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"cheers" To 100 Years In The Air!


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So 100 years ago today Wilbur and Orville made their first historic flight and never looked back. Quite awe-inspiring to look at what's been done in the last 100 years of flight. But looking through all the stories on the net today I didn't see one mention of the helicopter or how it fits into the picture. So I did some digging and found some neat facts about our beloved whirrly-birds...


Though Igor Sikorsky will always be known as the father of the modern helicopter, he wasn't the first to design and fly one.


On November 13 1907, Frenchman Paul Cornu was able to hover his twin rotor helicopter for a few seconds...and that's about all he did with it.


In 1924 another Frenchman, Etienne Oehmichen, is the first to fly a helicopter 1 km in a closed circut. The flight lasted 7 minutes 40 seconds.


Then in 1935 the Breguet-Dorand coaxial helicopter is flown to 120 kph at 158m AGL. This helicopter can stay aloft for over 1 hour! Sadly it is damaged in 1939 after autorotion tests, and later destroyed by allied bombings of Villacoublay Airfield in 1943.


In 1936 comes the German Focke-Wolf fw61 (Focke-Achgelis). This twin rotor design is hailed as the first practical helicopter by many. On June 26 1936 it's maiden flight lasts 28 seconds. To show it's stability (and for good propaganda) it's flown inside a Berlin Stadium to cheers of the people inside.


Enter Igor Sikorsky. On June 27 1931 he files patent# 1,994,488 for the first helicopter to use a tail rotor. He is given the go ahead to built it years later and on September 14 1939 the VS-300 takes to the air, with Igor at the helm, and the helicopter as we know it today was born.


The rest is history... so I raise my glass and say Cheers to aviation!

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