Young Chinese Inventors Create DIY Flying Machines
From two separate provinces in China comes news this week that young inventors have created DIY flying machines that work. One is a helicopter made of wood, and the other is a flying car!
Wu Zhongyuan, from the province of Henan, a poor farming area in the east central region of China, is 20 years old. He's a farmer with no formal training in aviation or aeronautics. But he took Physics in middle school and, relying on that knowledge, he built a helicopter using wood from an elm tree, a 150 cc motorcycle engine, and steel pipes.
The shanzhaiji helicopter really does fly too... up to 800 metres high. Here it is on You Tube. (Zhongyuan does get pretty high up in the helicopter, but not until well into the 3.48 minute video.)
Unfortunately, Zhonghuan cannot fly his helicopter any more, because the provincial government says it might interfere with other air traffic. What a shame!
Meanwhile, in Guangdong, the richest province in China, a southeastern province that used to be called Canton by westerners, a 12-year old invented a flying car. Xie Yanshou, much like the rest of us when held up in traffic, dreamed of a car that could just pick itself up vertically and jump ahead of all the others "to avoid the annoying wait."
He thought and thought about it, actually obsessed about it day and night, focusing on models of helipcopters. He said he encountered about 300 problems during its development, but he finally made a flying car, with the help of his parents and teachers. Xie Yanshou won first prize in this year's Guangdong Youth Scientific Innovation Contest, gaining the recognition of prestigious Chinese scientists.
"The car is powered by two pairs of propellers of the same rotation speed and different rotation direction, which would also balance the propellers' torsional stress at the same time," explained Xie Yanzhou, 12. "Ducted fans are another feature helping accelerate the efficiency of the propellers and protect people from getting hurt." said Xie, who is called "the Star Inventor" at the school with his vertically-powered takeoff and landing car.