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Issue # 1 March 2007 - Editors : F. Metzger - T. Auffret - S. Ittner - R. Winstone

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Patent page

1921 November: Patent # 544.476 regarding a car-helicopter
applied by Mr Raul Pateras Pescara (re-discovered by F. Metzger)


The machines designed, patented, built and flown by Marquis Raoul de Pateras Pescara between 1919 and 1924 played an important part in the evolution of the helicopter.

The closed version (note the streamlined fuselage).


A prolific design engineer, Pateras Pescara had begun his career in Gustave Eiffel’s research laboratory, and during the Great War designed a torpedo-firing military seaplane for the Argentine navy (which never adopted the design).

His first helicopter was built in Spain in 1919, but proved both too underpowered, overweight and unstable to fly.


And the open version in longitudinal section.
In 1922, his second prototype left the ground, but it was his third machine that proved the most successful. Developed with Vinot et Deguingand and powered by a 180HP Hispano V8, it had four pairs of rotors revolving around a veritable totem pole. It was the first application of the two essential characteristics of a practical helicopter: cyclic and collective pitch control. The pitch of the 16 lifting surfaces could be warped in flight, and the rotor head tilted to give the blades forward thrust. After the indoor tests, Pescara flew No.3 nearly 800 metres at a height of six feet across Issy’s 'champ de manoeuvres' on 18 April 1924, handsomely beating the record set by the Oemichen-Peugeot only the day before.

This brave design engineer had no hesitation in taking the controls of his fearsome device in the factory hangar itself. As you can see, not all the tests were completely successful...

Pescara returned to Spain at the end of 1925 et turned to automobile manufacture, launching the Nacional Pescara in association with his brother Enrique.