The Evolution of the Helicopter

This past week has been a rough one and my research has hit some bumps. I was very sick on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday which delayed much of my work. However, I have hit a few gold mines in the outlook of my project on the evolution of helicopters in the future including contact with my old mentors as well as finding a new one through last week’s blog post.

Last Tuesday I received an email back from the American Helicopter Museum regarding being my mentor and being used for visits and research. The director of the museum replied happily agreeing to help me as needed as well as being the mother of one of my classmates at my school. This new found connection will help me greatly in my work as the museum is only ten minutes away and now that it is personal it can be of greater use to me. Last week I also received a comment on my blog post from the owner of Helicopter Links, Mike Hampson. I have reached out to him through email and hope to hear back shortly. I looked through his website and found it mainly as a marketing site for helicopter sales and programs, however, once I am further along in my research, this site and connection will help in the study of the role of helicopters in our current lives.

My research this week was shortened by my illness however I found one webpage that held a great deal of information regarding the early processes of designing and building helicopters. the first sign of humans looking at the idea of vertical flight started in 400 BC when Chinese toys reflected the motion of a helicopter. The next significant historical event in this process was sketches by Leonardo da Vinci of an aerial screw or air gyroscope in 1493 however his idea was far ahead of his time. The first time the word helicopter was used to describe a vehicle with this vertical flight was in the early 1860’s when Ponton d’Amecourt flew small steam powered ones. He actually called them helicopteres which comes from a Greek word meaning spiral and wing. Another notable experimentation with helicopters was in the 1880’s when Thomas Edison built small helicopter models. He tried using internal combustion engines with rotors that were powered by gun cotton engines. After many explosions with this model he tired an electric motor causing him to realize that a rotor with a very large radius from the helicopter was needed to create efficient lift. Many people in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s built full scale vertical lift machines, most of which failed however the failures led to corrections and a successful model by Igor Sikorsky in the 1930’s. Starting in the 1920’s there were many first successes with helicopters all around the world. To note a few, in 1920, Etienne Hemichen designed a quad rotor machine that had eight more rotors for extra lift and control. In the U.S. in 1930, Maitland Leecker used a single rotor with mounted propellers on each rotor. There are so many different trials and errors until success was finally accomplished in the early 1930’s. Next week I will further my research into this website and find a book that will go deeper into the aspect of history of helicopter designs. This coming week I will also hopefully hear back from the owner of Helicopter Links.

Thanks for reading! Until next week-



"World's First Helicopter." Connecticut History. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2015. . Igor Sikorsky making his first ascent in the world first's successful helicopter on September 14th, 1939.

“World’s First Helicopter.” Connecticut History. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2015. <;. Igor Sikorsky making his first ascent in the world first’s efficient and successful helicopter on September 14th, 1939.

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