Farmers' homemade helicopter poised for take off

Updated April 25: Vietnamese farmers who built their own helicopter may take to the air within a week, local press reports say. Officials inspected the craft on Wednesday, and are considering approving a limited flight test.

If official approval comes, it will be the end of a 5 year battle for Tran Quoc Hai and Le Van Danh, who have faced arrest and heavy financial losses in their quest to soar aloft in the boxy red chopper they built in Hai's tractor workshop.

Officials who inspected the chopper this week limited it to a low speed engine test, and would not allow pilot Hai to take to the air, according to Saigon's Tiep Thi newspaper.

The Vietnamese inventing duo are often described as farmers by local press because they come from an agricultural background. Hai is also an accomplished mechanic who runs a small agricultural machinery factory. Danh, who has provided much of the $20,000 spent on the project, invests in real estate. The photo below shows then next to their helicopter - Hai is on the right.

vietnam homemade helicopter Based on an inspection of the chopper and Hai's workshop, defense ministry experts immediately said they were concerned about several aspects of the aircraft. The trial-and-error nature of the design process gives them particular cause for concern in a field which allows little room for error.

Will the home-made metal alloys used in critical parts such as rotor blades be strong enough, one expert asked. The tips of helicopter rotor blades move close to supersonic speeds, producing the craft's characteristic sound.

A ministry pilot questioned the suitability of the Russian truck engine that powers the craft. Light military helicopters have twin 1400 horsepower engines, he said. The light-weight DIY chopper's engine is believed to produce less than 300 horsepower.

The officials said they would decide whether to permit the craft to proceed to a low level hovering flight test, or suggest changes, by next weekend .

The inventors have proposed various uses for their helicopter, including aerial observation, cattle herding, and spraying crops with pesticide.

Update April 13: The Vietnamese Defense Ministry has denied permission for a test flight of the helicopter in its current form, according to the Thanh Nien Daily News.

Update April 25: Tran Quoc Hai has appealed to Vietnam's prime minister, asking him to allow testing to continue. The prime minister intervened in the case late last year, telling government officials to proceed with a review of the helicopter, when it had appeared they might not do so.

fly the damn thing

fly the damn thing

innovation in it's true

innovation in it's true form............don't hold him back. Major changes in this world come from those willing to go it alone.

Why wait for approval? Just fly the damn thing!

Why wait for approval???...Just fly the damn thing!!

I agree you built it fly the thing!

I agree you built it, fly the thing!


This is what i hate about this goverment ... and all goverments in general... is that they are full of sh*t.. U dont see farmers make helicopter often now do u? and when finally someone is smart enough to make something they giving sh*t like they care if that little sh*t causes any injury to the pilot.. they just care about national security..

F**K OFF I always wanted to buy a homemade airplane one day i will do something like this too and watch the goverment will stop me from test fly...

well f**k off im gonna fly it and only the FAA can stop me in the air !

I'd worry more about the

I'd worry more about the military than the FAA...

It's always the the people

It's always the the people that the rest of the world considers a "nobody" who step forward to change their own world because no one is willing to help them. The guy had a need and had the innovation to move forward. Let him fly.

nice chopper fly it

nice chopper fly it

Amazing What people could do

Amazing What people could do when they put their minds to it!! Time & Money were spent on that thing and it should fly!!! Screw what the government says!

Just fly test, the government won't discover

I'm also a Vietnamese, It's a shame that Vmese are still unable to make our own planes. The government is now willing to spend billions of USD to buy all kinds of planes/helicopters/fighter from Europe/Russia/US but ignore these 2 farmers who should be treated as two of the most respectful scientists these days. This is the reason why VN can never be as strong as Japan and other developed nations. They just buy the products and forget and do not dare to invest in developing what we need. It's better to use the money for studying, developing and manufacturing all what we need. If I were the PM, what I would do first is to spend as much money as VN can in producing all we need independently. More importantly I wold invite these 2 farmers to spend the rest of their life studying to make their best helicopters made in VN and treat them like heroes.


like them, I'm also a person who like to try something that can provide something for the use of our goverment, something that we can achieve to be proud for (develoment) for the use of our own country. Great creation of idea can bring any country a step forward to have a own built helicopter, it just need a bit of upgread and modification and it's a major success.These ideas can less money spending for the goverment by dealing with foreign aircraft that will cost great deal of money and services. So to any goverment please do down to these people who are being brave enough to try something for the good purpose and for the benifit for own country. Continuous devolopement can make these ideas to a great achievement. So just let these two Vietnemese experiment their own built helicopter. Success to them...

Brilliant... what is it they say about mIce and Men

they try again and again and again.

Maybe the powers that be... think you have a brilliant escape plan and the only way they stop you escaping is to........... stop you flying!

Governments the world over stop inovation for there own GREED, make sure the underside of the fuselage is bullet proof, get all the press coverage as you can, then do a short flight with a clear exit route, and go for it. Sod them all........ Well done!
fellow aviator....

Fly the bird!!!!

An acquaintance of mine , Howard Hughes, paid no attention to the Feds when they forbade him to fly the "Spruce Goose" and he flew it just to show it worked. I have a fine picture of its one and only flight. So did Orville and Wilbur do it at Kitty Hawk!

Do it, guys!!!! It is your money and your physical risk.

Just flying is risky and it was moreso in the 1930's, we would still be grounded if the VN govt attitudes prevailed.

I hate people and governments who want to make my decisions and they are arrogant enough to think it is their right to do so.

that is the ugliest piece

that is the ugliest piece of crap i have ever seen in my entire freeking life. its time for crack head to trow away that s**t you are showing the public.


The HC21 is truly the ugly flying banana however it was considered the "workhorse" machine for the military for almost 20 years. There is beauty in function. You seem to fit the description of Taylor Caldwell's idealist. "Scratch an idealist and you will find a pathetically inadequate man consumed with envy.".

well done

The mother of all invention is dedication, If you have this which you oviously have then you are destined. === ALL THE LUCK YOU DESERVE ===

Helicopter Test Flight

I don't see any reason to prevent testing of any homemade machine if the builder is willing to take the risk upon himself and take measures to insure the safety of the public. I doubt that a truck engine has a sufficient horsepower to weight ratio to be practical for a helicopter unless it was turbocharged. Even mild steel should be sufficient in strength to use in the rotor hub and wooden blades would be the best choice for a one off machine. If Hai is rated in a helicopter, I think he should proceed however, even a fixed wing pilot would kill himself trying to fly a chopper without having learned the coordination required. I can't see why Hai would build such a heavy machine in a first attempt. Perhaps someone should send him a set of plans to the Adam Wilson Choppy. I believe the reason Vietnamese officials object is that they may consider it a loss of face if the machine were to crashed. The only other reasons would be jealousy or megalomania.

Where would the world be If

Where would the world be If none of us followed our dreams?
furthermore,would man even be flying today if people like the wright brothers listened to evryone that was concerned whether their machine would fly or not? It's people like this that make the world go around.Who is anyone to say you can't,when they themselves have never had the grit to do anything extra ordinary! Good job! to the builder of this machine.My thoughts are..Sometimes it it easier to beg for forgiveness than it is to get permission...FLY IT! If you end up in troule,atleast the dream was relized.

hi friend this is very good

hi friend this is very good job