Home-made helicopters hit northern Nigeria

Discussion in 'Modern' started by syscom3, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Home-made helicopters hit northern Nigeria

    by Aminu Abubakar Sun Oct 21, 1:06 AM ET

    Home-made helicopters hit northern Nigeria - Yahoo! News

    KANO (AFP) - Mubarak Muhammad Abdullahi, a 24-year-old physics undergraduate in northern Nigeria, takes old cars and motorbikes to pieces in the back yard at home and builds his own helicopters from the parts.
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    "It took me eight months to build this one," he said, sweat pouring from his forehead as he filled the radiator of the banana yellow four-seater which he now parks in the grounds of his university.

    The chopper, which has flown briefly on six occasions, is made from scrap aluminium that Abdullahi bought with the money he makes from computer and mobile phone repairs, and a donation from his father, who teaches at Kano's Bayero university.

    It is powered by a second-hand 133 horsepower Honda Civic car engine and kitted out with seats from an old Toyota saloon car. Its other parts come from the carcass of a Boeing 747 which crashed near Kano some years ago.

    For a four-seater it is a big aircraft, measuring twelve metres (39 feet) long, seven metres high by five wide. It has never attained an altitude of more than seven feet.

    The cockpit consists of a push-button ignition, an accelerator lever between the seats which controls vertical thrust, a joystick that provides balance and bearing.

    A small screen on the dashboard connects to a camera underneath the helicopter for ground vision, a set of six buttons adjusts the screen's brightness while a small transmitter is used for communication.

    "You start it, allow it to run for a minute or two and you then shift the accelerator forward and the propeller on top begins to spin. The further you shift the accelerator the faster it goes and once you reach 300 rmp you press the joystick and it takes off," Abdullahi explained from the cockpit.

    He said he learned the rudiments of flying a helicopter from the Internet and first got the idea of building one from the films he watches on television.

    "I watched action movies a lot and I was fascinated by the way choppers fly. I decided it would be easier to build one than to build a car," he said pacing the premises of the security division of the university which he uses as hanger for his helicopter.

    He hoped -- and still does hope -- that the Nigerian government and his wealthy compatriots would turn to him and stop placing orders with western manufacturers.

    So far, however, government response to his chopper project has been underwhelming to say the least.

    Although some government officials got very excited when they saw him conduct a demonstration flight in neighbouring Katsina state, Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has so far shown no interest in his aircraft.

    "No one from the NCAA has come to see what I've done. We don't reward talent in this country," he lamented.

    Abdullahi does admit that his first helicopter lacks "some basic facilities like devices for measuring atmospheric pressure, altitude, humidity and the like."

    In a country with Nigeria's abysmal air safety record officials may be loath to gamble on one student's home-made helicopter.

    But Abdullahi, undeterred, has started work on a new flying machine, which, he says, "will be a radical improvement on the first one in terms of sophistication and aesthetics."

    Currently just a spindly metal frame in the back yard, the helicopter will be a two-seater and Abdullahi calculates it will be able to fly at an altitude of 15 feet for three hours at a stretch.

    It will be powered by a brand new motor -- albeit Taiwan-manufactured and destined for the Jincheng motorbike so common on the streets of Kano.
     

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  2. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    I wouldnt fly in that thing if u paid me...
     
  3. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Id take it for a spin around the back yard.
     
  4. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

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    I love the use of technical terms, such as "accelerator" and "joystick."

    I was looking closely and it doesn't appear as if it has a tailrotor - so the thing would have a bad problem with torque.

    I wonder if his flight controls function as a proper cyclic and collective. I'm impressed that he was able to build it. With some funding and more education I'm sure he could become quite a capable engineer.


    Note - you can't learn to fly a helicopter by reading stuff online.
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I too was thinking the same thing mkloby. Without a tail rotor that thing is going to spin.
     
  6. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    So there's truth in saying he takes his helo out for a spin?
     
  7. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

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    If he has no tailrotor, the fuselage of the "helicopter" is going to spin opposite of the direction the rotor blades spin due to torque. You can compensate for this with cyclic inputs, and you will be flying sideways, but controlled - which is procedure for a comlete loss of T/R thrust.

    I think the Nigerian gov't should get behind him and attempt to make something out of this. He's obviously a bright man, and this could be the start of something great for such a poverty stricken region.
     
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    That rotor head looks like something from an old washing machine......
     
  9. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

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    Even more amazing he has acheived 300rpm on Nr!
     
  10. Aggie08

    Aggie08 Active Member

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    He seems a bit headstrong, but finish up that degree and get some experience and funding and see what that takes him.
     
  11. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    In the Blackhawk you had to try and stay above 80 knots if you had loss of tail rotor thrust. (Might be wrong with the airspeed, I would have to check out my checklist and emergency procedures).
     
  12. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

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    Sounds about right. That speed probably gave you enough flow over vertical stab to produce enough lift to counteract the torque effect. The EP was essentially the same in the TH-57, ending in an auto.
     
  13. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I dont have my EP Checklist with me (I am at work) but in the Hawk it was stay above 80 and do a roll on landing (Wheels are great, Skids are for Kids! :lol:).
     
  14. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

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    :lol: That was funny.
     
  15. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    4 seats. One daredevil and three retards.
     
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