The Dragonfly DF1 is a, wait for it... Rocket powered
one-man helicopter! Although admittedly it doesn't look
as good as it sounds.
Designed and built by Swisscopter, based out of Arizona,
USA, the Dragonfly DF1 uses a pair of hydrogen peroxide
fueled rockets attached to the tips of the rotors for
power - instead of a more conventional gas turbine engine
found in most contemporary helicopters. This isn't a new
idea, the British and American armed forces experimented
with similar rocket-powered helicopter technology back
in the 1950s but it never took off. Please forgive the
The Dragonfly DF1 is a very basic machine which is incredibly
light. It tips the scales at a featherweight 106 kgs (234
lbs). Yet it can carry an amazing 227 kgs (500 lbs) of
pilot, fuel and cargo. Top speed of the aircraft is 115
mph (185 km/h), cruise speed is around 40 mph (65 km/h),
and the flight time is up to 50 minutes - although an
optional extra fuel tank takes this up to 100 minutes.
Control of the Dragonfly DF1 also differs from a more
'normal' helicopter. Instead of a joystick for banking
left and right and controlling forward and backward movement,
a collective control for engine power, and a set of rudder
pedals for yaw control, the Dragonfly DF1 gets a much
simpler handlebar mechanism which hangs down from the
rotor head and allows the pilot to control the angle of
the blades. A throttle lever allows for power adjustment.
While it might seem at first that this is some sort of
cobbled together widow-maker, it is in fact a fully certified
and sanctified machine which is approved by the FAA (Federal
Aviation Administration). Sales are expected to begin
sometime in 2010.