Tuesday, August 16, 2011

World's Smallest Helicopter

The world loves small things, and is constantly trying to miniaturize. They've done it with cell phones, and cameras... heck, even Mickey Mouse has a minnie mouse. Sorry... I've been waiting to use that one for years. While I personally think it's stupid that people are playing games and texting on machines that are extremely tiny - I can see a populace suffering from eye strain and severe thumb-itis. 

Having said that, I still think the product this blog entry is about is cool. It's one-step closer to us all having that personal jet-pack we were all promised back in the 1960s!

Japan, which has had a reputation for the past 70 years of taking an already existing product - and then making it smaller - has over the past five years been interested in aeronautics, specifically in manufacture of the world's smallest helicopters. 

The current record-holder for the world's smallest helicopter is the GEN H-4, the smallest co-axial helicopter to ever fly.  

The GEN H-4 is a one-man (or one-woman) helicopter. The GEN H-4 is in the photo here to the left. 

With an empty weight of 155 pounds (70 kilograms), it is still able to reach a maximum speed of 60 miles-per-hour (100 kilometres-per-hour) and a height of 9,842 feet (3,000 meters) or, if you prefer 1.864 miles (3-kilometers). 

The helicopter was designed by Engineering System Co. Japan - specifically by company president Yanagisawa Gennai (surname first). He says it takes about 40 hours to assemble the aircraft.

The frame of the GEN H-4 is simplistic in its design. It consists of two-inch (5.1 centimeter) aluminium pipe bent and then welded, and has a fibreglass backpack, and four tiny wheels smaller than a grocery cart.


In front of the pilot seat, there is a control panel attached to a control bar, that has the throttle for altitude control, a tachometer, ignition power, starter and yaw switches.

There are four GEN125 engines that power the helicopter. Each is an air-cooled two-stroke flat twin gasoline engine that puts out 10 horsepower at 8,500 rpm (revolutions per minute). It offers a maximum torque of 0.86 kilograms per minute at 6,500 rpm.

The beautiful thing about the 30:1 car gasoline:oil engine, is that even if one or two of the GEN125 engines fails, only two engines are required to continue the flight, though in case of an emergency, the helicopter comes with a parachute.  

The helicopter has two rotors that travel in the opposite direction of each other to keep it stable, thereby eliminating the need for a tail rotor. 

And, aside from the GEN H-4 being the smallest, lightest helicopter in the world that can also be built in 40 hours... you can purchase one. All you need is Cdn/US $65,000. 

The barf bag option is not available.

Want to see it fly? Here's a VIDEO.

Files compiled by Andrew Joseph

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