Fact File about the Invention of the Helicopter: Invention: Helicopter *** Date of Invention: 1939 *** Name of Inventor: Igor Sikorsky *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1889 - 1972 *** Nationality of Inventor: Russian-American *** Historical Period: WW2 (1939 - 1945) *** Category: Transportation *** Country of Origin: America *** Facts about the Inventor, Igor Sikorsky, and the invention of the Helicopter ***
Fact 1: Who invented the Helicopter? The Helicopter was invented by Igor
Sikorsky in 1939 during the WW2 (1939 - 1945) era of inventions.
Fact 2: Who invented the Helicopter? Prior to the invention of the
Helicopter in 1939, Wilbur and Orville Wright had designed the first powered,
controlled flight of an airplane.
Fact 3: Who invented the Helicopter? Airplanes need lift, thrust, force
and drag in order to lift off and fly. The helicopter is different because it
generates lift simply by spinning its rotors very rapidly. A helicopter does not
need to be moving in order to generate lift, so it does not require a runway to
take off or to land.
Fact 4: Who invented the Helicopter? Men had envisaged such a vehicle for
thousands of years. The Chinese had invented kites as toys for their children to
play with and by 400BC had also created flying toys called spinning bamboo
propellers, that have since been given the name 'bamboo-copter' because of their
similarity to the revolving blades of a helicopter.
Fact 5: Who invented the Helicopter? The period of
Renaissance Inventions saw Leonardo da
Vinci (1452-1519) began making plans and producing sketches for flying machines
that included a helicopter, that he called the Aerial Screw. The idea of the
screw-like machine was to compress air to obtain flight, similar to today’s
helicopters. Leonardo da Vinci said that "the screw will make its spiral in the
air and it will rise high". Leonardo da Vinci never actually built the Aerial
Screw but his drawings and notes provided details of exactly how such a machine
Fact 6: Who invented the Helicopter? In 1754 Russian scientist Mikhail
Lomonosov (1711-1765) developed a working model of a a flying apparatus that
could take off vertically with two propellers.
Fact 7: Who invented the Helicopter? In 1843 Sir George Cayley attempted
to create a rudimentary engine fueled with gunpowder to propel a
heavier-than-air vehicle. He designed an "Aerial Carriage" using four
umbrella-like propellers that would rotate for lift. Sir George Cayley's "Aerial
Carriage" never successfully hovered or flew.
Fact 8: Who invented the Helicopter? In 1861 Gustave Ponton d'Amécourt
(1825 - 1888), designed and patented a model flying machine using coaxial
propellers and a coiled spring for propulsion. The word "helicopter" was
invented by Gustave de Ponton d'Amécourt, taken from the Greek 'helikos' meaning
"Spiral" and 'pteron' meaning "wing".
Fact 9: Who invented the Helicopter? In 1886 the famous French author
Jules Verne, inspired by Ponton d'Amécourt, depicted the Albatross Flying Ship
in his novel 'Robur, the Conqueror'. The flying ship that featured in the book
was named the Albatross which was able to fly through the air by using 37
Fact 10: Who invented the Helicopter? In the 1890's the German engineer
Otto Lilienthal (1848 - 1896) pioneered gliders and in 1900 the Zeppelin Airship was
invented by Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin (1838 - 1917). But it was the famous
brothers Wilbur Wright (1867 - 1912) and Orville Wright (1871 - 1948) that
achieved the first powered, sustained and controlled flight of an airplane in
Fact 11: Who invented the Helicopter? Another great inventor Robert
Hutchings Goddard (1882 - 1945) even invented the Rocket in 1926, thirteen years
before the invention of the modern helicopter in 1939.
Fact 12: Who invented the Helicopter? The inventor of the Helicopter, Igor Sikorsky, was born on May 25, 1889 in Kiev,
a city in the Russian Empire (now Ukraine) and died on October 26, 1972.
Fact 13: Who invented the Helicopter? The early years of Igor Sikorsky were spent in Kiev, Russian Empire (now Ukraine) where he was raised by his family
in which he was the youngest of five children. His wealthy father, Ivan
Alexeevich Sikorsky, was a member of the nobility and a professor of psychology
and his mother, Mariya Sikorsky was a physician.
Fact 14: Who invented the Helicopter? Igor Sikorsky was educated at Kiev Polytechnic Institute
and as a young man he learned how to fly and the first plane in the world to
have four engines. The four engine airplane was built in St. Petersburg, and
Igor Sikorsky entertained passengers from the courts of the Russian Czar
Nicholas II and the elite of Russian society by shutting down two engines on one
wing and continuing the flight with just two engines running.
Fact 15: Who invented the Helicopter? WW1 (1914 - 1918) erupted and Igor
Sikorsky was forced to flee for his life from the horrors of the Bolshevik
Revolution in 1917 and fled to the United States where he started an aviation
company. The famous Russian composer Sergey Rakhmaninov invested a huge sum of
money into the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and became its vice-president
attracting valuable publicity.
Fact 16: Who invented the Helicopter? In 1924 Igor Sikorsky married
Elisabeth Semion and the couple went on to have four sons. In 1928, Igor
Sikorsky became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America.
Fact 17: Who invented the Helicopter? In 1928 Sikorsky Aircraft
Corporation produced the Sikorsky S-38 an amphibious flying boat which was
purchased by Pan American Airways and the U.S. Army. In 1929 the Sikorsky
Aircraft company became a part of United Aircraft and Vought Aircraft Company.
The Sikorsky S-42, called "Flying Clipper", was developed in 1934 as another
successful commercial flying boat.
Fact 18: Who invented the Helicopter? Igor Sikorsky spent all of his
spare time working on designs for a helicopter. As a child he had read the Jules
Verne novel about the Albatross Flying Ship and it had become a lifelong
obsession to create a helicopter that could really fly.
Fact 19: Who invented the Helicopter? In 1938, when Igor was working as
the Engineering Manager of the Vought-Sikorsky Division of United Aircraft, he
succeeded in convincing the directors that his research into rotary-wing flight
was at the point where he could build a helicopter.
Fact 20: Who invented the Helicopter? His first experimental helicopter,
the VS-300, introduced a single engine to power both the main and tail rotor
systems. The was VS-300 test flown by Igor Sikorsky on 14 September 1939,
tethered by cables.
Fact 21: Who invented the Helicopter? The VS-300 helicopter went on to
make its first untethered flight in May 1940 and by July 18, 1940, the VS-300
was able to stay in the air for 15 minutes. On May 6, 1941 Igor Sikorsky
established a world helicopter endurance record of 1 hour, 32 minutes, 26
Fact 22: Who invented the Helicopter? The VS-300 helicopter was soon
followed by the Sikorsky R-4, known as the Hoverfly. The R-4 was a two-seat
helicopter with a three-bladed main rotor, made its first flight on 14 January
1942 and became the world's first large-scale mass-produced helicopter. The
Sikorsky R-4, or Hoverfly, was utilized by the Allied Forces during the latter
part of WW2 (1939 - 1945).
Fact 23: Who invented the Helicopter? Igor Sikorsky died on October 26,
1972 at his home in Easton, Connecticut and is buried in Saint John the Baptist
Russian Orthodox Cemetery. He will always be remembered as the inventor of the