Juan De la Cierva was a Spanish aeronautical and civil engineer and pilot who was famous for the invention of the autogiro.
The autogiro was the precursor of the helicopter.
De la Cierva was born in Murcia (Spain) in 1895.
He was interested in aviation as a boy and experimented with gliders with a young age.
He became a civil engineer and worked designing an aircraft for the Spanish military.
He believed that standard aircraft were more dangerous which is why he chose to create a rotary wing design that could take off at small distance and land in small spaces.
First autogiro flew in 1923 a distance of almost 200m.
In two days it made 3 flights with the longest distance of 3km.
De La Cierva came to work in the UK as the Air Ministiry offcials were impressed by his craft and it was able to complete a 5000km journey around the UK. It was the first craft that crossed from London to Paris.
The company success led to the refinement of the models that finally evolved to the creation of the helicopter.
De la Cierva died in 1936 in a tragic aircraft crash when it was taking off.
He was 41 year old.