Although helicopters might be considered to be a relatively new unit within the whole aviation field, they are already engaged in transportation, military, health and safety, construction as well as tourism and many other areas.
Also known as a chopper, a whirlybird or a helo, a helicopter is a result of the World War II which helps to save dozens of human lives due to its simple usage. A helicopter can reach any object that gets stuck in the most dangerous areas such as mountains or gorges. Since 1944 it has saved about 3 million people.
However, since the World War II until today a lot of things have changed. The development of technologies and different improvements in helicopters itself have provided a great variety of strange but, let’s admit, useful solutions related to the adaptation of these flying machines to people’s lives. As a consequence, probably one of the most comprehensive vehicles used on earth today is capable not only to fulfill industrial or military needs – it can also function in many ways that earlier seemed to be impossible…
From the weirdest post-war designs to a helicopter that could be considered as UBER – let’s focus on TOP 5 of the most unexpected adaptations of Helicopters from World War II till today.
5. The HZ1 Aerocycle
Let’s get back to November 1954 when testing of HZ – 1 Aerocycle took place. The idea of this odd–looking helicopter was to minimize training to 20 minutes so that pilots could steer the device using the same motions as a person riding a bicycle or a surfboard. Just imagine standing on a helicopter with threatening rotating blades below your feet!
Unfortunately, the concept of this vehicle appeared to be unreliable and dangerous so the use of this deathtrap did not last long. After some tests, it became clear that two rotating blades had a bad habit of crashing into each other and exploding. After two explosions project supporters were forced to cut the funding and close the project. However, if you will ever feel the urge to see it, there is only one place where you can find this one-man “personal helicopter” – US Army Transportation Museum in Newport News, Virginia.
By the way, the way this vehicle operated reminds of Segway – a self-balanced device controlled by shifting the body’s weight around. However, HZ1 was not very maneuverable…
4. Helicopter as a Weapon against Ice
There is a great chance that in the near future Europe will develop as much Wind Mill energetics as possible. On the whole, these predictions in technology seem to be astonishing.
Nevertheless, glaciated rotor blades are the scourge of wind turbines in cold climates, as the ice can make the blades stop. Fortunately, a Swedish company has come up with an answer to the question about the prevention of Windmills from stiffing by involving helicopters in the process of their heating. It means that a helicopter sprays hot water, which quickly melts ice from the blades. It takes about 1.5 hours to de-ice wind turbines but the results help to avoid further ice growth and remain effective all day long doing no harm to windmill even if a temperature is lower than -20 °C.
Undoubtedly, using an alternative method such as turbines with an electric heating foil is beneficial as well. Perhaps, applying helicopters in the process of searching for a possible solution might become a great path for the future of Wind Mill energetic.
3. Helicopter as an Uber
Have you ever heard of UberCopter? Apparently, it is an idea of ride-hailing company Uber to provide helicopter flights in Brazil’s biggest city.
São Paulo is known not only for its billionaires or a great number of registered helicopters. In fact, this city is densely crowded what results in arising problems related to often traffic jams. Just imagine there is a possibility to get stuck in a traffic jam which, on average, might extend to 180km on Friday evenings. That is why an idea of flying taxi cars does not sound that bad. Local residents often use their helicopters to travel from one destination to another so it is not surprising that a concept of UberCopter was adapted particularly to this city.
Why is this idea great? Obviously, it has a potential in the cities that face problems related to traffic jams. Ubercopter helps save time and it is twice as cheap as traveling by a regular taxi during peak hours.
2. World’s First Green Helicopter
While our contemporary word copes with the demand for environmentally-friendly technologies, a helicopter that could run emission free is a great achievement in the aviation industry. A chic e-Volo’s Volocopter has a potential to become world’s environmentally safest piece of air sport vehicle. It is easily managed by joystick, has no emission and is very cost-efficient. When it comes to an environment it is advisable to keep this electrically powered aircraft named Volocopter in mind. Just imagine how nice it would be to fly this vehicle…
1. Zero helicopter concept
Have you ever thought about personal air vehicle? It may soon become a reality. Designer Hector del Amo gives us an opportunity to take a look at an intriguing Zero helicopter concept that does not look like any other helicopter. Apparently, it would be a single-seat vehicle adapted to any human being who would be willing change his car into this circle-shaped device that could get him up in the air. Personal helicopters would be a great solution to all the traffic congestions, especially in bigger cities.