Gyroplanes of yesteryear

The famous little rotorcraft no one’s ever heard of

Ernie Brooks with the Brookland Mosquito Mk.2

As you may have seen on previous pages, a chance discovery of the forgotten work of gyroplane pioneer Ernie Brooks, led to the eventual publication of Spinning on the Wind, nine years later. But hey, better late than never. Among the huge pile of paperwork found in Tony Philpotts’ cellar, was an intriguing collection of international news cuttings from 1968/69, giving details of the Brookland Mosquito Mk.2. Those were the days when written correspondence could take weeks to cross the continents (no email back then), which made it all the more fascinating to read the stack of letters received by Brookland Rotorcraft in response from all around the world.

It was these newspaper cuttings and the global enthusiasm they had generated for this tiny gyroplane, that inspired me to find out more. Very few in the modern gyro world remembered the efforts of Brookland Rotorcraft, and the incredible range of the Mosquito’s popularity was completely unknown. Ernie himself was pretty much forgotten: just another of the many ill-fated amateur explorers from the early days of British autorotational discovery. But he was so much more than that.

In the course of my research, a contemporary of Ernie’s who worked on the slightly later Campbell Cricket, flatly refuted all evidence of the Mosquito’s international celebrity and strongly denied that anyone on foreign soil had ever heard of it. Well, it wasn’t the first time that he’d made a complete twerp of himself, evidenced by the amount of people who have immediately recognised him in the book, despite not being named! Leopards and spots and all that.

Financially it was limited as to what could be fitted into the pages of Spinning on the Wind, so just to prove that news of the Brookland Mosquito really had gone around the world, here’s a small sample of the press releases found after forty years buried in the cellar.

Not bad for a machine no one’s heard of…

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