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Cox Sky Copter Free Flight Helicopter

Cox Sky Copter Helicopter - Airplanes and RocketsIn the late 1960s when I received a Cox Sky Copter free flight helicopter for Christmas, there was very little in the way of commercially available flying model helicopters. It was modeled after the Bell 47−G, which was later made famous by the M.A.S.H. television series. Victor Stanzel sold its tethered ElectroMic "Copter" that was powered by a pair of "D" cell batteries. As far as I know, Cox made the only nitro fuel powered free flight helicopter, named "Sky Copter." It was powered by a Cox .020 engine mounted to the top-center of the main rotor shaft, and caused the rotors to turn due to the counter torque cause by the propeller on the .020. It worked very well. After getting the engine started, you would give the rotors a spin in the clockwise direction (looking down from the top), and the gently push the model straight up. My guess is that most of the lift was provided by the engine's propeller pushing air down, and that the spinning rotors served primarily to stabilize the model during powered flight. Once the engine quit, the spinning rotors essentially went into a counter-rotation mode to gently bring the Sky Copter back to terra firma.

As was the tradition, our family went to my grandparents' house for a big Christmas dinner, and with the tradition came us kids whining about having to spend so much time away from home with all our nifty Christmas presents there. We knew the presents that would come at grandma's house would only be clothes and other practical things. I took the Cox Sky Copter with me. Upon finally having the opportunity to give the copter its maiden flight in her yard, I discovered batteries were not included for use in the glow plug battery box. Turns out grandpa wasn't very diligent about keeping fresh batteries on-hand. It took probably half an hour to finally get the Cox .020 engine started. After adjusting the engine for peak RPM (I had no concept of breaking in an engine at the time), I gave the rotors a gently twirl and launcher her skyward. It went up, and up, and up, nearly out of sight. I was in a panic. The engine finally quit and she came safely back down, as advertised. After about another half hour the engine was going again, and another perfect flight was logged. By that time the snow had been falling at a pretty good rate, so my parents wisely decided to pack us back into the old Rambler and head for home. I don't recall what happened with the Cox Sky Copter after that. See the Evening Capital newspaper edition from the Christmas I received the Cox Sky Copter.

This model is in like-new condition and does not appear to have ever been flown. It still has the fuel bottle (empty), starting battery box (empty), and engine wrench. It would probably fly today as it would have when fresh off the department store shelf.

Cox Sky Copter

Cox Sky Copter Box



Posted July 27, 2016

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Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD ...

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