Friday, 16 Sep, 2011 Technology

Latest Invention: World's First Manned Electric Helicopter


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Pascal Chretien, an electrical and aerospace engineer managed to develop the world's first manned helicopter powered entirely by electricity. On August 12th, the engineer carried out the fist test flight that lasted 2 minutes and 1o seconds.

The most interesting, however, is the fact that the helicopter was designed and built by Chretien alone. In order to create his DIY electric helicopter, the designer required 12 months.

It is worth mentioning that so far electric vehicles did not make it onto the market due to the fact that the flight dynamics of such a machine requires a lot of energy, which traditional batteries cannot provide.

While electric planes need a lot of energy in the take of phase, helicopters require strong energy delivery during the take off, flying and landing phases. Thus, it was a great challenge for Pascal Chretien when Solution F, a firm based in France, asked him to create the first manned electric helicopter.

The main things that Pascal had in mind were ultra-light design and powerful batteries. He came up with a number of innovations that brought him closer to accomplishing the mission. The frame of his helicopter was made from 7020 aluminum tubing. The French company wanted a helicopter that could stay in the air from about 10 minutes.

Chretien used rechargeable lithium ion polymer pouch cells that boast an energy density of 160 watt-hours per kg. In the end the engineer delivered a manned electric helicopter can performed a test flight. Although he did not reach the required standard of 10 minutes established by Solution F, Chretien decided to make a number of modifications that would allow him to meet the target of 10 minutes, reports Gizmag.

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