May 15, 08
World’s Smallest Helicopter To Make Demonstration Flight in Italy

The world’s smallest one-man helicopter will soon take flight in the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci, who is credited with having first thought of a vertical-flight machine, its developer said. The 75-kilogram helicopter will make a demonstration flight in the city of Vinci, near Florence, on May 25, according to Japanese developer Gennai Yanagisawa, 75. “Since the concept of our helicopter came from Italy, I always wanted to take a flight in the birthplace of da Vinci,” Yanagisawa said.

“I feel like I’m greeting an ancestor. I hope da Vinci would be pleased,” Yanagisawa told AFP. The helicopter, named GEN H-4, has a set of two rotors turning in opposite directions and can fly at a maximum speed of 50 kilometres per hour.

Guinness World Records in February recognised it as the world’s smallest helicopter that can carry a person. Da Vinci’s sketch, dated in 1493 and discovered in the 19th century, shows a vertical flight machine. As in the drawing, the GEN H-4 has no tail. The current model is priced at $58,250.