A gyroplane (11) having a rotor blade (31) with an edgewise stiffness and blade weights of sufficient size to store a minimum of 100 foot pounds of rotational kinetic energy per pound of gross weight of the gyroplane (11) while the rotor blade (31) pitch is set to a minimum lift during blade prerotation. Then a clutch (105) driving the rotor (31) is disengaged and the rotor blade (31) pitch is changed to a lift condition. The horizontal velocity is increased to maintain altitude, first with the rotor blade (31) providing most of the lift and until the wings (19, 21) provide all the lift. During horizontal flight while the rotor blade (31) is loaded, the wing (19, 21) is maintained at a constant angle of attack and the horizontal stabilizer (43) is fixed and does not move. After the blade (31) is unloaded during horizontal flight, the rotor disc (31) and the horizontal stabilizer (43) are maintained generally at a zero angle of attack.