Back Powers helicopter
1862 - project

Powers helicopter project

Captain Powers was inspired to invent his flying machine by the Union blockade of Confederate ports. He thought of it as a wonderful means to get around the Union Navy which was preventing the import of badly needed war supplies. In addition, he also saw his invention as an excellent device for observation and reconnaissance work. It was a crude-looking machine and had hardly any resemblance to an aircraft. The helicopter had two rotor units in the form of spiralling screws which were supposed to lift the craft vertically, and a series of similar units on the sides for propelling it through the skies. Presumably a steam engine was to be the power source.

The Confederate officer's helicopter design is a comparatively recent discovery. It is said that he never tried to build a full-scale model of his flying machine because he was afraid it might fall into Union hands and be used against the Southerners. He need not have troubled himself with this thought. According to aviation authorities, his helicopter never would have left the ground under any circumstances.

Frank Ross Jr. "Flying Windmills", 1953

Terrence Murphy, e-mail, 21.06.2014reply

If I remember correctly, there was an experimental Army vehicle back in the 60's that used that huge driving screw method (2 of them) to go through swamps and mud. It never was accepted or produced.

Carl A. Helsing, e-mail, 07.03.2007reply

My guess--built by space aliens to fool us--it's actually an all terrain vehicle able to screw itself along the ground as in a movie I saw a few years ago.The vertical auger's are to make you think.(The auger's make fine post-hole digger's)Maybe it could be driven thru snow while raising the snow with the vertical auger's.Strangley,it may well have been an excavator of some type,the rudder-like apparatus being for purposes other than a rudder and making it seem to be aquatic or atmospheric transportation.I can't see it doinng anything at all without some type of engine power,which go's well with the name Captain "Power's".Depending on photo apparent "scale" size,at least a ton of good iron and steel.I will keep it in mind as a mystery.

Do you have any comments ?

Name   E-mail

Virtual Aircraft Museum

All the World's Rotorcraft