Leonardo da Vinci, the famous painter, was also a great & controversial scientist, whose thoughts and ideas were way ahead of his time, and hence could not be materialized. But his famous notebook drawings from 1493 show an "ornithopter" design with a screw-like rotor, which was actually similar to a helicopter that could actually fly! inspired by Da Vinci's design, Yanagisawa's GEN H-4 was created. It has no tail, and instead works on twin counter-rotating propellers that cancel out the torque that requires single-rotor helicopters to have a perpendicular tail rotor, and can fly at a maximum speed of 50 kilometres (31 miles) per hour.
The GEN H-4 from Gene corporation comes with a seat and landing gear so all you have to do is strap on and you are ready to go. The rotors have a length of only 4 meters (118 inches) so they don't cause any parking problems. It is powered by 4 lightweight 125 cc 2 cylinder engines which use standard gasoline. The GEN H-4 can fly to a maximum altitude of 1000 meters at a top speed of 90 km/hr (59 mph) for upto 30 minutes. And the best part, you dont require a license to fly the GEN H-4 in Japan and the inventors claim it is easy as riding a bicycle and with just 2 hours of practice you can master it. I wish they would get the "no-license" rule in US too!
Yanagisawa(the inventor)runs a company in Matsumoto, north of Tokyo, where he designed and built this first smallest single-person helicopter that weighs 75 kilos(165 lbs). The 75-year old inventor will make a demonstration flight in the city of Vinci, near Florence, on May 25; and only after a trial run in the dessert, he has already sold five units in Japan and two to US customers. The cost for one is a reasonable $58,250; with an average flight speed of 31 mph, its still better than most cars! I'd love to fly everyday to work, but that would cause even more problems with flight and aviation department, not to mention the tonnes of helipads that companies would need to build!! Well, maybe our grand-kids would see that aspect of the world, but for now, I'm just happy with this single-person private helicopter that can fly me to places catering to my whims!
AceCraft is the licensed distributor in the US for this single-person helicopter and their website can answer most of questions and queries, with loads of information and photos.
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