The origins of the Helicopter and its Pioneers
On 8 April the Scottish branch welcomed back founder member Nigel Gardner, who spoke on the development of rotary flight.
Rotary flight is believed to have been first considered by the Chinese, and various concepts were hypothesised by various inventors, of whom Leonardo da Vinci is the best known.
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there were a number of attempts to develop working models, although none possessed suufficient power/weight to be practical. The evolution of the internal combustion engine eventually resolved that issue, and shifted the focus towards control of flight. The autogyro represented the first practical rotary flying machine and this developed into the helicopters we recognise today.
Discussions ensued as to the efficiency of coaxial rotors in comparison with tail rotors, the function of autorotation, and the merits of various helicopter designs.
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