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Human sized electric helicopter?


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I'm curious to find out if any company/or anyone has made a full sized electric helicopter that can carry 1 person. If not, why? All I see are model electric helicopters, which I'm not into. Hell, you could even add in pedal-power and/or solar power to help keep the batteries charged on it for a longer flight. Just wondering if theres a reason why no one seems to have tried it, at least not that I can find.

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I'm just going to guess on this one but I believe its a power to weight thing. The helicopter I am training in has a 225hp turbocharged piston engine and it is relatively small and light. A 225hp DC motor is going to be huge, pluss the weight of enough batteries to power the craft for more than just a few minutes is going to be that much weight again. I'd say with current motor/battery technology, no. You did say to carry one person though. For that I'd say maybe, but not for any more than a few minutes.

 

I'm curious to find out if any company/or anyone has made a full sized electric helicopter that can carry 1 person. If not, why? All I see are model electric helicopters, which I'm not into. Hell, you could even add in pedal-power and/or solar power to help keep the batteries charged on it for a longer flight. Just wondering if theres a reason why no one seems to have tried it, at least not that I can find.
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Well, you don't need an engine that can produce that kind of energy for a helicopter. There has been a number of universities that have tried making human-powered helicopters. I went through their websites/information and it's been shown that with the right setup you can get a helicopter to lift-off/fly on 500 watts of energy (maybe even less). Now, if they just added some electric power with that, it might be much better for flying. Although, I'm not sure just how much power a series of batteries would be able to produce and for how long.

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Since we're on the topic of alternate power sources for helicopters, I always wondered about the possibilities of an electro-magnetic drive for a helicopter. Something along the lines of how they use that type of drive for mag-lev trains, but instead of the force driving a vehicle down a track, it turns the rotors instead.

 

No clue how one would go aboot doing it, just a thought.

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Since we're on the topic of alternate power sources for helicopters, I always wondered about the possibilities of an electro-magnetic drive for a helicopter. Something along the lines of how they use that type of drive for mag-lev trains, but instead of the force driving a vehicle down a track, it turns the rotors instead.

 

No clue how one would go aboot doing it, just a thought.

...er, it's called an electric motor.

 

A maglev train is propelled by a linear induction motor, basically an electric motor "unwrapped" and laid flat. If you remember direct-drive turntables form the late '70s and early '80s (the Technics SL5200 being one of the few still produced), that would be the essence of a direct-drive electric rotor. However, unless you could guarantee 100% reliability, you'd still need a transmission for autorotation.

 

The kicker isn't the weight of the electric motor, it's the weight of the energy required to drive the motor. In fact, electric motors alone have a very favorable power-to-weight ratio compared to internal combustion engines (even turbines). The challenge is finding a container that will hold that much energy in electric form. Petroleum fuels have the advantage of packing a lot of power per pound. So far, technology has not found a source of electricity that comes remotely close.

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Sure way to become a billionaire. Invent a high capacity long life battery that is light. We had this discussion in my Sophomore class why back in, well, never mind.

 

 

 

Safe Flights

 

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Yup, thats about right. There are motors that can pack the horsepower to lift a one man heli. That requires about 40hp if the total weight of the aircraft+pilot is under about 400lbs. That estimate is assuming the best in class design of rotor dynamics.

 

 

You might want to read this page ( http://www.aviationtoday.com/cgi/rw/show_m...wexaircraft.htm )

 

It certainly seems possible to build a helicopter that can fly on 1-2hp , not 40hp like you are suggesting. So how about electric motors that generate that kind of horsepower and the batteries required to run them?

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It certainly seems possible to build a helicopter that can fly on 1-2hp...
For the same reason you don't see giant "Gossamer Condors" outside the gates at KORD, you won't see a 2-HP (or even 40-HP) helicopter anytime soon. Yep, an airplane will fly on less than one HP, a helicopter may (if they can get it lighter still), but neither of those aircraft will do anything useful except to prove it can be done.

