The Mono-copter: Unconventional, Ungainly, and the Future of Flight Design?
I like flying. I don't mind being crammed in a pressurized tube and shooting across the world at crazy speeds and altitudes.
That being said, I've never been in a helicopter. I had many chances when I worked in the film and video industry. But my boss (you know who you are) was an a**hole and never let me ride in the 'copters after I had installed camera mounts into them for commercial or movie shoots.
He did the same thing after we had installed a mount into a blimp. It was (to date) my only chance to ride in a blimp, and I'll never forgive him for stealing that away from me.
Karma got him back, however. He spent tons of money flying R/C planes. I'll never forget the look on his face when his $1000 miniature Enola Gay flew off into the sunset - then smashed into a tree.
While I've drifted slightly off topic, you'll see how commercial flying, helicopters, and R/C toys tie together... Bear with me.
As I said... I like flying. But some of the experimental stuff that inventors come up with scares the hell outta me. Let's just take a little look at the mono-copter, shall we?
A mono-copter uses a single rotating blade that rotates around the craft's center of mass to gain altitude. To me, just the concept alone is not only crazy, but stupid. But... I'm not an aeronautical inventor, so maybe I'm missing something.
Lockheed Martin has developed a prototype radio controlled version - codename: SAMARAI.
Ya know... that doesn't look so bad. Kind'a cool, actually.
The initial idea behind this project was to develop tiny mono-copters... nanomono-copters, if you will. These would have been tiny - less than two inches long - and have a miniature rocket thruster attached to them with the goal of supplying streaming video to... I dunno... military guys, I guess.
I still wouldn't get on a full-scale version of a mono-copter. Wanna see why?
Uh. Yeah. That's why.
Apparently this guy named Ed Miller owns the world's largest mono-copter.
Guess we know where all of the UFO sightings in his area come from, eh?
I will, however, stick to the toy version of the bizarre flying craft. Air Hogs has a really unique version of a mono-copter that expands on the entire concept... and may make for a viable transportation device in the future.
Essentially the Air Hogs Switchblade is a dual vehicle. It takes off using mono-copter theory. The entire craft rotates around its center of gravity. But then, at the press of a button, it converts into a dual bladed flying wing - a much more stable (and smooth) flying machine.
Whether the mono-copter is the future of aviation... well, I dunno. It seems sort of impractical, even with the cool "morphing" idea presented by the Switchblade. I suspect that my ex-boss might even have second thoughts about getting into one of these things.
But it looks cool... even when it looks like a UFO blazing over a field.
That's gotta count for something.
You can get the Air Hogs Switchblade at Amazon.
SOURCES: Wikipedia, Geekologie