David Gittens, inventor of the Ikenga 530Z gyroplane (1997) :: Smithsonian Lemelson Center
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Oral & video history documentation

The Lemelson Center's oral and video history projects increase historical documentation on invention and innovation in the United States.
Above: Guitarist G.E. Smith is featured in the Electric Guitar Video Documentation Project. Smithsonian photo by Jeff Tinsley.

Full descriptions of the following collections may be found by searching the archives and manuscripts section of SIRIS, the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. Unless otherwise noted, all collections are housed in the NMAH Archives Center. For further information, contact the Archives Center Reference Desk.

Oral & video history documentation is listed in alphabetical order by subject of interview. Date of interview is in parentheses.


David Gittens, inventor of the Ikenga 530Z gyroplane (1997)

Video footage documenting an “Innovative Lives” program presented by David Gittens, the inventor of the low-cost Ikenga 530Z gyroplane, designed for use in developing countries. Gittens's Ikenga 530Z, first built in 1988, has several applications--aerial photography, aerial surveying, air courier, border patrol, cattle herding, commuting, crop spraying, flying doctors, intelligence gathering, pipe line inspection, postal service, reconnaissance, and search and rescue. The name Ikenga is derived from Ibo mythology in Eastern Nigeria and refers to the creative life forces of humanity. The Ikenga 530Z gyroplane became part of the National Air and Space Museum’s collections in 1994. Audience participation by students from Walker Grant Middle School in Fredericksburg, Va.

0.35 cu. ft.: 3 boxes containing original and reference videos.

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