Originally set forth in 1980, the Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition is deceptively simple: keep a human-powered helicopter aloft at 3 meters within a 10m by 10m square for 1 minute. The prize? $250,000. In the past 33 years, great progress has been made (Davinci III, Yuri I, Gamera I, Gamera II Previously), but no one has succeeded until Aerovelo's Atlas.
Gamera II is the University of Maryland's Human-Powered Helicopter. So far it has remained aloft for 65.1 seconds and reached an altitude of 9.4 feet, not quite enough to win the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter competition. [more inside]
The Monopoly game has used the same 8 "base tokens" (car, thimble, boot, scotty dog, battleship, top hat, iron, wheelbarrow) since the 1950s (with a few extras added to "Deluxe Editions"), and since it's been 15 minutes since Parker Brothers' last promotion, they're doing internet voting at their Facebook page to "SAVE YOUR TOKEN". In "American Idol" style, the one with the fewest votes will be replaced by the top-vote-getter among 5 "New Tokens" (robot with mustache, big-ass diamond ring, cat, helicopter, awkwardly-balanced guitar). So far, Scottie Dog has a third of the votes (take THAT, cat people), while Whellbarrow and Absurdly-Oldfashioned-Iron are bringing up the rear. VOTE DAILY to support your favorite "chocking hazard for under 3 yrs. old"
Rescue of a model airplane using a helicopter (five minute YouTube video)
If I Fly a UAV Over My Neighbor's House, Is It Trespassing? "The wide availability of UAV technology (combined with HD video) scrambles my sense of what is right. Specifically, it points out how much of our sense of privacy is intimately connected up with our expectations of our property rights. Drones - as flying, seeing objects - scramble our 2D sense of property boundaries, and along the way, make privacy much more complicated." [more inside]
Agustin is a Honduran shoemaker. Stricken with polio in his youth, he has spent more than 50 years creating something incredible. (SLVIMEO)
RC Helicopter Kung Fu (Warning! Very silly music!)
Television New Zealand have captured some extraordinary, gut wrenching footage of a helicopter getting its rotor blades tangled in cables and crashing on Auckland's waterfront. The pilot has apparently walked away without serious injury.
Video of the first woman in a human powered helicopter piloting the University of Maryland Gamera Helicopter. [more inside]
A Tragedy of Errors. On Feb. 21, 2010, a convoy of vehicles carrying civilians headed down a mountain in central Afghanistan and American eyes in the sky were watching. "The Americans were using some of the most sophisticated tools in the history of war, technological marvels of surveillance and intelligence gathering that allowed them to see into once-inaccessible corners of the battlefield. But the high-tech wizardry would fail in its most elemental purpose: to tell the difference between friend and foe." FOIA-obtained transcripts of US cockpit and radio conversations and an interactive feature provide a more in-depth understanding of what happened.
Got an iPhone? Always wanted to fly a helicopter? AR Drones allow you to fly a quadricopter with mounted video cameras through your iPhone. [more inside]
When Parents Won't Cut the Cord. As a reaction to helicopter parents (who read books about the stages of grief so they can cope with their kid's growing up), colleges are literally shutting the gates on parents who can't let go.
What happens when you strap one of those new Canon 7D SLR cameras that do HD video to a remote controlled helicopter? You get amazing video, on the cheap. [via]
Most people consider the remote control helicopter quite intimidating. As a beginner, your first few hovers are pure white-knuckle terror. Thanks to negative pitch, these little helis can fly inverted. And some people can do truly awe-inspiring freestyle routines (this style of flying is called "3D"). Part of the reason they're so intimidating is that nearly every crash is a total writeoff. Keep in mind, these aren't Radio Shack toys; they sometimes kill people [more inside]
Presenting the hexacopter fantatsic miniature helicopter with multiple rotors. boy this thing can fly. has camera and gps. single link, wimp.com
Turkey buzzard mistakes helicopter pilot for Santa Claus. No birds or pilots were harmed in the filming of the incident. Too bad about the windshield. (via)
Stunning pictures by Michael Yon show what happens when helicopters land in dust storms: The Kopp-Etchells Effect is thought to be the result of static electricity created by friction as materials of dissimilar material strike against each other, in this case titanium/nickel blades moving through the air and dust, but a precise definition is as of now not known. [more inside]
What does an aircraft company do when military contracts dry up? Fairey’s answer was to reinvent the helicopter and revolutionize the short-haul airline industry. After 15 years of effort, its unique project, the Rotodyne, came within an inch of achieving that goal. The Fairey Rotodyne, which first took to the air more than 50 years ago, was billed as the world's first vertical take-off commercial passenger aircraft. Fairey talked up expressions of interest from BEA in the UK, New York Airways and the US Army, but the crucial launch order never came. British government policy to rationalize the industry saw the end of the Rotodyne and Fairey as an airframe maker in 1962.
Your mother has eyes in the back of her head. Chicago Public Schools sends parents a text message when their child is not in class or the kid's grades slip. Mayor Daley attends a demonstration. Chicago is not the only school district to use this technology. It's used in Calloway County, Kentucky. Memphis, Tennessee, and Saratoga Springs, New York, to name a few. It's not just used for monitoring your kids' grades. In San Antonio, you can also monitor the presidential propaganda that's fed to your kids! But what if you want to monitor the text messages your kids receive? Radar alerts you when a "suspicious" person texts, calls, or emails your kid.
