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Old Kolibrie Helicopter


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Why is it exactly, that tip jets, or tip engine, helicopters never came into style?


My understanding, from walking around the Smithsonian NASM annex was that they just burned a ridiculous amount of fuel. If I'm reading the technical data on this correctly, 22 gallons of fuel will get you 60 miles. 22 gallons of fuel in a R-22 will get you almost three times that distance.

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If you havent read "The God Machine" I highly reccomend it. Its a great history of helicopters and describes the Tip-Jet helicopters. If my memory serves me correctly, they had the pilot use his legs as landing gear and could hover a little bit. The fuel burn was through the roof and tip jets are basically rockets so the noise was outstanding. The book is a great read.

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Much of the noise a helicopter makes comes from the engine. When there are multiple engines operating near supersonic, it gets very, very loud. Plus, it's just not very practical to operate engines spinning that fast. Far better and more economical to use fewer stationary engines. Cost is always an object.

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