Pescara Model 3 Helicopter

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Model 3
Pescara helicopers.jpg
Model 2 and Model 3
Role Helicopter
National origin France
Designer Raúl Pateras Pescara
Introduction 1923
Number built 1

The Pescara Model 3 was the first of several coaxial helicopter designs by Raúl Pateras Pescara to demonstrate sustained controlled helicopter flight.


Argentinian engineer Pescara started helicopter development in 1916. Alberto Santos-Dumont helped fund experimentation on designs in France. Multiple examples were built, demonstrated, crashed, improved and rebuilt owing to conflicting and different names for the various versions.[1] Anticipating success with the counter-rotating mechanism, Pescara patented a design with a streamlined fuselage with one set of rotors above, and one below the fuselage.[2]

The model three was the first example to use control mechanisms as modern helicopters. The helicopter is based around a central shaft with counter-rotating rotors. Each rotor was doubled into a biplane arrangement with cable supports.[3] It used a cyclic stick for forward and lateral control with rotor warping, and wheel for yaw anti-torque control.[4] The main rotor shaft was able to tilt slightly for forward control.[5] The rotors were also capable of autorotation in case of engine failure.[6]

Operational history[edit]

In September 1923, an 1 km flight attempt was nearly completed, before the vehicle crashed. On 24 May 1924 Étienne Oehmichen set a world helicopter record flight of 358m. On 18 April 1924 the model 2F bested the record and flew 736m at 8 mph to set a record in sustained vertical flight.[7]


Pescara Model 1
1919 - 45 hp (34 kW) Hispano automobile engine, later 170 hp (130 kW) Le Rhône Type 9R rotary
Pescara Model 2
45 hp (34 kW) Hispano automobile engine, Six pairs of Biplane blades
Pescara Model 2F
Rear mounted radiator replaced with tail surface.
Pescara Model 3
Four pair of conter-rotating biplane blades - 180 hp (130 kW) Hispano-Suiza 8
1931 4S
Pescara Model 4S
1931-Final British commissioned model featuring a radial engine with a small cooling propeller, and football shaped landing outriggers.[8]

Specifications (Model 3)[edit]

Data from Air Progress

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Powerplant: 1 × Hispano-Suiza 8 V-8 piston engine, 130 kW (180 hp)
  • Main rotor diameter: 16× 7.2 m (23 ft 7 in)


  • Maximum speed: 13 km/h; 7 kn (8 mph)
  • Range: .736 km (0 mi; 0 nmi) Demonstrated range

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era



  1. ^ James R. Chiles. The God Machine: From Boomerangs to Black Hawks: The Story of the Helicopter. p. 70. 
  2. ^ "Patent US1527701A". Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  3. ^ J. Gordon Leishman. Principles of Helicopter Aerodynamics. p. 17. 
  4. ^ Wayne Johnson. Helicopter Theory. p. 14. 
  5. ^ Florian Ion Petrescu, Relly Victoria Petrescu. The Aviation History. p. 73. 
  6. ^ Stanley S. McGowen. Helicopters: An Illustrated History of Their Impact. p. 6. 
  7. ^ Air Progress: 56. December 1971.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "New Helicopter Rises in Vertical Flight". Popular Science: 70. March 1931. 

External links[edit]