Site in French



Technical Specifications
Autogiro two-seater of reconnaissance and of adjustment of Artillery
Date first flight
January 1934
11,25 m 
6,0 m 
3,37 m 
Wing Area
Empty Weight
575 Kg 
Max. Takeoff Weight
860 Kg 
Cruising Speed
Maximum Speed
170 km/h 
Climbing Speed
Service ceilling
4000 m 
2 Men
1 Radial Engine Armstrong Siddeley Genet Major 7 cylinders air-cooled of 140ch
No armament



70 LeO C30 were built after the prototype that made its first flight on January 1934. They are divided in :

  • 64 LeO C30
  • 6 Leo C301

To date, out of the 70 aircraft manufactured , 21 are listed in the list below :



The origins of the LeO C30 date back to 1920, when Spanish engineer Juan de la Cierva began his studies for a rotating wing aircraft. This is realized by the manufacture of a prototype called C4, of the "Autogire" type, a term chosen by J. De La Cierva.

The principle is totally new. The aircraft has a fuselage similar to an airplane, with a motor and a tractive propeller that are conventionally implanted in the front part. On the other hand, the wings are replaced by a rotating wing with four blades, completely free and independent of the engine. It is the relative wind generated by the take-off engine that creates the lift. The concept works perfectly and the device proves it by realizing a flight several tens of kilometers.

It was in England that J. Cierva found the funds to continue his work. As early as 1932, a two-seater model was launched in series: the C19. This one, equipped with a motor of 100ch, is much more accomplished than the C4. Thus, the rotating wing is connected via a disengageable control to the motor. On take-off, the rotor is launched by the engine, and is disengaged after launch.

Juan De la Cierva died in a plane crash in 1936, but the work was pursued by the British who gave birth to the C30. It is powered by a 140cv engine.

28 aircraft are exported and 37 others are in the civil sector. Many countries are interested in C30, and evaluations are conducted in Belgium, Denmark, Yugoslavia, Spain and France. In Germany, it is manufactured under license with a local engine.

In France, Lioré & Olivier obtained the license in 1931. The C30 was chosen, and a few copies were purchased from the British. After a successful demonstration in Villacoublay, the French Army confirm their interest and are ready to command. Four British copies were purchased by the Army in 1934: the gyroplane was integrated into plan I for the refurbishment of aerial equipment. An initial order for 25 aircraft was made official on April 25, 1935, followed by an order for another 30 machines in 1936.

The first series units start coming out of assembly lines. They are first equipped with engines AS GEBET-MAJOR to 7 cyl, which will be replaced by a Salmson to 9 cyl. The Lioré and Olivier company has brought a few changes to the aircraft: the most visible are the small drifts added to the ends of the horizontal stabilizer to improve stability.

Despite the usual delivery delays in the rapidly changing Aeronautics industry, 64 LeO C30s are perceived by the Air Force. At the beginning of hostilities, 52 machines were present, 33 of which were assigned to the GAO and 3 to the Training Center. In May 1940, at the beginning of the French campaign, there were only 22 aircraft left in GAOs, 9 in Naval aviation, and 25 in stock.

The LeO C30 will perform some missions over enemy lines, but it will mostly be used for links. It is too vulnerable to be used in a hostile environment dominated by German fighter.

At the Armistice, the Germans captured 7 aircraft which were quickly scraped.



LeO C30

Base version powered first by a 1 Armstrong Siddeley Genet Major radial engine to 7 cyl air-cooled of 140ch, then by a Salmson 9Ne to 9 Cyl.

LeO C301
The LeO C301, produced in 6 specimens, was easily recognizable externally: the rotating wing was carried by 3 mats instead of four. This allowed the observer to jump more easily by parachute if needed, and offered better visibility.


- No3 : "Les Autogires La CIERVA et LeO C-30"


1) _ Collection Profil et Avions
- No5 : "Les Autogires LeO C-30 & C301"




Photos Album


Drawing 3 views