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The Jaycopter

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The first JaycopterEarly helicopter training was a dangerous process of trial and error, using real, flying helicopters. It relied on pilots with experience in fixed-wing aircraft (airplanes).patent record for this invention

Fixed-wing experience, however, was not particularly relevant to helicopter flying, as fixed-wing aircraft are essentially projectiles over which the pilot has control over the direction. Helicopters are completely free to go in any direction and pilots require control over six axis of movement, each affecting the other. A helicopter is thus a much more delicate, touchy aircraft to fly than an airplane, and helicopters at certain training locations were crashing on an almost daily basis in the 1950s.

Drawing of Jaycopter fuselageThe Jaycopter was originally conceived as a training device for helicopter pilots. The idea of a safe, captive helicopter training device came to Peter Jacobs while recovering in the hospital from knee surgery. He remembered seeing a children’s toy helicopter—a battery-operated helicopter on a boom, pivoted from a central post, its two D batteries powering the rotor and acting as counterbalance—and thought the principle could be extended to something life-sized.

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