One of the shortest lived designs on display at the Pima Air and Space Museum has to be the paper airplane believed to be the largest one built and flown. It was the winning design in a contest for school children to get them interested in aeronautics. Aturo Valdenegro’s design was built in 2012 and towed to 2,703 feet by a helicopter where it was released to fly. It reached about 98mph in its 30 second flight although it did crash land in the desert. The nose was recovered and is on display in the museum.
The Hoppicopter had a longer life of about six years. It was designed by Horace Pentecost and built in 1945. A 20 horsepower motor is strapped to the flyer’s back which powers two counter rotating blades. The landing methodology was not completely thought through. A Parachute Landing Fall, used by paratroopers and skydivers the world over to break a fall would result in broken rotor blades. There was no unsupported flight of this hoppicopter, about 20 were performed with the pilot tethered by cables to stop them from falling down.
This is the Flaglor Sky Scooter, which was a homebuild kit of wood and fabric introduced in 1967. Many homebuild kits were powered by modified car engines, this one by a VW 1600CC engine. This particular model has 161 flying hours accumulated between 1977 and 1984.
An old design which has stood the test of time is that of Curtis Pitt, who designed the Pitt Special in 1942. It continues to be flown and competes in aerobatic competitions to this day.
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