Hat tip to the Flight School blog for posting three videos of a homebuilt helicopter in China. Apparently, a farmer named Chen Zhao Rong who has only a primary school education but a dream to fly built the helicopter by making and welding all of the parts himself and then checking the design against photos he found on the Internet. After buying a second hand motor for the helicopter, his overall cost amounted to about RMB70,000 (or £6,600 or US$10,600).
Unfortunately and after only a few months of flying, his engine stopped while flying 70km/h to another village and crashed into a field. Although unhurt, his wife threatened to leave him unless he stopped flying while the local police made him sign a document stating that he would never fly the contraption again. Hence, he then sold it to a friend for RMB20,000 (US$3,000 or £1,900).
However, there is some debate in the Youtube comments section about whether or not some of these videos are real or phony. Nevertheless, they look pretty authentic to us so decide for yourself!
Michael Mayes says
The first and second one look like an autogyro to me, which isn't really a helicopter due to the top rotor not being driven by the engine.
Still pretty cool though.
The third one looks like a different aircraft than the one in the first two videos. It does look like that one is a helicopter.
I once followed an autogyro in the pattern at my home base. It amused me greatly. It just showed up while I was out soloing during training.
Matthew Stibbe says
I guess an Autogyro is easier to build and easier to fly than a helicopter. But I couldn't build either of them! 🙂