A DIYer from the Guangdong Province in eastern China has finally perfected his sub-$3000 home-built helicopter, taking it for a demonstration flight in what appears to his back yard. A tinkerer since he dropped out of school in his teens, Chen Zhaorong has been working on this project for nearly 10 years, but only began flight attempts a few months ago. The first attempts were neither successful nor fatal, (a remarkable combo) but this time around he not only got liftoff, but seemed to be in complete control.
And in control he was, piloting the buzzing death machine to a totally unnecessary height of over five stories. His apparent skill is especially fortunate considering the close proximity of buildings, power lines and men on motorcycles, each of which poses its own interesting "will it blend" question. The answer to all of them: Yes. This video was secretly released by a friend of the builder, as he had been banned from flight by local officials after a near disaster mere weeks ago.
DIY helicopters are nothing new, but like that Chinese farmer's poop-inducing flight on an even less together-looking craft, Zhaorong's effort deserves special mention for its economy and shear nerviness. [QQ]