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The Jaycopter

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First model JaycopterConstruction on the first full-sized prototype was started in Peter’s garage, later moving to brother Leo’s garage, and then to building 14 at the Edmonton Municipal Airport. It had its first flight in 1958 (he had developed and patented a small model earlier, which has since disappeared). Both Leo and Peter’s nephew Ted helped in its construction with some input from brothers Emil, Andy and Paul. An engineer, Ted designed a triangular boom for the second prototype, after the first was found to be somewhat wobbly.

According to Jaycopter promotional material, the training chopper had many advantages

  • It offered a realistic appraisal of a pilot’s ability. Operating in absolute safety, it taught the fundamentals of control and co-ordination easily and simply.
  • The cost of training time was insignificant in comparison to equivalent time spent in a conventional helicopter.
  • There was no need to keep a valuable helicopter standing by for initial pilot training.
  • It was designed to produce a larger number of qualified pilots faster and cheaper while eliminating the possibility of personal injury and/or helicopter damage.

Several students with no previous flight ability managed, after just 15 hours in the Jaycopter, to fly and control the helicopter to such a degree that it was unnecessary for the chief pilot to touch the controls once.

Drawing of the Jaycopter boomDespite these advantages, the Jaycopter never achieved mass production, although the governments of the United States and Argentina did order one each. By this time, military and transportation agencies were dazzled by the electronic revolution, and were focused on the development of electronic training devices, although Ted Jacobs says that the Jaycopter nevertheless gave a more realistic helicopter experience.

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