If helicopters are so safe, how come there are no vintage/classic helicopter fly-ins?
Mercedes-Benz has teamed up with the European rotary-winged aircraft consortium (a sister company of Airbus under the EADS umbrella) to develop a Mercedes-Benz version of the Eurocopter EC145. The helicopter itself is intended to be used for executive commutes, family trips as well as leisure and sport trips but it won’t exceed 167 mph. Nevertheless and for what it may lack in speed, the helicopter more than makes up for it in both comfort and styling.
After all, the EC145 "Mercedes-Benz Style” was conceived by the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in Como, Italy, and its interior is inspired by the interiors of the automaker’s range of high-end vehicles. Hence, helicopter features deluxe materials such as elegant woods and ambient cabin lighting. All seats in the helicopter are also mounted on rails and can be easily reconfigured to seat four to eight passengers or removed to make room for all that extra luggage for a family vacation.
However and if you are already imagining yourself buzzing around the skies over London in your very own SL65 AMG, you may want to first consider the price tag. While ordinary Eurocopter EC145s start at US$5.5 million, the Mercedes-Benz version will probably go for closer to €6 million or approximately US$8.5 million. For that much, you could probably buy a whole fleet of Mercedes-Benz – along with a large London parking garage to store them in!
Earlier this month, a team of 52 graduate students from the University of Maryland were able to get the first human-powered helicopter called the Gamera off the ground. In the video of the flight, it appears the helicopter achieved liftoff of roughly 3 to 5 inches and a hover time of 4 seconds – still shorter than the Wright Brothers’ historical flight but at least there was liftoff. However, the flight will still need to be confirmed by the National Aeronautics Association and the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.
The project is part of an effort to set an aviation ‘first’ along with a world record plus win the $ 250 000 Sikorsky Challenge.
The helicopter itself was constructed of light weight materials such as balsa wood, carbon fiber, foam and mylar and has a backbone consisting of a massive X frame where each crossbar measures 18 meter or 60 feet. Four huge rotors measuring 12.6 meters or 42 feet long then sit at the ends of the crossbars. The entire contraction takes ups a about a third of a football field but it only weighs roughly 95 kilograms or 210 pounds (not counting the weight of the pilot). The pilot (in this case, 24 year old graduate student Judy Wexler) sits in the middle and peddles HARD to fly the thing.
To watch the flight, check out this video but do note that the actual flight comes at about the three minute mark.
Here is a really bizarre story and video that was first mentioned on the Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association (COPA) blog and involved a turkey vulture striking a helicopter in Miami just before the Superbowl. According to the pilot, he saw the turkey vulture outside the helicopter and next thing he knew, the bird was sitting on his lap after leaving a big hole in the windshield! Luckily, the pilot had kept his hands on the controls and safely landed the helicopter – despite the 80 mile an hour winds blowing through the windshield hole. However, the most amazing and perhaps bizarre part of the story was the fact that the turkey vulture was merely dazed and still managed to fly off after the helicopter landed. Now that is one lucky pilot and an even more lucky (and perhaps hard headed) bird!
The US Coast Guard had a problem. In the mid-nineties, smugglers in the Caribbean started using ‘go-fasts.’ These speed boats were bringing in two tons of drugs at a time and making 40 or 50 knots. Only one in ten were being stopped. The Coast Guard knew they need something faster. Much faster. So they deployed eight MH-68A “Stingray” helicopters at Jacksonville, Florida. [Read more…] about Agusta 109 Power Elite