MATSUMOTO, Japan-- 75-year-old Gennai Yanagisawa, who runs an electronics equipment company in Matsumoto, central Japan, has created a 75kg (165-pound) one-man aircraft which sets the world record for the smallest helicopter.
In this photo released on by Japanese helicopter manufacturing company Gen Corporation, the company employee Yasutoshi Yokoyama flies in the air by GEN H-4, a compact single-seater helicopter developed by Gen Corporation, during its test flight in Matsumoto in central Japan's Nagano Prefecture.
Yanagisawa developed the GEN H-4 helicopter — with rotors, a chair, footrest and handle bar — in the late 1990s.
Yanagisawa's helicopter is the smallest model in the world in terms of weight and its rotor length of 3.9 metres.
The GEN H-4 has two rotors turning in opposite directions to maintain stability, and four engines that enables a 30-minute flight with a top speed of about 56 miles per hour.
The helicopter has two identical rotors that turn in opposite directions making the need for a tail rotor obsolete. Each rotor counteracts the others torque keeping the helicopter free of any unwanted spin.
The entire rotor head is supported on a gimbal, which is slanted towards the direction of travel by the control bar. The pilot can therefore change their direction by shifting their weight.
It has four twin cylinder engines and can remain in the air even if two of the engines of malfunction. However, they have attached a parachute above the mast just in case...
Da Vinci designed what is thought to be the first vertical flight machine, "an aerial screw," in the 1480s, according to Italy's National Museum of Science and Technology.
Yanagisawa, who was named after Hiraga Gennai, an inventor during the Edo period (1603-1867), by his father, became hooked on making helicopters after turning 50.
Yanagisawa has sold five GEN H-4s in Japan and two in the U.S. for recreational use. The helicopters sell for about $57,140. "I hope someday this can be used just like a scooter," he said.