A gyroplane, autogyro or gyrocopter is a rotary-wing aircraft that develops lift through an unpowered rotor. The wings of a gyrocopter are mounted on a pylon on its top, like a helicopter.
The main difference between a helicopter and a gyroplane is that the wings of the latter are mounted on a free-spinning rotor. The air passing from below the gyrocopter causes the rotor to turn. On the contrary, the helicopter's engine turns its wings. Gyrocopters, unlike helicopters, cannot hover. This is the main reason why helicopters are more frequently used.
The Spanish engineer Juan de la Cierva invented the gyroplane. The first flight of a gyroplane took place in 1923.