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images credit: Ruslan Sharyga, Chris Clarke and Sven De Bevere Airliners.net
Airplanes you can understand: they're basically ust big birds, !ith recogni"able !ings, tail and body. But helicopters... are some!hat strange beasts. #t's a !onder !hy anyone took $r. Sikorsky %and his predecessors& seriously, and an even bigger !onder ho! they got anyone remotely sane enough to sit inside one o' those early prototypes and hit the S(AR( button. Beyond the 'act that helicopters came out o' le't 'ield %the 'ar, 'ar le't 'ield& the cra"iness continues !hen you begin to think about ho! easy it is 'or something to seriously )) and traumatically )) go !rong !ith one. An airplane, a'ter all, can glide i' its engines 'ail. An airship %dirigible, "eppelin, etc& can usually descend i' it loses too much li't. But a !hirlybird !ithout po!er has one ) and only one %barring autorotation& )) option: crash.
An *+,- helicopter crashes in the Bracciano .ake, #taly. $ore in'o/ photo by David Cenciotti
Columbia +elicopters in Alaska attempting to to! a barge... !ith a 0-- 'oot cable and up to 12 degrees nose lo! attitude/ photo by (ed 3eal
But, thank'ully, $r. Sikorsky didn't give up and today !e are lucky to have the results o' his !ork: incredibly 'le4ible, !onder'ully use'ul, spectacularly nimble aircra't. Although many breeds o' helicopter have become 5uite sa'e, there is still a lingering kind o' madness regarding these
helicopters !ere ump)started into being use'ul and moderately reliable machines. $osco!. the si"e)!ars !ith helicopters began a'ter 9orld 9ar ##. <ne o' the grander designs is one that is pretty 'amiliar as it's been used by both the 8S military as !ell as civilian companies in need o' some heavy li'ting.2-s sa! an e4plosion o' radical )) and in some cases terri'ying )) helicopter designs in both the 8nited States as !ell as the Soviet 8nion. the earliest Boeing Chinook popped up in the late 2-s but because o' its heavy li'ting skills. . (he . But this clumsy in'ancy didn't last very long. the early :-s aircra't !ere lucky enough to get into the air )) let alone get into the air !ithout killing the pilot. 1--7 ) image via& 8nlike airplanes..6!hirlybirds6: the drive to see ho! insanely huge !e can make them. like a lot o' aircra't technology. 9hile.ooking something like a t!in)rotored banana. stayed around 'or a very long time. .
1954. 9hile numbers are rarely impressive. via $odern.--. updated versions are still used all over the !orld.. May 18.: tons.. in 'act. (he Chinook. . is kind o' the poster)child 'or big helicopters. the si"e o' the numbers the modern Chinook can li't are still ones to give pause: 1@. !hich is about . >ot something heavy that needs to go 'rom impossible point A to impossible point B? $ore than likely the machine connecting the dots is a Chinook.pounds o' cargo.6+elicopters are coming=6 in Look Magazine.
being an incredibly versatile heavy hauler. 9hile not as oddly stylish as the Chinook. the $#)0 !as a true monster. Again created in the 2-s. some o' !hose descendants are still in use today. Almost all o' these types o' machines !ere very popular !ith the Soviets. This page has a few beautiful photos of incredibly detailed Mi ! scale "odel. made by the Soviet $ikhail $il design bureau. this po!erhouse could li't 10.pounds o' cargo %. spa!ning a !hole range o' monster helicopters.--.1 tons&.. built by #ernhard . 1& The whole range of Soviet "monster" helicopters Another >oliath is the $#)0.%images via .
and the $#)0 is damned huge. (ake a . Scale Rotors& 9hile the Chinook certainly appears odd.%images credit: Bernhard Aethe. other big helicopters begin to look like the designers !ere not trying 'or si"e as much as ust plain !eirdness.
Although its guts !ere 'rom the old. giving it the impression o' a bug)phobics nightmare dragon'ly. 9henever # look at the $#). reliable $#) 0..gander at the imaginatively)named Soviet MI !".# al!ays !onder i' the pilot ever 'orgot !hat he !as 'lying and stepped out )) 'alling do"ens o' 'eet to the tarmac: . this misshapen cousin sported 'our monster legs.
as)3egas and the Spruce >oose.%images via& *ot that the 8S hadn't had its o!n share o' big.B2 'eet across %the largest in the . helicopters. the #$ !% Sky Crane !as terri'yingly huge: the rotors alone !ere . Aerhaps because it !as created by +ughes. the same +ughes o' cra"y)in). and damned ugly.
and the !hole Sky Crane taking o'' like a hal')trans'ormed insectoid alien ship: .!orld&... #magine the a!)dropping e''ect !atching those insane rotors starting to s!ing.
%images via . 1& C+)2: (arhe recovering a damaged C): Ahantom ##: ..
see here: . again 'eatured as a beauti'ully)detailed model.%image via& Sikorsky S)0: Skycrane.
... Scale Rotors& (he Cairey Rotodyne. . advertised as the 6'irst vertical take)o'' airliner in the !orld6 %pro ect scrapped in .01& and the 'irst helicopter airline in the !orld: *e! Dork Air!ays.2B . .2..%image credit: Didier Aeillon.
irport. 1hite $lains. *ew +ork 0nternational . a co"pany called *ew +ork . and 3ta"ford periodically throughout the . 'perating in a fashion si"ilar to a bus line. 1est )2th 3treet in Manhattan. *eward . the helicopters flew to sites such as La /uardia . 195).irport.irways began the first regularly scheduled helicopter passenger ser-ice in the world.irport.%images via& &'n (uly 8.
