Homemade helicopter takes to the sky

A Russian engineer claims he has improved on the design for small helicopters after making one at his home in southern Siberia. It took six years of hard work in the garage plus two weeks of test flights.

Now residents of the Siberian town of Novosibirsk are getting used to seeing a helicopter-like machine parked in the courtyard of their neighbour, engineer Boris Polovinkin.

The aircraft, also known among aviators as an 'autogyro' or 'gyroplane', is not just a hybrid of a helicopter and an airplane.

But the engineer thinks it is high time someone came up with some improvements in its design. “The rotor (of the helicopter) is working with an adjustable pitch in this machine and that is why it can take off and land vertically. There are no successful findings in this field anywhere at the moment,” he says.

Boris built his version from pieces scavenged from various places. The autogyro's wheels came from a wheel barrow, the safety belts from his own car, and the control sticks were found in a dump.

The creative engineer notes, his gyroplane is a step forward, as it has improved direct vertical take-off and landing abilities. “I have come to the conclusion that lately there has been no advance at all in small aircraft construction, neither in Russia, nor abroad. No headway has been made, only the models of the seventies are being produced,” Boris Polovinkin stressed.

The machine has already seen some 30 successful flights and is now waiting for a manufacturer ready to produce it.

Polovinkin says his aircraft can be used for both civilian and military purposes. He also hopes it will inspire younger generations of flight enthusiasts.