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Helicopters

Griffin's latest version of its HELO TC toy helicopter comes with Android support and twin...

It's another typical day in the office when your co-worker conspicuously begins to play "Ride of the Valkyries" on high volume. Before you can react to the strange shift in tone, you hear the "thwip thwip" sound of a helicopter coming your direction, as if you've stumbled into a cubicle version of Apocalypse Now. Next thing you know, a bright light shines over your cube wall and in your face, blinding you right before you spot two missiles launching straight at you ... which then bounce off your chest since they're made of plastic. You've just become the latest victim of the HELO TC Assault, the newest toy helicopter from Griffin that includes Android support and twin missile launchers.  Read More

With the announcement of the AACUS program, we may be closer to the day when United States...

We may be closer to the day when United States Marines will, within a matter of minutes, use a handheld app to summon robotic helicopters to deliver battlefield supplies. On Tuesday, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced its five-year, US$98 million Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS) program, with the specific aim of developing "sensors and control technologies for robotic vertical take-off and landing aircraft."  Read More

Swann Sky Eye RC helicopter with camera

An iPhone app and a camera take flight in the new remote control helicopters from Swann. Three models include i-Fly Micro Lightning, Sky Eye and Black Swan. The i-Fly Micro Lightning lets you control the helicopter via an app for the iPhone, iPod or iPad. The Sky Eye and Black Swann models house a camera capable of taking still and video images.  Read More

The unmanned K-MAX undergoing testing earlier this year (Image: Lockheed Martin)

The unmanned Kaman K-MAX helicopter has made its first combat resupply mission in Afghanistan. Designed to reduce the reliance on truck convoys that are often targeted by IED (improvised explosive device) strikes when resupplying front-line troops in remote areas and manned aircraft that place their crews in danger, the unmanned aircraft is a modified K-MAX intermeshing rotor helicopter with the ability to lift a payload of over 6,000 pounds (2,721 kg).  Read More

AH-64D Apache Combat Helicopter gets upgraded

Boeing has now produced more than 1200 of its fearsome US$20 million AH-64 multi-role attack helicopter, but with the first deliveries of the latest AH-64D Apache Block III this week, the capabilities of the 36 year old design have been lifted significantly. The Block III Apache incorporates 26 new technologies, a vastly improved 3,400 shaft horsepower drive system with a split-torque face gear transmission, a new composite main rotor blade, an enhanced digital electronic control unit, better performance and more payload, which effectively equals either more range, or more firepower.  Read More

German aircraft company e-volo has accomplished what it claims is the world's first manned...

By now, most readers are probably pretty familiar with quadracopters - small hovering unmanned electric aircraft, which get their lift from a set of four propellers. Well, make the whole thing larger, boost the number of propellers (and accompanying motors) to 16, and you get what German aircraft developer e-volo calls a multicopter. While the company has previously demonstrated unmanned drones, on October 21st it accomplished what it claims is a world first - a manned flight.  Read More

The US Navy has successfully flown its MQ-8B Fire Scout UAV on a blend of JP-5 aviation fu...

The US Navy has successfully flown its MQ-8B Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) on biofuel. The unmanned helicopter became the Navy's first UAV to use biofuel technology when it took-off on Friday over Webster Field in St. Inigoes, Maryland, running on a blend of JP-5 aviation fuel and plant-based camelina. The Navy says that the use of this blend cuts carbon dioxide output by 75 percent when compared to conventional aviation fuel.  Read More

Pascal Chretien's prototype electric helicopter takes flight

It's easy to look back at the history of exploration and aviation and feel like there's no mountains left to climb, that the age of the great pioneers is behind us and we're doomed to a future of LCD tanning and monitor hypnosis. But don't try telling that to Pascal Chretien. On August 12, this electrical/aerospace engineer and helicopter pilot took to the air in the world's first untethered, fully electric manned helicopter flight in a prototype machine that he designed and built almost entirely by himself within a 12 month development period. In his 2 minute, 10 second test flight, Chretien beat aviation giant Sikorsky into the record books - but it was not without significant risk. As the man himself puts it: "in case of crash I stand good chances to end up in kebab form."  Read More

Hovering for 11.4 seconds has secured a place in the record books for the Gamera team, and...

A biology student has just hovered her way into the record books in a four-rotor, human-powered helicopter named after a giant flying turtle from Japanese kaiju movies. Gamera was built to try and claim the American Helicopter Society's Sikorsky Prize, that was set up in 1980 and has yet to be claimed. The team's first flights in May resulted in a 4.2-second U.S. national record, and now the record page has had to be rewritten again after the young pilot's frantic combination of hand and foot pedaling action kept Gamera in the air for nearly three times longer, during the recent summer flight sessions.  Read More

Griffin's HELO TC is controlled via an IOS device's touchscreen or accelerometer

iDevices seem to be the control interface of choice for increasing numbers of remote controlled devices - just look at Parrot's AR.Drone and the iPhly app. Now Griffin, a company well known for its range of iPhone, iPod and iPad accessories, has joined the growing number of iPhone controlled flying gizmos with its HELO TC Helicopter. The pint-sized, twin-rotored helicopter works in conjunction with the accompanying HELO TC app that transforms the multi-touch display of an iOS device into a remote control.  Read More

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