Amateur Engineer Transforms Helicopter Into Floating Racecar
A police officer in Washington, D.C. who moonlights as a creative automotive engineer transformed a Vietnam War-era helicopter into a drivable—and amphibious—car called the “Racecopter,” Popular Science reports.
You might remember Jeff Bloch (who goes by the nickname “Speedycop” online) as the man who converted an old Cessna aircraft into an automobile a few years ago. This time around, Bloch wanted to make a helicopter racecar.
Another collector gifted Bloch with a 1969 Bell OH-58 Kiowa chopper, purchased for around $3000 at auction. The aircraft was in rough shape: It had flown in Vietnam, conducted missions for a federal drug task force, and survived both the scrap yard and a flood. Still, Bloch saw potential in the tiny helicopter, and he recruited 16 friends and family members to transform it into a working roadster.
Together, Bloch and his volunteers mounted the helicopter onto the frame of an old Toyota van wagon. Then, they fitted it with a lightweight rear suspension salvaged from a Mazda Miata. The final product didn’t look as sleek as Bloch imagined, so he added pontoons to hide the vehicle’s chassis. Bloch intended for them to serve as bumpers—but he later realized that the hollow cylinders could make the car float, too.
Bloch operates the Racecopter on land and in water. In May, it took home the Organizer's Choice award at the 24 Hours of LeMons race. And when Bloch feels like taking the car for a lake cruise, he runs a 7000 rpm four-blade propeller, taken from a parasail boat, to turn the Racecopter into a seaworthy watercraft.
Watch Bloch’s Racecopter in action below, or check out the engineer's website to view more of his clever hybrid vehicles.
[h/t Popular Science]
Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at email@example.com.