The Deadly Cost of Swooping In to Save a Life (single-page version): Deregulation and America's health care system combine to make medical helicopters increasingly dangerous.
Real men catch fish like this.
Even the cheesiest novelist wouldn't dare write this one: Greece's most notorious criminal, kidnapper Vassilis Paleokostas, breaks out of a maximum security prison by grabbing onto a rope ladder dangling from an accomplice's hijacked helicopter, as guards open fire and a woman shoots back from the chopper. This happens as he's being transported to a hearing to face charges related to breaking out of jail in 2006 by grabbing onto a rope ladder being dangled from a helicopter hijacked by his brother, bank robber Nikos Paleokostas, hailed by some poor Greeks as a modern day Robin Hood. There are already half a dozen Facebook fan clubs. Sadly dull video of the departing chopper here. The pilot, found tied up, and four prison guards have been arrested.
"US helicopter raid" in Syria. Could this be an October Surprise? Many have hinted this election's October Surprise will be the capture of Osama Bin Ladin or a resurgence of terrorist activity. As we recall, news media had jumped on a McCain Aide who claimed a terrorist attack would benefit McCain in the Election.
523 years after his original drawing, DaVinci's parachute design is proven to actually work. There was an earlier attempt, but apparently the wooden frame specified by DaVinci likely would have seriously maimed the jumper. Perhaps not entirely coincidentally, the 2008 jump was made from a helicopter - another one of DaVinci's concepts.
An arborist in a helicopter Arborist Todd Irvine gets a ride in a news chopper, photographing and annotating Toronto’s tree canopy – still largely in place and vibrantly colourful due to winter’s late arrival. [more inside]
Two news helicopters met in a deadly midair collision today while covering a police chase on live television (video, tragic but not graphic).
A somber video with music purporting to show the downing of a US helicopter surfaces on the New York Times and YouTube. Some background here.
Heli-Africa - Wildlife photographer Michael Poliza's photo journal from a just completed 2 month helicopter tour from Hamburg to Cape Town. These are a few samples to potentially whet the appetite.
Metal Storm Limited specializes in weapon systems featuring rapid fire electronically fired bullets, up to 1 million a minute. The weapons platform can be used to make the worlds strongest handgun as well as be used to equip unmanned drones with firepower. The most frightening of which is perhaps the "dragonfly" micro copter. Their site has a number of videos showcasing some of the various weapons applications. Metal Storm has been around for a while, without getting a product to market, but with a recent influx of funding it doesn't look like they are going to go out of business any time soon.
"The Hayward Fault is locked and loaded. It is ready to fire at any time." The U.S. Geological Survey has a Google Earth-based "virtual helicopter tour" and other annotated views of The Hayward Fault. There's a 70% probability of a major earthquake hitting the San Francisco Bay Area before 2030, and Hayward is the most likely fault [PDF] for an earthquake (or is it?). Bad things will happen. Fortunately we're completely unprepared. [more inside]
Imagine what it might feel like to get hit in the head by a rotating helicopter blade. Johnny Lowe found out two days ago -- and has survived to earn the nickname "Chopper".
Because spaceflight, in and of itself, is just way to easy. On 08 August 2001, NASA launched Genesis. It was a spacecraft that would spend 1125 days in space, including 884 days collecting 0.4 milligrams of solar particles. At that point, it would launch a 500 lbs return vehicle that would travel 600 mph back to earth. When it enters the atmosphere, at approximately 11:55am EST on Wednesday of this week, it will be going close to twenty-five thousand mph. Oddly enough, this is the easy part of the mission.
Because then, two minutes later, NASA is going to catch it. In mid-air. With a helicopter. Really.
Because then, two minutes later, NASA is going to catch it. In mid-air. With a helicopter. Really.
Custom paint job on Afghan Hind attack chopper. Impressive, but why? (Via Gizmodo)
Police seize Vietnamese farmer's unlicensed, homebuilt helicopter This NYT/AP report convinced me that globalization truly dooms that American middle class pitted against such dedication. Yankee tinkering once provided a foundation for the North American industrial revolution. But now:' The farmer said he won't give up, vowing to sell his house or 25 acres of land if that's what it takes to get the license. "If I cannot do it, my children or my grandchildren will do it,'' he said. '
Remember the Coastal Records Project? When I first heard about this, I applauded, then wasted a couple of hours looking at the nice pics. But I couldn't help wondering when they'd run into some compound of a celebrity who'd put up a stink (okay, I was hoping it would be Ah-nold, and there'd be a scene reminiscent of his movies, stinger missile launched from his patio at the helicopter...) alas, it's only Barbara. Still, does this only make me wonder if our celebrities are helping push through laws to establish themselves in a higher class than us peons? Please note that the irony of rich people suing each other isn't lost on me, and I'm not trying to put forward that it could be any one of us touring in a helicopter doing this. But I mean, the guy's taking picture's of the whole coast, not just some star-map, coastline version. Until this lawsuit, I'd wager, only the most dedicated stalker would've known this was her place. But now...
California Coastal Records Project. Rich guy with a helicopter and a digital camera posting high-resolution pictures on the internet of every mile of the California coastline, 500 feet at a time. (Related Washington Post article.)
The war on drugs claims forest as casualty. A forest fire that burned out of control for almost two weeks and devastated over 50,000 acres near San Diego was caused by a helicopter looking for pot farms, a California Department of Forestry investigation has concluded. [link via disinfo]
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