I’ve been seeing so-called personal helicopters advertised at sky-high (ha, did you catch my pun?) prices in gadget catalogues for years now, but generally when you try to order them you’re told that you’re actually signing up for a waiting list as the device goes through all the necessary ratification. Over in Japan, however, they’ve decided to leave all that up to the buyer, as the GEN Corporation is selling what amounts to a helicopter rotor on a stick, the GEN H-4.
Actually, you get two rotors, stacked on top of each other and contra-rotating (like the toy remote-control helicopters currently so popular) which means you don’t need a tail-rotor for stabilisation. Driven by four individual two-stroke, 125cc engines, each developing 10bhp, it can apparently get you 1000 metres up in the air and travel at speeds of up to 59mph for thirty minutes. Two hours tuition, they claim, is enough to master the beast.
With a rotor span of four-metres you could feasibly land the H-4 on a roundabout, but why you’d want to do that I’m not sure. Perhaps you’re a show-off? GEN will sell you the self-assembly kit for $35,000, as long as you realise that you’re “responsible for all legal, regulational and certificational matters concerning the flight and import.” They’d also like customers to help out with such boring matters as parachute testing and high-speed flight. Reassuring.