But the )) yet again )) poetically named Mil * !+ looks nothing like anything be'ore or since: .day. Rotors? Check. Cuselage? Absolutely.-.& The &iggest helicopter to 'ate( an' one of the very strangest) Aside 'rom the bug)geared machines like the Sky Crane and the $#). (ail rotor 'or stability? Sure. most big helicopters usually look like smaller ones simply !rit large.
Click to enlarge to see detailed vie! %'rom Russian ($ maga"ine&: .
!th 19!9. and haul close to 22. right? But this is B#> !eirdness as the 3).--. +o! big? (hink o' it this !ay: see that 7:7 over there )) that monstrous 'i4ed !ing machine? 9ell.& . the 3). But unlike a 7:7.--.1 is as !ide as one o' those 7:7s.Sure it has rotors )) it !ouldn't be a helicopter !ithout them )) but !ith the 3).i' it takes o'' a bit less like a helicopter and more like a plane. the 3).pounds at the same time )) or @@.1 can take o'' straight up.1 they are placed on the side o' its massive 'uselage. ha-ing established a world record of load carrying capacity for helicopters which is not beaten till now. Mi 14 has lifted cargo in 44425 kg on height of 4455 ".ugust. &'n . 9eird.1 is commonly considered to be the largest helicopter in the !orld.
or a !hole dump truck. or a 'lying laboratory..1 inches in diameter. .. up to .%image via ($ maga"ine. Russia& Mi +. 9ith a cre! o' si4.The &iggest operational helicopter in the worl' Don't get close. or even approach it !hen the rotors are spinning: 6this chopper's !ash !ill pick up and 'ling rocks. !ith space to spare.. around like leaves=6.passengers. this 6+alo6 %*A(< reporting name& mega helicopter can carry 7.
$i)10 does indeed look big: .%images credit: $arty *orth& 9hen compared !ith a typical Chinook.
!hich is really a shame.udlam.1 is signi'icantly bigger than $i)10 %ho!ever. $i).%image credit: +enry . $i). Still. i' you ask me&: %image via& .1 is not in operation. Scale Rotors& See a detailed chart o' this cra't on this page.
in a sling: %image credit: AviaStar& $i)10 main rotor head and main gearbo4: %image credit: AviaStar& .$i)10 carrying $i)..
!hile Chinook stars in an incredible rescue operation.fghan $ersons 5nder 8ontrol .3. The 8hinook helicopter is touching down to recei-e . con'irmed as true by Snopes %details here& ) &*o-e"ber 422). .r"y 3gt.$58< captured by "e"bers of the 5. 12th Mountain =i-ision& .3. a 5.fghanistan.$i)10 li'ts the $+):7e Chinook in A'ghanistan %le't image&..3. led coalition launched 'peration Mountain 6esol-e in the *uristan and 7unar pro-inces of . /reg 9eath. The abo-e displayed photograph of the precarious looking rooftop landing by a 89 4: 8hinook helicopter was taken during that operation by 5.
1951: .. !ith 'ull)si"ed turbo et engines at the rotor tips. Cali'ornia. nothing beats this concept 'rom $opular Mechanics Magazine.%images via& 9e've also received a tip that the "Largest helicopter that has &een seriously propose'" !as. perhaps. >eb. !hich is 'eatured in +iller $useum in San Carlos. (he museum has documents and a 'ilm 'rom a %semi& serious proposal 'rom +iller to recover Saturn 3 booster stages in midair. and more in'o "$ere's your helicopter coupe!" As 'or the smallest helicopters.RA$.'oot rotor turning at . (he e4act helicopter specs !e can't locate. using an enormous helicopter. +ere is a history o' the +iller Aircra't concepts. but it !as something like a 1-. (he +iller)Copter.
'rom the early . there !as a $iller #$ // Copter.6 .%images via Cuturistic (ransportation and (ekhnika $olode"hi. built and succes'ully 'le! ) in .::= ) making it 6the 'irst helicopter !ith coa4ial rotors to 'ly success'ully in the 8nited States..a +. designed. being . Russia& Compare it !ith the diminutive and very practical Soviet .. !hich Stanley +iller. years old. And then.7-s %you could attach various 'unctional blocks behind the pilot's cabin& ) see image above. on the right..
#t's been around 'or long time. and delivers results: their signature mini)copter has 'lo!n 'aultlessly since 1--1 %more in'o here& .%image via. more in'o& Carter Copter.looking into the future Carter Copter is the proverbial small company 6that could6.
things !ere really looking into the 'uture !ith . B& <n the Russian side.a 01 Stealth $elicopter ) . 1.%images via ..
!ell. yes. *e4t time you see some draconic monstrosity 'ly overhead.. it remained a concept.. don't ump to conclusion that this is an apocalyptic Angel o' Doom. or !orse.. #t could be ust one o' these giant helicopters. Dour guess is as good as mine.6Black >host6 %it looks too good to be true. casting a crooked shado! on the co!ering !orld belo!.. but pushed design envelopes 'or other models&. indeed: . so perhaps this stealthy creature is being resurrected. on a mission 'rom. 6>hosts6 hardly die completely. udging 'rom thrilling picture belo!. some o' the missions could be pretty intense. almost good enough 'or a cool videogame ) and.
%image credit: $odern $echani4& .