Groen Brothers Aviation
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
GBA was founded in 1986 by David Groen and his brother, Jay Groen. GBA's Corporate Headquarters are located in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, with its manufacturing facility on the same site. GBA also operates a flight test and R&D facility in Buckeye, Arizona, near Phoenix.
Since its inception, GBA has been involved in an extensive research program in the design, engineering, development, testing and marketing of gyroplane and gyrodyne aircraft.
Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc. (GBA) is engaged in the business of designing and developing new high performance gyroplanes and gyrodynes using advanced technology and modern aerospace design methods.
The Groen brothers realized that the collective pitch controlled rotor system developed for helicopters could be applied to a gyroplane. This innovation would substantially improve a gyroplane’s ability to achieve vertical takeoff and landing, as well as dramatically improve performance in both high speed flight and safe low and slow flight.
GBA has three U.S. Patents and several International Patents relating to the variable pitch rotor system they developed. With such improvements the gyroplane could become a safe, economical and versatile aircraft with appeal to a broad range of markets. Based on this insight, the Groens decided in 1986 to enter the market and to design their first gyroplane.
Following the successful flight of a proof-of-concept aircraft in 1987, the Groens designed, manufactured and flew several prototype test gyroplanes of increasing size and sophistication during the 1990s. Each of these gyroplanes were typically ultra-short take-off and landing (USTOL) aircraft that demonstrated that gyroplanes could be significantly easier to fly and maintain than a helicopter, would have significantly less maintenance down time and therefore much higher mission readiness, and would be safer than either airplanes or helicopters.
By 1999 Groen Brothers Aviation had designed and manufactured their first piston-engine version of the four-seat Hawk 4 Gyroplane.
In July 2001, Groen announced plans to move to a new 18.580sq.m facility at Phoenix, Arizona. The plant was intended to become operational by end 2002 and have the capacity to produce four aircraft per day, however this has lapsed.
In August 2001 the company concluded a joint venture with Al-Obayya Corporation to produce and market gyroplanes in Saudi Arabia. However, economic downturn of late 2001 resulted in 85 of 130-strong workforce being laid off. Earlier plans for Chinese assembly also appear to have lapsed.
In February, 2003, Groen Brothers Aviation formed American Autogyro, to produce gyroplanes for the “kit-built” market.