The idea originated with Leonardo Da Vinci. Later, many others tried to turn Leonardo's dream into reality. But Igor Sikorsky, an American
citizen who came to the United States from Russia after the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, deserves credit for constructing the first practical
model of the modern helicopter.
Earlier in his career as an aircraft designer, Sikorsky pioneered in constructing multimotored planes and bombers. He also invented the
Pan_American flying boat called the "Cipper", then in 1936, he built an aircraft that could fly backward, forward, sideways, and straight up
and down. It could also hover or "stand still" in the air. This versatile machine proved extremely usuful for dozens of different purposes.
Today, the helicopter is used to lift injured mountain climber to safety, deliver building materials to places which have no roads, dry rain-soaked
fruit with its fanlike rotor, seed and spray farms, deliver mail between airports and post offices, and track down criminals. Since the late 1950's,
the helicopter has served in the space program, recovering astronauts when they land in the ocean after space flights. Also, it is used for short
passenger flights for business and recreational purposes.
Airports near many cities offer helicopter service to bring travelers into the main section of town quickly. Because the helicopter is so versatile,
it will undoubtedly find many more uses in the future.