What are the Copters?

What about copters?

                For hundreds of years man dreamed of vertical flight, a kind of flying that even birds cannot do.  The earliest known prophet of this kind of flying was Leonardo da Vinci. One of his drawings, dated 1483, shows a machine with screw like lifting surfaces covered with fabric.

                There are records of helicopter experiments in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In France, in 1784, Launoy and Bienvenue built a model helicopter with rotes made of feathers. It is believed to have been the first heavier-than-air powered craft to fly. In the mid-1800s, George Cayley of England built model helicopters which made short flights. This period, which we may view as the helicopter’s prehistoric era, ended in the twentieth century when true helicopter pioneering began.

                In 1907, a Frenchman, Louis Breguet, built the first helicopter ever to leave the ground carrying its own pilot. The craft, with four bi-plane type rotors, proved difficult to control and was flown only when tethered. In 1909 and 1910, in Russia, a young mechanical engineer named Igor Sikorsky built two helicopters which failed to fly because of too little engine power. The 1920s produced seven helicopter experiments, but none could be called true successes and all were abandoned.

                One development during those yeears, hoever, helped paved the way to future helicopter successes. This was the autogyro, first flown in 1923 by a Spaniard, Juan de la Cierva. The autogyro is not a helicopter, even though it has rotor blades. The air stream causes an autogyro’s blades to turn automatically in flight when the aircraft is pulled through the air by an airplane engine and propeller. This is called “auto-rotation.” Cierva’s aircraft and laater autigyros made very short takeoffs and landings, but were unable to fly straight up or straight down. However, during the 1920ws and early 1930s, they helped advance the science of rotary wing flight. The principle of autorotation enables helicopters to land safely in event of engine failure. The rortor blades continue to spin as the coopter descends, and the rate iof descent can be reduced almost to zero before landing.

                In recent years the autogyro has enjoyed a revival as the gyrocopter. These are homemade contraptions which are assembled from kits costing $700 and up. They carry only thee pilot, who sits in the open with the wind whistling around him. A small engine drives the twin-bladed rotor for lift nand a pusher propeller for forward  speed. The gyrocopter are flown mainly by adventurous souls who fly for the fun of it.

                Unlike autogyro and the airplane which require forward speed to become airborne, the helicopter rises straight up, its engine power applied directly to its rotors, or wings. The long, thin blades, turning in a circle, push air downward with enough force and speed to overcome the pull of gravity.

                Has has all this been put to practical use? To answer that we shall take a close-up look at helicopters performing the many tasks for which they have no equal. These amazing birds are not only versatile, but in many cases they have actually become indispensable. Just for you from www.myquadcopter.com.