Helicopters are amazing. They're big, complicated, noisy machines that fly in a perpetual state of borderline instability, but can somehow magically hover in one spot in midair. As it turns out, this comes in particularly handy if your fancy R/C P-51 Mustang just landed at the very top of a tree.
A Czechoslovakian design firm has joined forces with a Czechoslovakian light aircraft manufacturer and a Czechoslovakian bicycle company to make this flying Czechoslovakian bicycle electric helicopter thing.
Aviation buffs are going to want to get their hands on one of these for their man caves this summer. It's a 1:6 scale Hughes MD 500 helicopter that, courtesy of its upside-down landing on your ceiling, allows its propellers to cool you off.
At the end of WWII, a single pregnant brown tree snake stowed away on a military transport from Papua New Guinea to Guam. 65 years later, two million snakes are eating everything on the island that moves, and the USDA is trying to fight them off by parachuting dead mice stuffed with aspirin out of helicopters.
The military, since it has bigger sticks than everyone else, always gets its hands on all the coolest toys before the rest of us do. Eventually, military tech does make its way into the civilian market, and in about five years, you'll be able to buy your very own commuter-sized version of the V-22 Osprey planeocopter.
Most helicopters do their business with one giant set of rotor blades. Double that to two rotors, and you can go with slightly smaller ones. Sixteen-tuple that, and you can use tiny little rotors instead: the e-volo multicopter proves that it's not just possible, it may even be a better way to go.
Boeing had this image on display at the Association of the US Army's (AUSA) annual convention in Washington DC this week, showing four concept helicopters destined for deployment in 2030. Two decades is a long time from now, but prototypes (or close to it) are flying already.
This concept copter features a passenger compartment that can be lowered to the ground, avoiding that ungainly leap followed by a probable faceplant that normally happens when exiting a hovering chopper with something strapped to your feet (or so I'm told). But then, you snowboarders are used to faceplants anyway, right?
The Sikorsky X2 isn't even a finished vehicle yet and it's already broken the rotorcraft speed record of 249 mph set in 1986 — though just barely. Then again, at 258 mph, the X2 is just getting started.
The gyrocopter, or autogyro, hasn't really gotten much love since World War II. Several nations pressed the aircraft into a naval recon role as it was towable by ships and subs while flying. Now, a company called Gyrojet wants to bring the gyrocopter back.