Ken Wallis in G-BLIK, 'Wallis Days' '97

Ken Wallis taxying out in G-BLIK

G-BLIK flying by at speed

photos by Keith Balch

These two photos show Wing Commander Ken Wallis at Wallis Days '97, Shipdham Airfield, Norfolk, UK - taxying out in the top one and flying past at lightning speed in the one above ! G-BLIK has held the autogyro world speed record of 193.6kph (over 120mph!) over a measured distance of 3 kilometres since 1986 - another of Ken's gyros previously held this record since 1969. Notice how Ken can hold onto his rotor whilst sitting down - these days the gyro fashion in many countries seems to be for tall masts, large diameter propellers, powerful engines and fancy tails. As Ken pointed out, his aircraft probably had the least powerful engine (a 60 hp Franklin) of any gyro at Wallis Days - and it certainly does not have a large diameter prop or fancy tail either!

At some point ( notice that I didn't say soon!) I shall do some serious text and photos of the amazing phenomenon that is Ken Wallis and his gyros, but in the meantime this will have to do as a taster!

These photos were taken at Wallis Days '97 which since 1997 has become an annual event sponsored and organized by Rotor Gazette International - with the flying display side of things organized by myself and authorized by the CAA.

red arrow(10 August 2000) Some news on Ken: In his mid eighties and still very sprightly he now has his medical card signed up, and the CAA's Medical Department have sent him a letter wishing him well with all his future flying. He is just getting the Permit to Fly sorted out on his gyros (which shouldn't be too much of a problem). In his letter he says "Now that the Medical matter for gyroplane pilots is on a far more realistic footing I am interested in catching up on lost time and getting a number of my machines back in the air." If I was a betting man I would put my money on the 'Time to climb' world record being the next to go!

Wallis Days '99 was held at Swanton Morley Airfield on May29,30. Click HERE for a brief summary of the event and just a couple of photos.

Wallis Days 2000 was held at Swanton Morley Airfield on May27,28. Click HERE for a brief summary of the event and a few photos.


I am hoping to bring some very interesting developments to this page soon, but for the moment I will copy part of a long letter which I received from Ken Wallis on February 14 and which concerns his latest official World Record (achieved 'accidentally' at the age of 81 years and 336 days - can you believe it!!?) set on 19th March 1998 - the 'Time to Climb' (to 3000metres) :

" . . . . the record achieved was 7 mins 20 secs, but this was from a standing start to 3010 metres; the barograph was only set to read every 10 seconds. Further, I wasn't trying for Time to Climb to 3000 metres - I was going for much higher altitudes, with the oxygen gear and fuel to suit.

I gave up due to cloud cover over the ground beneath me at 18,976 feet. I think I could do the Time to Climb to 3000metres in under 7 minutes if I were trying for that only. Ken" . . . . Watch this space!

I include a list of all the current autogyro world records in the table below (if anyone knows of any that I have missed out - please tell me. I am fairly confident that this list is complete). All of these records were achieved in Wallis designed and built aircraft, and were also piloted by him. The exception being the Altitude record which was set by Dr Bill Clem in a turbo-charged Dominator gyro last year in the USA. Well done Bill - perhaps the first person ever to take (borrow?!) a world record from Wing Commander Ken Wallis?

In an even more recent letter to me Ken Wallis wrote " . . . . In the flight of the 19th March (when Ken set the 'Time to Climb' record) I gave up at 18,976 ft , since I had lost all sight of the ground due to cloud closing in. My little naturally aspirated WA-121 could do quite a bit more, but could not beat Clem's record by the required 3% required to qualify. I'm looking at the possibility of using a supercharged or turbo-charged engine to regain the record".



in Class E3 (Any Autogyro) & E3a (Autogyros under 500kgs)





 September 28, 1975

 Non-stop distance in a straight line

 874.3 km (543 miles)

 WA116/F, G-ATHM, 60hp

 133.3 km (83 miles), Igor Bensen (USA), Bensen B8, 90hp
 September 28, 1975

 6 hours 25 minutes

 WA116/F, G-ATHM, 60hp

 No previous record
 October 14, 1984

 Speed over 15 km (9.3miles)

189.6 km/hr (117.7mph)

 WA-116/F/S, G-BLIK, 60hp

 174.9 km/hr(108.6mph) Don Farrington (USA), Air&Space 18A,180hp
 April 17, 1985  Speed over 100 km closed circuit (62 miles)  190.4 km/hr (118mph)

 WA-116/F/S, G-BLIK, 60hp
 164.4 km/hr (102mph) Don Farrington (USA), Air&Space 18A,180hp
 September 18, 1986

 Speed over 3 km (1.9miles)
 193.6 km/hr (120mph)

 WA-116/F/S, G-BLIK, 60hp

 179 km/hr (111 mph), KHWallis, WA-116/Mc, 90hp
 August 5, 1988

 Speed over 1000 km (621 miles) closed circuit
 130.8 km/hr (81 mph)

 WA-116/F/S, G-BLIK, 60hp
 No previous record
 August 5, 1988

 Speed over 500 km (311 miles) closed circuit
 134.0 km/hr (83 mph)

 WA-116/F/S, G-BLIK, 60hp

 126 km/hr (78 mph), KHWallis, WA-116/F, G-ATHM, 60hp
 August 5, 1988

 Non-stop distance in a closed circuit

 10002.8 km (623miles)

 WA-116/F/S, G-BLIK, 60hp

 670.3 km (418 miles) KHWallis
 March 19, 1998

 Time to Climb to 3000 metres
 7 minutes 20 seconds

 WA-121/Mc, G-BAHH 90hp

 8 minutes 7 seconds KHWallis, WA-121/Mc, G-BAHH, 90hp

 April 17, 1998

( Bill Clem )


 7,143 metres

(23,434 feet)


Rotax 914turbo (115hp)

 5644 metres (18,517 ft) KHWallis, WA-121/Mc, G-BAHH, 90 hp


'Little Nellie'enclosed single seat G-AYVOKen's gyros in his hangarKen talking to gyro inspector Vic ScottG-BLIKLittle Nellie postcard signed by Ken to Keith Balch

all photos by Keith Balch except the last one, which is a postcard (signed by Ken to Keith)

frame taken from one of the free Wallis Autogyro models downloadable for Microsoft Flight Sim  HERE !  NOW !FREE !! downloadable Wallis Autogyros for you to fly in Microsoft Flight Simulator '98!!!! The image on the left is a frame taken from the program! Click on the image to go to my download page and find out more!

Use your browser's 'back' button to return to the previous page,



' Mel's Gyro Page ' (gyro homepage)

gyro2 - you're in it !

Ken Wallis page


gyro photos taken while filming for TV series


single seat gyro types commonly flown in the UK (Cricket types, Bensen, Montgomerie Bensen)


single seat gyro types rarely flown in the UK (Wombat, KB2, Air Command, Hornet, McCandless, etc.)


2 seat gyro types commonly flown in the UK (VPM M16, RAF2000)


2 seat gyro types rarely flown in the UK


an assortment of other pages - several sub-pages to this one


interesting projects going on


International gyro page




Gyroglider page


Gyros on Floats


Stop browsing this and get proper training to fly gyros in the U.K. (this link will take you to the BRA site)

Fly Gyro! magazine

The new international magazine (printed) for enthusiasts everywhere!