The Tomball, Texas, Police Department has become famous in recent weeks for flying a “gyroplane” instead of a helicopter for traffic enforcement and surveillance. According to Auto-Gyro, the craft'smanufacturer, the city of Tomball procured the MTOsport gyroplane late last year.
The Jalopnik blog took a ride on the gyroplane and detailed the experience in a story posted this week. One of the gyroplane’s chief benefits is cost savings. A police helicopter can run upward of $4 million to buy, Jalopnik reported, and costs an additional $1,000 an hour to operate. By comparison, the gyroplane’s purchase price is roughly $75,000 and its rear propeller is powered by pump gas.
The downside? The vehicle doesn't have doors or a roof and can't carry as much gear as a police helicopter.
Video: A local Texas television station featured the gyroplane earlier this year.