Swisscopters US in Arizona has built a lightweight rocket copter, the Dragonfly DF1, for which they’ve completed test flights (videos below) and obtained airworthy certificates. It’s powered by two rocket motors (made by Tecaeromex) placed on the end of each rotor. It runs on 70% hydrogen peroxide fuel. Oh, so that’s what I’ve been doing wrong. I’ve been strapping bottle rockets to the ends of my M.A.S.K. Condor toys. I’ve gone through eight of them already.
The rockets propel the rotors directly, reducing vibration and providing much improved stability. Best of all, because there is no motor torque, a tail rotor is only required to rotate the helicopter, not prevent it from death-spiraling into the ground. The basic idea has has been around since 1950 and the US Navy were even experimenting with them for use as helicopter backpacks. [RedFerret via DVICE]
Rocket copters are supposed to be easier to fly, as they have fewer controls and fewer moving parts. This copter has a 40 mph cruising speed and 115 mph max speed,and can travel 50 minutes at cruising speed on its standard tank (with an additional tank optional). It weighs 235 lb when empty and can carry a payload (including pilot and fuel) of up to 500 lb [full specs and metric conversions here]. The first video below shows it taking off. The second video (from when it was called Firebird instead of Dragonfly) has an awesome 80’s soundtrack that lets me imagine I’m watching a lost episode of MacGyver. He would have build this out of some used chopsticks, a teeth whitening kit, and your mamma’s drawers. Don’t ask what he’s doing with your mom’s underwear; he’s f***ing MacGyver.