Wednesday, 7 September 2022


Although most people believe that the Russian inventor, Igor Sikorsky invented the helicopter, it was actually a French engineer by the name of Paul Cornu who designed and flew the first successful rotary-winged aircraft in Normandy, France in 1907.

I am looking for a 2008 S.Tome E Principe miniature sheet

Near Lisieux in northern France in 1907, Monsieur Cornu became the first person to (ever so briefly) pilot an airborne rotary-wing, vertical-lift aircraft. The rotorcraft (using an unpowered rotor in free autorotation to develop lift) from Cornu’s own design was a twin-rotor job,  the blades rotating in opposite directions which neutralized the torque. M. Cornu’s craft levitated about 1.5 meters off the ground, hovering for some 20 seconds.  The Cornu ”Ur-copter” wasn’t maneuverable at all (requiring manpower to hold it in position from the ground) and therefore wasn’t practical,  but it is considered to be a forerunner of the modern helicopter.

Etienne Oehmichen, whose early prototypes included vertically-mounted rotors and a tail rotor, allowing it to fly a distance of one kilometre in 1924!  Oehmichen was also the first to carry passengers in his Oehmichen No. 2 helicopter

1957 French Inventors "Etienne Oehmichen" stamp I am looking for

By the early 1920s Spanish aviator and engineer  Juan De la Cierva built the autogyro (sometimes called a “windmill plane” or ‘gyroplane’)… his success advanced the understanding of rotor dynamics.

In 1936 Focke and Gerd Achgelis‘ Focke-Wulf Fw-61 smashed existing helicopter records for range and altitude and demonstrated autorotation descent to landing.  This plus a control system much more reliable and robust than earlier rotorcrafts leads many aviation geeks to consider the Fw-61 to be “The world’s first truly functional helicopter”.

Sikorsky is commonly thought of as “The father of helicopters” because he invented the first successful helicopter upon which further designs were based. The VS-300 (commercial name R 4) became the model for all modern single-rotor helicopters.

Sikorsky was credited with developing the first “mass-produced” helicopter. 

The VS-300, the world’s first successful helicopter, is a predecessor of all modern choppers. Igor Sikorsky developed the first practical helicopter and was his own original flight test pilot. The first prototype of course had only one seat, in the center.  He flew on Sept. 14, 1939.

Nikolay Ilyich Kamov was a Soviet aerospace engineer, a pioneer in the design of helicopters, and the founder of the Kamov helicopter design bureau.

Ka-10 1950 Single-seat observation helicopter. NATO reporting name Hat.

Ka-22 Vintokryl 1959 Experimental rotor-winged transport aircraft. NATO reporting name Hoop.

Ka-26 1965 Light utility helicopter. NATO reporting name Hoodlum.

Ka-27 1974 Anti-submarine helicopter. NATO reporting name Helix.

Ka-50 "Black Shark" 1982 Single-seat attack helicopter. NATO reporting name Hokum.

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