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Helicopters

Bell Helicopter has thrown its tiltrotor hat into the ring for the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi Role (JMR)/Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program with the unveiling of its V-280 Valor tiltrotor concept at the 2013 Army Aviation Association of America's (AAAA) Annual Professional Forum and Exposition in Fort Worth, Texas. The aircraft is up against an X2-based design from Boeing and Sikorsky, a coaxial design from AVX Aircraft, and a still unknown proposal from EADS. Read More
If current technology trends are any indication, it's possible that human lifeguards could be replaced by robots in the future. So far, we've seen a remote-controlled rescue buoy and a salamander-like bot that travels on both water and land, among many others. Rather than having to cut through rough water to get to folks in trouble like many search and rescue robot designs, an Iranian research center proposes a quadcopter called Pars that launches from a floating platform and drops life preservers precisely where they're needed. Read More

A team of masters students from the Queen Mary, University of London is hoping to develop the world’s first photovoltaic multi-copter. Dubbed "Solarcopter," the team's creation is a solar powered remote controlled helicopter-prototype designed for multipurpose applications. Read More

Last September, the Gamera II team from the A. James Clark School of Engineering got so close to claiming the Sikorsky Prize of US$250,000 for human-powered helicopter flight that the American Helicopter Society must surely have been preparing to pull the dust covers off the safe and hand over the cash. Gamera II features a huge cross-shaped frame with enormous rotors at each of its four points, which are powered by sustained hand and foot pumping from a pilot at the center. It's a design that's been used by many of those attempting to nab the elusive prize (including AeroVelo's Atlas), but Georgia's Kenneth Huff has a rather more compact vision for success. Read More
Starting in April, 2013, the Arlington Texas police department will have permission from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to fly two small helicopter UAVs over the city in certain situations, including taking crime scene photos or looking for missing persons. While these UAVs have been operating for some time, until now flights have been restricted to remote testing area. Read More
Sikorsky’s coaxial X2 Demonstrator may have taken its last flight, but the rotorcraft’s design will serve as the basis for a new aircraft proposed by Sikorsky and Boeing. The companies will submit a joint proposal to build the new aircraft for Phase 1 of the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Technology Demonstrator (TD) program that aims to deliver the next generation of vertical lift utility and attack aircraft. Read More

There are plenty of remote-control micro helicopters that are operated via a smartphone app or a dedicated control unit, and even one that’s controlled by the user’s brain, but Air Hogs has come up with yet another approach. The company’s soon-to-be-released AtmoSphere chopper moves in response to the proximity of the user’s hand. Read More

For the last few years, Puzzlebox has been publishing open source software and hacking guides that walk makers through the modification of RC helicopters so that they can be flown and controlled using just the power of the mind. Full systems have also been custom built to introduce youngsters to brain-computer interfaces and neuroscience. The group is about to take the project to the next stage by making a Puzzlebox Orbit brain-controlled helicopter available to the public, while encouraging user experimentation by making all the code, schematics, 3D models, build guides and other documentation freely available under an open-source license. Read More
Almost a year ago, the Japanese Ministry of Defense made quite a splash when it revealed a spherical, remote-controlled aircraft that could zip around a room, roll along the ground, and even bounce off obstacles without losing control. But while it was mainly designed for search and rescue operations, many R/C enthusiasts took one look at that hovering Death Star and said, "I have got to get me one of those." Luckily, toy company Kyosho must have been listening, since it recently released a similar flying machine of its own for consumers. Kyosho's "Space Ball" can remain airborne while taking just as much punishment and even emits a fragrance to freshen up a room in the process. Read More
The efforts of Maryland University's Gamera II team in snaring the US$250,000 Sikorsky Prize for human-powered helicopter flight have garnered much attention (not least from Gizmag) in recent months, and with good reason. But the team is by no means alone in chasing down its sadistic requirements set by the American Helicopter Society in 1980. First tested in August, The Atlas helicopter, by human-powered vehicle specialists AeroVelo, is the latest machine to enter the fray, and has already flown successfully, becoming only the fourth human-powered helicopter to do so. Read More
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