part 1 of 2. Footage of real pre-war and WW2 German combat helicopters, technically superior to the Bell Helicopter in the Where eagles dare film.
Jewish German Dr Kurt Hohenemser designed and engineered the two Flettner helis shown in the video.
First up, female test pilot and iron cross winner FlugKapitan Hanna Reitsch flying the FW-61 in 1937, setting many distance, endurance and height records. Then her flying it indoors at the Deutschland Halle in 1938 at the Berlin Motor Show .
Then the the first craft to pioneer "Air-mobile" and evacuation operations, bomb carrying, machine gun equipped medi-vac, artillery transporting Fa-223 "Drache".
The Drache flew in 1940.
The Fa 223 carried a nose mounted MG 15 machine gun plus an array of other weapons onboard for crew use and two quarter ton bombs, optional auxiliary droptanks and winch system.
With a ceiling of over 22,000ft it was suitable for high altitude mountain missions.
In one demonstration example the Drache flew 85 missions in 29 consecutive days to 15,000 ft high altitude, carrying men, 75mm artillery and all their ammunition.
Able to carry up to 12 combat troops on external benches and 4 crew inside, it could also carry up to 2.2 tons by cable externally.
The Draches used in one of the Helicopter units stationed in Münster flew rescue and recover missions and could retrieve and transport whole airframes of other craft suspended below on cable. In one case a Fa223 carried the 1.3 ton engine of a FW-190 fighter over 32kms . The Drache was also used to perform civilian rescues, in one case airlifting climbers trapped on the steep face of a mountain.
The Drache was planned to be used in the rescue of Mussolini but at the last moment the assigned craft suffered a mechanical breakdown and a Fieseler Storch stol plane was used instead.
The Drache was also the first helicopter to cross the English Channel.
British testers ignored German engineers advice to tighten engine mounts and so a craft that had survived years of combat was destroyed on its third flight by the British.
Also featured is the Flettner synchropter Hubschrauber FL 265, five of which saw combat action from cruisers in the Baltic performing rescue, convoy protection and submarine detection between 1939 and 1940 before Sikorsky had even flown his primitive vs-300.
The Fl-265 had demonstrated its ability to rescue downed airmen in the water in 1939 and was able to perform air-sea rescues with its built in winch.
The video shows its ability to lift a full barrel of water and tow a motor car at the same time.
Next seen is the production version of the FL-282 "Kolibri" which was also used for submarine spotting in the Mediterranean, Baltic Aegean and Adriatic, and observation on the eastern front.
The first prototype versions had a fully enclosed cockpit and streamlined fuselage but this was discarded in favour of the improved visibility of an open cockpit and lighter boxy fuselage that improved its ability to carry two extra crew and carry submarine marking flares, winch and small bombs.
Amongst many combat operations, the Fl282s spotted the attack of the 1st and 2nd White Russian in far Pomerania but german defenses were too weak to thwart the attack. They were used for artillery fall spotting and 3 Fl 282s stationed at Berlin- Rangsdorf did artillery spotting in defence of berlin in 1945.
1944 saw the formation of a specific artillery observation unit consisting of three Fl 282s and three Fa-223s which was resoundingly successful in combat in their specified role. Many other German helicopters were used singly in support of combat ground units.
The flettner was easier to fly than a typical modern helicopter and could be flown hands off with no hands on the controls.
To demonstrate this ease of control, a housewife with no flying experience was able to fly the Fl-282 solo with only 3 hours of instruction.
It was highly aerobatic, stable and fast and because of the intermeshing rotors, could carry a greater load than a conventional heli of the same size.
Noteworthy was its amazing lifting efficiency: it was capable of lifting 16 lbs per horsepower - a figure not attained to this day by any of the modern helicopters.
By varying the collective pitch and cyclic pitch relative to either set or rotors, yaw is effected in the same way a tail rotor controls yaw in a conventional chopper. The flettner's yaw control was much more steady than a conventional chopper. The large rudder on the flettner was mainly an aid in forward high speed stability and made the craft almost effortless to fly for novice pilots, particularly in a time period when experienced pilots were at a premium.
Because it had no tail rotor, is was less prone to mechanical failure and loss of control. A modern variant is the Kaman K-max which is used for heavy lifting.
watch the Kaman K-max here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iz9pZr...