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World’s smallest helicopter to fly at da Vinci’s birthplace on May 25

May 15, 2008 - TOKYO - A Japanese man who developed the world's smallest
helicopter plans a demonstration flight in the birthplace of
Leonardo da Vinci later this month.


May 15, 2008
By Corrie


Topics

May 15, 2008 – TOKYO – A Japanese man who developed the world's smallest
helicopter plans a demonstration flight in the birthplace of
Leonardo da Vinci later this month.

Seventy-five-year-old Gennai Yanagisawa says he will fly his
one-man helicopter in the city of Vinci, near Florence, Italy, on
May 25.

Yanagisawa describes the demonstration as a tribute to the
Renaissance-era visionary's original idea of an “aerial screw.''

Da Vinci's 1480s design is believed to be the first portrayal of
a vertical-flight machine.

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Yanagisawa developed his GEN H-4 helicopter _ with rotors, a
chair, footrest and handle bar _ in the late 1990s.

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 90 kilometres an hour.

“The concept of my helicopter comes from Italy, and I've always
wanted to fly it in da Vinci's birthplace. I'm very excited,''
Yanagisawa told The Associated Press from Japan's central city of
Matsumoto, where he runs an electronics equipment company.

Yanagisawa said Vinci Mayor Dario Parrini offered him an
opportunity to fly his helicopter when the two met in the Italian
city in February.

“Italian people seem to welcome my realizing of da Vinci's idea
in his birthplace,'' he said. “I want to make my best flight so
that I can live up to their expectations.''

Although the 75-kilogram helicopter can climb to 50 metres,
Yanagisawa said he will fly just five metres above the ground during
his three, 10-minute demonstrations “so the audience can see me and
enjoy the flight.''

A Guinness World Records spokeswoman confirmed the recognition of
Yanagisawa's helicopter as the world's smallest model in terms of
weight and its rotor length of four metres.

Yanagisawa has sold five GEN H-4s in Japan and two in the United
States for recreational use. The helicopters sell for about $57,000
apiece.

“I hope someday this can be used just like a scooter,'' he said.


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