Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Invention of the Day: The Helicopter

Igor Sikorsky (1889 - 1972) invented the world's first vertical lift apparatus - the helicopter. Inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci, Sikorsky started thinking about creating a flying machine when he was a boy of 12.

According to the US National Inventors Hall of Fame:
From 1925 to 1940 he created a series of increasingly successful aircraft which won numerous world records for speed, range, and payload. The famed Sikorsky flying "Clippers" helped transoceanic commercial passenger services. Sikorsky continued to study the helicopter; he filed for a crucial patent in 1931. In late 1938, United Aircraft (now United Technologies) approved his experimental helicopter, and in 1939, the VS-300 made its first flight.

The patent above covers a major improvement in helicopter design: a mechanism for controlling the pitch of the rotor. The invention made the helicopter a highly maneuverable flying machine.

Here's a Hitchcock documentary about Igor Sikorsky, the inventor who made Leonardo Da Vinci's dream an everyday reality.

tags: invention, innovation, lunchtalk

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