They’re called autogiros, gyroplanes, gyrocopters and rotaplanes. But when a Times reporter saw them for the first time, he described them as “airships resembling dragonflies” and “windmill planes.” In this photo, the airships fly, flit and hover over the Battery in Lower Manhattan. split “No stranger craft are ever seen in the sky,” The Times wrote Nov. 16, 1930. “They are neither helicopters nor airplanes, but some of the merits of both They can fly slow or fast, they can almost stop in the air, and they can rise from a small space and land in it.”Juan de la Cierva of Spain invented the autogiro in 1923. Seven years later, when this photo was taken, the whirlybirds were in the news often. Famed aviator Amelia Earhart took a passenger up in an autogiro in Willow Grove, Pa, and an autogiro flew across the English Channel. One inventor in 1930 predicted that most airplanes of the future “would be autogiros or something better,” and would travel 200 miles per hour and carry seven tons.