 

When somebody comes up with a storage device that will deliver 150Kw continuously for three hours while weighing less than 400 lbs and able to be recharged in 30 minutes, we might see electric-powered helicopters (or cars, for that matter).

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One little side notes on those hybrid cars.....Those sales pitches that catch the naive people with the 60 MPG claims, fail to mention that the extra 10G you're going to drop on the car would pay for a TON of gasoline (even at $3.00/gallon and 30 mpg, that's 100,000 miles).

 

Consumer Reports says that one has to drive a hybrid over 250,000 miles BEFORE you break even with the technology cost, maintenance, etc.

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One little side notes on those hybrid cars.....Those sales pitches that catch the naive people with the 60 MPG claims, fail to mention that the extra 10G you're going to drop on the car would pay for a TON of gasoline (even at $3.00/gallon and 30 mpg, that's 100,000 miles).

 

Consumer Reports says that one has to drive a hybrid over 250,000 miles BEFORE you break even with the technology cost, maintenance, etc.

Just for the record, this is what Consumer Reports says:

 

The dollars & sense of hybrids

 

Gas/electric hybrid vehicles can present a dilemma for car buyers. On one hand, they are more fuel-efficient and produce lower emissions than conventional, gasoline-only vehicles. Most current models have also scored well in our testing and are highly rated in our reliability and owner-satisfaction surveys. But hybrids are typically priced thousands of dollars higher than similar all-gas models.

 

So, for people who believe that hybrids will also save them money, the picture hasn't been so clear. That's why Consumer Reports investigated all of the major ownership costs and financial benefits of these models. The study reveals two notable findings:

  • In our analysis, only two of the six hybrids we have tested recovered their price premium in the first five years and 75,000 miles of ownership (see Hybrids vs. all gas). The Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid provide a savings of about $400 and $300, respectively, over that period. But that is only if buyers are able to take advantage of limited federal tax credits. Extra ownership costs over five years for the other four models ranged from about $1,900 to $5,500, compared with those of similar all-gas models.
     
  • The benefits and costs of hybrids vary significantly, depending on the model. Because of the wide range of hybrid vehicles available, it's especially important for consumers to look carefully at all aspects of the vehicle before buying.

The benefits of hybrids

 

The rising price of gasoline and concern over U.S. dependence on oil have generated a lot of interest in hybrids, and with good reason. They typically deliver the best fuel economy in their classes. The Prius and Civic Hybrid delivered an excellent 44 and 37 mpg, respectively, in our real-world fuel-economy tests, which is the best gas mileage we've measured in any five-passenger vehicles. The Ford Escape Hybrid, which achieved the best fuel economy of any SUV we've recently tested, can save you about $660 per year in gasoline costs.

 

Hybrids emit less pollution, with some models classified as Partial Zero Emission Vehicles by the California Air Resources Board. Each gallon of gasoline not burned prevents the emission of 19 pounds of carbon dioxide, which many believe contributes to global warming.

 

Several hybrids--the Honda Accord, Lexus RX400h, Toyota Highlander, and Toyota Prius--are outstanding overall packages that score at or near the top of their categories in our Ratings (available to subscribers). Not only do the Accord, Highlander, and RX400h provide moderately better fuel economy than their conventional counterparts, but they also provide notably quicker acceleration. The Highlander and Prius are among our Top Picks for 2006.

 

So far, hybrids have shown excellent reliability in our Annual Car Reliability Survey. And owners are passionate about them, rating them among the best in our Annual Car Owner Satisfaction Survey.

 

In California, some hybrid drivers can use special car-pool lanes regardless of the number of occupants in the vehicle, a considerable benefit for commuters in traffic-choked areas. In Virginia, all hybrid drivers have this advantage. There are also federal and state tax incentives.

 

These benefits add up to an inviting package for many car buyers who are willing to pay a premium for them. But for those who believe that one of a hybrid's attractions is that it will save them money, our figures show that even the most cost-effective models require an investment of about five years to break even.

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