in the cockpit was high.

The gyroplane N4353G on display has 100.7 hours of flight time.

* Note:  The top three officers of HERC were from Piasecki’s PV Engineering Forum: Jovanovich was President, Frank Kozloski was Vice-President, and George Townson was Treasurer and also test pilot for Pitcairn, Herrick and Vertol. Kozloski and Jovanovich went to the West Coast to McCulloch.

Aircraft Specifications

Rotor Diameter: 
25 ft. 11 in.
Fuselage Length: 
15 ft. 9 in.
Cruise Speed: 
85 mph
Empty Weight: 
1,109 lbs.
Gross Weight: 
1,598 lbs.
Lycoming O-360-A2D 180 hp
Acquisition Source: 
Gift of Light Horse Legacy and Marv Wessel