Segments in this Video

Introduction: The Helicopter Story (05:14)


Militaries use the versatile rotary winged aircraft for reconnaissance, evacuation, weapons and supply drops, transportation, amphibious landings, anti-submarine operations, and attack. Civilian applications include sea and fire rescues, firefighting, police patrol and enforcement, ranching, crop spraying, construction, and transport.

Early Developments (06:59)

Leonardo da Vinci designed the Lifting Screw; the Wright brothers made the first powered flight in 1903. Many attempted engineering rotary winged aircraft without achieving liftoff or stability. Juan de la Cierva invented the Autogyro; Louis Breguet produced the first helicopter with contra rotating blades.

Preparing for War (07:30)

Germany produced advanced helicopter technologies featured in Anton Flettner's Model 185, and Focke Achgelis FA-61 and Doblhoff WNF 342; they invented the warfare types and debuted the FL 282 Kolibri in 1941. United States based Igor Sikorsky designed the VS-300; he manufactured R-4's for the American and Royal Navies.

Wartime Innovations (05:14)

In 1941, Bell Aircraft Company funded a full sized prototype of Arthur Young's remote controlled model, incorporating the stabilizer bar; they produced the Bell Model 47 Sioux in 1945. The United States Navy commissioned Frank Piasecki to design the PV-3 for rescue missions.

The Fifties: Military Applications (04:05)

During the Korean War, helicopters evacuated injured troops, transporting them to MASH facilities; the Bell Sioux featured covered stretchers flanking the cabin. The versatile Sikorsky S-55 had six stretcher capacity. The British used the Bristol Sycamore and Sikorsky S-51 to fight communist camps in the Malayan Jungle.

The Fifties: Civil Applications (03:39)

Farmers used helicopters to spray crops, and harvest nuts; oil companies used them for prospecting, and pipeline patrol. Commuter types developed, including the Hiller Flying Donut. Howard Hughes aviation company produced the XH-17 Heavy Lift; the Sikorsky Sky Crane lifted 20 tons over 200 miles.

War Machine (09:59)

French military used Piasecki Flying Bananas and Sikorsky F-55 for transport during the Algerian conflict. During the Vietnam War, the United States Marines established the 11the Air Assault Brigade, equipped with Bell UH-1 Iroquois; the Army Air Mobile Division carried out large scale operations, locating Viet Cong with Hughes OH-6 Cayuse.

Air Mobile Operations (04:14)

After Vietnam, helicopters were adopted globally by militaries; Russians developed the Hind, used in the 1980s Afghanistan conflict. Tank busters were utilized by navies for anti-submarine and amphibious landing missions. During the Gulf War, the 101st Airborne Division set up refueling stations and attacked Iraq from within using Hughes Apache Gunships.

Modern Civil Uses (03:00)

During the 1980s, the helicopter was adopted by police forces, and firefighters; it was used for medical emergency transport, emergency evacuations, and humanitarian supply drops. The Russian Mi-26 Halo debuted, with 60 passenger capacity; NOTAR technology made rotary winged craft more maneuverable.

Credits: The Helicopter Story (00:42)

Credits: The Helicopter Story

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Century Of Flight: The Helicopter Story

Part of the Series : Century of Flight
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This episode of Century of Flight features the development of the versatile helicopter. See how Leonardo da Vinci's conceptual Flying Screw inspired the first engineering attempts by the likes of Sir George Cayley and Etienne Oehmichen. Observe the horror inflicted by the Bell 209 Huey Cobra during the Vietnam War and by the Hughes Apache Gunships during the Gulf War. Watch emergency rescues, humanitarian aid drops, crop dusting, firefighting, and police patrols performed by helicopters of various designs.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL185489

ISBN: 978-1-64623-964-1

Copyright date: ©1997

Closed Captioned

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