Aviation is a quickly progressing field that has gone through many breakthroughs over the past 100 years. Engineers are always toiling and coming up with safer, smoother, and better ways to fly. Interestingly, a considerable percentage of them are also reimagining the existing aircraft technologies and building the quirkiest kind of air transport.
There’s a significant amount of “out-of-the-box thinking” that has gone into helicopters. Aviation firms have successfully innovated existing helicopter designs and developed some mind-blowing helicopters.
From foldable rotors to a built-in parachute, there are various intriguing features offered by certain special helicopters. Here’s a video compilation of the most incredible helicopters ever created.
Helicopters that are unlike what you have ever seen before
Zefhir is a lightweight helicopter from Italy-based Curti Aerospace that doubles up on safety. It has a ballistic parachute safety system which comes into play when the main rotor faces issues. This can save lives in dire situations when a conventional landing might not be possible. Coming to its other major specs, it can fly at the speed of 185kmph, has a range of 319km, and can lift up to 699kg.
2. V-22 Osprey
Although this might look like an airplane at first, the V-22 Osprey is more of a helicopter in reality. It is a product of a Bell Helicopter-Boeing collaboration currently used by the American and Japanese forces. Its unique trait is the tilt-rotor design, which basically means that it has foldable rotors.
Moreover, this aircraft supports both vertical take-off and landing and short take-off and landing. V-22 Osprey can go 7.6km above the ground, reach speeds of 509-565kmph, and carry up to 9,070kg of internal cargo and 6,800kg of external cargo.
3. Kaman K-Max
The Kaman K-Max from U.S.-based Kaman Aircraft features a unique two-rotor arrangement called intermeshing rotors. It specializes in transporting heavy cargo and can lift a payload of more than 2,721kg. This intriguing helicopter has contributed to important construction and transportation missions over the years. Certain countries, including China and Malaysia, have used the helicopter’s abilities for firefighting.
4. Piasecki H-21B
This tandem rotor helicopter is a relic of the U.S. Air Force and was last used during the 1960s. Its bizarre-looking shape earned it the nickname “The Flying Banana.” Its development took place keeping Arctic rescue operations in mind, and hence, it could operate in extremely cold temperatures (−65 °F or −54 °C). As of today, it stars in various aircraft museums around the world in places such as the U.S., Canada, Japan, Germany, Russia, and France.
5. Mil Mi-26
Russian manufacturer Mil’s Mi-26 is an aerial goliath and the biggest helicopter in the world. It measures as tall as multiple-story buildings and can carry other aircraft with ease. An astonishing feat of engineering, it can lift about 20,000kg of payload successfully. A small description might not do justice to the biggest helicopter that exists, so make sure to check out our dedicated article on the Mi-26.
6. Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane
The S-64 Skycrane is a helicopter built by Sikorsky Aircraft and Erickson Inc. for transporting heavy payloads. It is the civil counterpart of the U.S. Army’s CH-54 Tarhe. Besides transportation, it has also been used for firefighting purposes. Talking about its specs, it can travel at a max speed of 202kmph and carry up to 9,100kg. Currently, it is used by the U.S., South Korea, and Italy.
Out of all these incredible helicopters, which one did you find the most interesting? Tell us in the comments below. While we’re on the topic of bizarre-looking vehicles, check out these unique bicycles that fall in the same group.