Looking a bit like something Leonardo da Vinci envisioned, a human-powered helicopter by AeroVelo has become the first winner of a 33-year-old aviation prize. The quad-rotor helicopter lifted to an altitude of 3.3 meters, hovering for 64 seconds. This was the first time a human-powered craft has met the requirements of aviation pioneer Igor I Sikorksy’s Human Powered Helicopter Competition, which was first established in 1980.
3D Printed Self-Assembling Helicopter Drones
Hexagonal helicopter drone modules can not only link together to form a larger flying machine (on their own), but are capable of self-assembly. The honeycomb-shaped individual modules don’t fly very well on their own, but they’re controlled and efficient as a single unit, exchanging information with each other. It wasn’t designed for a specific purpose, but the researchers responsible for the project say the algorithms used to create them could apply to other projects, like scalable mass transportation systems.
Record-Breaking Sikorsky X2
The fastest helicopter yet is the Sikorsky X2, a prototype that officially broke speed records when it clocked over 250 knots (287.69mph) on a test run. The previous record was 216.46 knots. One difference in the design versus more conventional helicopters is its tail rotor, which faces backward like a boat propeller rather than up. This provides additional thrust.
Grand Versace AgustaWestland
Luxury helicopter designs just for millionaires include the Grand Versace line by AgustaWestland, with a sleek black and white design with a Greek key motif splashed across the side, among other designs in the collaboration. The line debuted in 2007.
World’s Most Expensive VIP Helicopter
With a cabin as spacious and luxurious as that of a private jet, perhaps it’s no surprise that the AgustaWestland AW101 VVIP helicopter is the world’s most expensive at $21 million. It’s the fanciest helicopter that money can buy, with a top speed of 192 mph and a range of 863 miles. Three of these were supposed to replace the current presidential helicopters, but with the economy the way it is, President Obama decided against the upgrade.