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The first concept of rotary wing aviation came from the Chinese in the fourth century A.D.
A book called "Pao Phu Tau" tells of the "Master" describing flying cars (fei chhe) with wood from the inner part of the jujube tree with ox-leather straps fastened to returning blades as to set the machine in motion (huan chien i yih chhi chi). This is the first recorded pattern of what we might understand as a helicopter.
The technology needed to create a helicopter had not been produced yet but the concept of rotary wing aviation had unquestionably been found.
400 BC : Chinese tops A toy, consisted of feathers at the end of a stick, which was rapidly spun between the hands to generate lift and then released into free flight. These toys were probably inspired by observations of the autorotating seeds of trees such as the Sycamore.
1480 : Leonardo Da Vinci 's Helical Air Screw
if it is wellmade from starched linen,
will rise in the air if turned quickly..."
Leonardo Da Vinci - Codice Atlantico
A wide amount of minor inventions contributed to the advancement of the helicopter between the fifteenth and twentieth centuries ... All models at this time lacked suitable power to achieve flight and were both bulky and heavy.
1754 : Mikhail Lomonosov ( Czarist Russia ) He suggest a coaxial rotor machine to elevate meteorological instruments. It was modeled after the chinese toy but powered by a wound-up spring device. The device flew freely and climbed to a good altitude.
1784, April 28 : Launoy / Bienvenu ( France ) Another version of the chinese toy, which has at each end of its fuselage a two-bladed propeller driven by a bowdrill system. Was a model consisting of a counter rotating set of turkey feathers that could take off and fly using its own power. This proves that an object which is heavier than air could fly.
1800 : Sir George Cayley ( UK ) Already famous for his work on the basic principles of flight, which dates from the 1790s, had constructed several successful vertical-flight models with rotors made of sheets of tin and driven by wound-up clock springs.
In a scientific paper, published in 1843, Cayley mention a vertical flight machine called "Aerial Carriage." However, Cayley's device remained an idea because the only power plants available at the time were steam engines, and these were much too heavy to allow for successful powered flight.
1842 : W. H. Phillips ( UK ) Build a 10 kg steam-powered model.
1845 : Cossus ( France ) A steam machine, uses a main rotor and other two smallest.
1861 : Bright Uses a globe over the rotors
1863, Sept 24 : Viscount Gustave de Ponton d'Amécourt ( France ) In a 40-page monograph entitled :
1877 : E.Forlanini ( Italia ) With a small steam engine (3.5 kgs), his model reach 9 meters and remains in flight for 30 seconds.
1880 : Thomas Edison He tries with an electric engine. The machine was unpowered but he was sure that helicopters will be very important in the future
1895 : De los Olivos A tandem rotors helo with wings
1900 / 1930 : continue
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