The Frenchman, Paul Cornu, sitting in his 1907 helicopter. Powered by a 24hp Antoinette engine, this fore-and-aft, tandem rotored machine lifted its designer/pilot to the height of 1 foot for 20 seconds on 13 November 1907 to establish the world's first free-flying helicopter lift-off. Cornu's French rival, the Gyroplane I devised by Louis Breguet and Prof. Charles Richet had successfully taken a man aloft some six or so weeks earlier, on 29 September. However, as the Gyroplane lacked stability, it required four men standing at four corners and armed with poles to push and prod it in order to prevent its toppling, thus eliminating it from consideration as a free flier. (US National Archives)

johnbr, May 22, 2011
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    Before WW1
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