« Reading List: 19 Deadly Sins of Software Security | Main | Earth and Moon Viewer Updated »

Sunday, September 10, 2006

One-Place Do-it-Yourself Helicopter Kit

Now this is cool!


What we have here is a one-person helicopter with dual counter-rotating composite rotors (eliminating the need for a tail rotor) powered by four 125cc two-stroke engines, and capable of flying on three engines and making a controlled emergency landing on two. It qualifies as an ultralight aircraft under FAA rules, has a service ceiling estimated at 3000 metres, a top speed of about 100 km/hour, and an endurance of about 60 minutes. This page has additional pictures and a YouTube clip of the contraption in flight. Additional details and pictures are available on the U.S. distributor's site. Total dry weight is only about 70 kg, and the pilot may weigh as much as 90 kg.

The helicopter is sold only in kit form, for ¥3.6 million/US$29,900, and is estimated to take about 30–40 hours to assemble. As somebody who, in childhood, was obsessed with building a Bensen Gyrocopter, I must confess I am very tempted, notwithstanding my detestation and distrust of two-stroke engines, and the unpleasantness of having the oily exhaust of four of them blasted down onto my head by the rotor downdraft.

Posted at September 10, 2006 21:20