It’s a helicopter… It’s a plane… No, it’s a Coca-Cola autogiro. An autogiro is an aircraft with a propeller and freely rotating rotor. This photo was taken in August of 1932 when the Coca-Cola autogiro took a world-renowned astronomer 4,000 feet in the air to witness an eclipse of the sun from above the clouds, giving them a “perfect view”. The astronomer actually closed his eyes ten minutes before the eclipse became total and then upon a signal from the pilot, opened his eyes to receive the most complete impression and begun calculations. The Coca-Cola autogiro was used by the Advertising Department to promote the six pack package to dealers of Coca-Cola. In addition to guiding the autogiro “with consummate skill, despite the darkness”, the pilot, William Campbell, simultaneously held a thermograph, which registered the drop in temperature (about eight degrees) during the eclipse. The autogiro was presented to Georgia Tech for the study of aeronautical engineering in 1934.
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