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An Examination of Gyroplane Design & Marketing 1956 - 2007
When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail
It would be difficult to say that a company who built over seven hundred airframes and shipped them world wide had failed. How much effort does it take to get something like that off the ground? If the product was an Edsel, then I could see it.
The Bensen Aircraft Company invented the gyrocopter in 1955. It closed up shop only a year after the RAF1000 appeared in 1987. One can't help wonder if Mr. Bensen hadn't pushed out an enclosed cabin design, if the Bensen Aircraft Company wouldn't still be in business. Bensen had filled a market, for over thirty years, that begged for a reasonable priced flying machine. But then the market changed, people needed to have a CFI beside them as they learned to fly a gyroplane. The RAF2000 fit the marketplace and the rest was history.
|RAF1000 above, RAF2000 below, 1995|
That "thing" that happened to the Bensen Aircraft Company,
seemed to be knocking at the doors of Rotary Air Force Marketing in
2002, namely: "the innovator's dilemma".*1
Having a third party lawsuit in another country, which you can't
afford to defend, doesn't help either. see
It should be noted, that Bensen didn't sit on his success with the "open frame" gyrocopter. It is well documented that he was always working on new designs for gyrocopters. But though he tried, few of them made it to market.
|Is the RAF2000 finished as a good gyroplane? The RAF2000 will continue on flying as long as people want it to. They will continue fly safely as long as their owners can get good flight training and understanding of the "Little Bird".|
|Revisions:||*1 Reference to: book by Clayton M. Christensen, Harvard Business School Press.|