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The Dragonfly: A Hydrogen-Powered Personal Helicopter
Hydrogen cars are so last week — what the world needs more of are hydrogen-powered helicopters! At least that’s what Ricardo Cavalcanti of Avimech believes. The brainchild behind the ‘Dragonfly’, Cavalcanti has designed a hydrogen-powered, zero-carbon-emission, environmentally friendly helicopter. Weighing in at just 230lbs, and resembling James Bond’s Little Nellie from ‘You Only Live Twice’, the Dragonfly generated a lot of buzz when it took its first hydrogen powered flight, with zero emissions! Capable of carrying up to 800lbs and flying for 90 minutes, the Dragonfly can reach a top speed of 100 knots thanks to small, but powerful motors mounted on its frame.
Using H2O2 and a catalyst long used to power vehicles, this is the first time the gas has been used to power a helicopter. The Dragonfly features two small yet powerful motors fitted at the helicopter’s rotor tips, which each resemble rocket nozzles. These “rockets” are able to harness enough power from the reaction of H2O2 to send the rotor tips off in high-speed motion. By capturing this power, only water is released and no emissions are sent into the atmosphere — this makes the Dragonfly this the first ever “environmentally responsible aviation (ERA) helicopter”.
However, there is one small drawback — the engines are not yet fuel-efficient using 11 gallons of fuel per hour. Still, it’s not a bad step towards greener flying!
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