• Rotorheads and Gas Bags

Okay, this is all off topic, but since we're being silly, you heliwopper pilots listen up.

Take a gander at this: a blimp plus four full size helicopters . . . all hooked together.

The "Helistat" was actually built under a 1980 U.S. Navy contract for the Forest Service to demonstrate the potential of heavy lift for harvesting timber.

Readers are reminded that "stat" is
an abbreviation of the Latin statim, or "immediately", often used in medical contexts, but not particularly apropos here, we think.

The demonstration vehicle was part Navy ZPG-2W blimp (1,000,000 cu. ft.) and most of four H-34J helicopters. At 343 feet, the Helistat was the largest aircraft (using the term loosely) in the world, even bigger than the Hughes flying boat (span 320 ft.)

Here's a bevy of the rotund beauties before they got weird and mated with helicopters.

On the topic of rotund, this one actually looks very cool even if no helicopters are involved—but what the heck does the Customs Service need for heavy lift? Maybe it would carry helicopters? But why?

And then there's this "Rotary Wing System for Booster Recovery," or at least that's what Hiller called this proposed behemoth.

The rotors would have been 400 feet in diameter, the beast's empty weight would have been over 450,000 pounds, and its gross weight would have been about 1,000,000 pounds. Talk about whop-whop-whop! The idea was that it would descend after loiteri9ng for as much as 6 hours from an altitude of 15-20,000 feet, snag the booster's parachutes in mid-air, and bring the spent booster home dangling some 700 feet below.

Any volunteers to fly it?


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