Rocket Powered Helicopter Dragonfly DF1 to launch this year
A Tucson-based firm, Swisscopter America’s, has manufactured a hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) rocket-fueled helicopter, the Dragonfly DF1. The one-seater replaces the conventional motor with rockets affixed to its blade tips and produces no pollution.
The Dragonfly DF1 has long blades that resemble the wings on its namesake. A pair of hydrogen peroxide motors created by Tecnologia Aeroespacial Mexicana (TAM), use a catalyst that transforms the hydrogen peroxide into high-pressure steam to drive the blades. The controls include a throttle lever, but steering is managed with a control bar that tilts the rotor head, and there are no foot controls. Check out the Dragonfly DF1 in action in the video below.
The Dragonfly DF1's motors, made by TAM, only use a 70% concentration of hydrogen peroxide during operation, the lowest percentage to date. Other benefits claimed, in addition to the lack of pollution, include decreased maintenance, due to fewer moving parts, and increased safety due to the design of the tail rotor, which is responsible for a large percentage of traditional helicopter crashes. The tail rotor on the Dragonfly DF1 is used to rotate the copter but is not needed for stability.
The helicopter can hold up to 500 pounds, including pilot and fuel, and holds enough hydrogen peroxide fuel to fly for 50 minutes at a speed of 40 miles per hour. With an optional extra fuel tank, flight time can be extended to 100 minutes. Additional options can be added to provide a windshield, crop spray system, rescue hammock, autopilot, and a more powerful engine. Swisscopter plans to launch the Dragonfly DF1 later this year, and is testing a two-seat prototype for later development.