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. Photo: 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
photo) 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.
Gennai Yanagisawa with his GRN H-4 / photo Yomiuri
Photo right: Controlling the GEN H-4 is very
easy.If you wanted to go forward, you would pull the control
bar toward you. If you want to go to the right, you would
move it to left, and want to go left, move it to right. Of
course you can reverse the helicopter. you only have to push
it forward. The rise and descent are controlled by the throttle.
If you push the throttle lever, GEN H-4 goes up, you let it,
GEN H-4 goes down. If you wanted to turn to the right or left,
you would push yaw-control-switch by right hand.
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
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....
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.
The first prototype he created in 1995 hovered several
centimeters above the ground for just a few seconds, but after
poring over books and other materials, including some 50 years
old, he managed to solve the technical problems that had been
hindering his flight.
Yanagisawa's initial motivation for his
creation was to develop an unmanned helicopter for spraying
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,"