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Dragonfly DF1 is the first model in a whole new field of quiet, ultralight, non-polluting, low-cost rocket helicopters or more appropriate to be called as “rocket chopper”. Dragonfly DF1 is made by Swisscopters US, a Tucson base company in United States. It’s powered by a pair of hydrogen peroxide rocket motors made by Tec Aeromex, the company that design and built custom Rocket Belts of James Bond fame.
Once was known as Intora Firebird, Swisscopter’s Dragonfly DF1 rocket chopper is capable of a 50 minute flight time at a speed of 65km/h, flight time could be extended up to 100 minutes with an optional extra fuel tank.
Maximum speed of Dragonfly DF1 is 185km/hour and the rocket chopper could reach from 700 meter per minute up to a height of 4000 metres. In empty condition, Dragonfly DF1 weighs 106kg, less than a motorbike’s weight. It could carry up to 227 kg including a pilot and fuel.
The DragonFly DF1 has a few options available including a canopy, medical litter, crop dusting attachments, winch, more powerful engines and avionics. It’s sure to be a hit with sports pilots, farmers and video production companies, it might even be a cool way to get to work.
Instead of using a fixed motor attached to the body of the helicopter to drive the blades, DragonFly DF1 helicopters have small rocket motors located at the tips of the blades. The rockets propel the rotors directly, reducing vibration and providing much improved stability.
The pilot’s seat is surrounded by a pair of fuel tanks which supply 70% hydrogen peroxide fuel to the rockets. A Tecaeromex penta-metal catalyst in the motors instantly dissociates the peroxide into 600°C high pressure steam, driving the blades around like a catherine-wheel firecracker.
Rocket choppers are much simpler to fly than conventional helicopters as there are less flight controls and with almost no moving parts, they’re also safer. They still have the familiar collective/throttle lever but they add a motorbike-like control bar which tilts the rotor head and controls flight direction and rotation. There are no foot controls.
It is safer, non-polluting, easier to fly, cheaper, easier to maintain, more stable and quieter. But till now, the company still experimenting on the two-seater prototype flight. Hopefully there will be a good news for multi-passengers rocket chopper in very near future!
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