At last! The perfect off-grid transport. Light, rugged and low energy, this little baby will get you to the shops and back in under an hour – even if you live, like I do, down a dirt track in the back of beyond.
Resembling something out of the space-age cartoon The Jetsons, the compact flying machine has been unveiled by the Japanese firm Gen Corporation.
The 75kg helicopter, named GEN H-4, has a set of two rotors and can fly at a maximum speed of 50 kilometres per hour.
But careful – you still have to be quite light to ride it – also in development is a more powerful version with 15hp engines that will carry a larger pilot built more specifically for the American market.
There is not much to see on the outside. The frame is 2 inch aluminum pipe bent and welded, with a fiberglass backpack and funny looking wheels. The controls are direct, like many gyrocopters. In front of the pilot attached to the control bar is the control panel with the throttle (altitude control), tachometer, ignition power, starter and yaw switches. The tools necessary for flight do not seem like much because they aren’t. This is not only the lightest helicopter in the world, but it is the easiest to fly!
If you look closely at the power pack (on top of the air craft) you will find four astonishingly small twin cylinder engines feeding into a central transmission with two sets of rotors turning in opposite directions.
If you would like to see one fly please follow the links below and at the top of the page to learn more about this amazing helicopter.
And now its Japanese developer, Gennai Yanagisawa, 75, is planning to take his invention to the Italian city of Vinci, the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci, to honour the Italian artist and inventor.
For much of his life, da Vinci was fascinated by the phenomenon of flight and produced many studies of the flight of birds, including his 1505 Codex on the Flight of Birds.
He also drew up plans for several flying machines, including a helicopter and a light hang glider.
Mr Yanagisawa said: “Since the concept of our helicopter came from Italy, I always wanted to take a flight in the birthplace of da Vinci.
“I feel like I�m greeting an ancestor. I hope da Vinci would be pleased,” he