Pascal Chretien did what famed helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky hasn't yet. He designed, built and flew an untethered, manned electric helicopter. This record-setting flight is like taking your toy remote control helicopter, blowing it up to full size and piloting it.
With the backing of French company Solution F, Chretien spent 12 months building and testing his electric chopper. His biggest challenge in this process was overcoming the limited power provided by a battery. If you think about the power difference between a battery-operated device and its gas-powered counterpart, then you'll appreciate the difficulty of this challenge.
In its first public test flight, Chretien's chopper flew two minutes, 10 seconds and reached an altitude of one metre. This small, but significant flight went down in the record books as the first liftoff of an untethered, manned electric helicopter. This is just the beginning for Chretien. He hopes to refine his design and attempt a 4m liftoff. [Gizmag]