6 of the Most Important Helicopters Ever Made

Jul 2, 2019 | Liberty, The Helicopter Company News & Events

Over a century ago, people dreamed about the opportunity to fly through the air. Although it took many years to develop an aircraft that made vertical flight possible, the dream rapidly materialized once the first helicopter was created. Since then, history is filled with new and innovative types of helicopters that all bring something new to the field of aviation. These are just five of the most important helicopters ever made that will get you excited as you search for helicopter rides in New York.

The World’s First Helicopter: the Focke Wulf FW-61

A list of the five most important helicopters isn’t even able to start until the world’s first helicopter is mentioned. Around 1932, a professor named Henrich Focke began putting together the plans for what would eventually become the FW-61. It was first flow in 1936 and became the first fully functional helicopter. Hanna Reitsch, a record-breaking German female pilot, brought worldwide attention to the FW-61 when she flew it indoors at a Berlin sports stadium in the late 1930s. 

The First Mass-Produced Helicopter: Sikorsky R-4

Igor Sikorsky developed several helicopter prototypes over the year that brought new attention to vertical flight. However, it was the Sikorsky R-4 that would eventually become the world’s first mass-produced helicopter in 1942 when the U.S. Army took an interest in the craft. This helicopter had two seats, a single three-bladed rotor and was powered by a radial engine. It gained special attention for its use in combat rescue missions.

The First Helicopter That Was Certified for Civilian Use: Bell 47

This helicopter is the one that would eventually lead to it being possible for us to take you on the best helicopter tour NYC people can enjoy in the state. While the earliest helicopters were used for military purposes and scientific experimentation, the Bell 47 marks the beginning of a new era when the opportunity to enjoy vertical aviation was possible for everyone. You can see the Bell 47 in use during the opening of M.A.S.H. episodes.

The First Actual Attack Helicopter: Bell AH-1 Cobra

Helicopters gained their first use by the military, yet it wasn’t until the AH-1 Cobra was presented in 1968 that a helicopter was designated as being mainly designed for attack purposes. It was heavily armored and provided seating for both a gunner and a pilot inside. While the Bell AH-1 Cobra was mainly designed for attack purposes, it also served roles in rescue missions and escorted transport helicopters through danger zones.

The World’s Fastest Helicopter: Eurocopter X3

We also can’t help but admire a helicopter with serious speed. This hybrid helicopter has a traditional main rotor as you see on most models along with two wing-mounted propellers that give it more forward thrust than what you get on a typical helicopter. It has been recorded as reaching a speed of 293 mph, which earned it the distinction of being the world’s fasted chopper.

Knowing a little more about the history of helicopters helps you appreciate the technology and inventive minds that made it possible for us to enjoy tours today. Although we might not have the first or fastest helicopter in our fleet, we are proud to say that our helicopters are some of the safest in the industry.

The Sightseer’s Best Friend: AS350

The multipurpose AS350 B2, Liberty’s Helicopter type, is the definition of a flexible and maneuverable passenger cruiser that has truly revolutionized the sightseeing business globally. When it comes to VIP flights, the AS350 is lauded for its safe and reliable reconfiguration time, which allows this single-engine aircraft to complete various charter, commuter and recreational missions efficiently. With its inviting, roomy interior, news stations, police departments and Liberty Helicopters’ camera happy tourists can keep their eyes focused on the scenery below and be put at ease with a comfortable cabin, that accommodates one pilot and up to 6 passengers.