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The Helica



A Car That Wanted to Look Like An Airplane


helica1


These vehicles were designed and built in the early 1920's in France by a gent named Marcel Leyat.

The name "Helica" is derived from the French word for "Propeller" and these propeller-driven automobiles were an extension of his earlier experiments, building a propeller-driven tricycle.

In the long term, these machines were not a success and the concept has disappeared from our streets and highways. However, at the time the Helica was being promoted, one of these machines was actually driven down the streets of Paris.

In the picture below, a Helica is being test driven at on "le mans" racetrack.



Helica2


The next picture illustrates the front cover of the Prospectus promoting this design in 1922.



Helicepage13


This next illustration is a card that was made for a Mister Courau. He was the owner of the Helica on the card and was always being asked about his vehicle. He had this card printed to give to anybody who asked him a question about the machine.



helica1


Leyat was primarily an aircraft builder first, before he started building the Helica. The pic below is of one of his airplanes and it was flown successfully. With the rear wheel of the machine right at the back of the fuselage, one would expect that it would be slow to rotate for take-off. However, reports say the 2 wheels were not a problem. All the wing structure was designed to move, like the front wing of a flying flea, so the plane could take off horizontally.



HelicaFlyable


It is hard to imagine that propeller-driven land vehicles would be accepted in today's crowded, safety-conscious environment. But who knows, maybe with more adequate ducting to protect the passers-by, the idea could be made to work. It would also be necessary to direct the prop blast to the underside of the vehicle to keep it from blowing other traffic and pedestrians away.

As far as being a viable flying car, such a design would have the merit of requiring only one power delivery system for both driving and flying. It is hard to know though, how well it would work in the snow.

For additional information on the Helica see this website -

www.helica.info

Information on the "Helica" supplied by Don Campbell of Chicago and Claude Gueniffey of France.



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