New Zealander Builds Working Helicopter from Scratch

New Zealander Builds Working Helicopter from Scratch


Engineer and rotorcraft enthusiast Cameron Carter finally realized his dream of building and flying his own helicopter. This dedicated New Zealander has spent 12 years engineering this complicated personal flying machine.

He sought a project that involved solving all the problems that the pioneers of aviation had to solve. One of his biggest motivations was proving he could do it to all who thought it couldn’t be done. In his videos you can see him working to solve problems of radiator pressure, thermal siphoning, and eliminating overheating after shutdown.

Check out this video for a close up of the engine and radiator.

YouTube player

He solved the load to lift problem by selecting the right engine for the job, a V4 common to 1970’s two seat helicopters. The engine is a two stroke approximately 1600cc, weighs about 100lb and has high power to weight ratio (140 horsepower at the flywheel). In a discussion on his YouTube channel he explains how he discovered that running 5000 RPM makes the best of the engine’s torque curve. He only used 46 horsepower to hover at ground effect (one rotor blade’s diameter from the ground). Unfortunately, flying any higher has met with a serious obstacle. The problem isn’t engineering, it’s  the time and money required to meet the standards of aviation regulation.


Sadly, Cameron explains on his YouTube channel that the civil aviation authority strongly advised him to discontinue the project. He said “ It has been an very interesting challenge and has taught me a lot of different skills and process.” Ultimately, Cameron has demonstrated the perseverance and know how required to build a flying machine from scratch, a worthy accomplishment!

See him flying and testing, hovering and maneuvering.

YouTube player


Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Theron is an educator, business owner, writer, and consultant working within Springfield, MO and the Ozarks community. He enjoys making and building with his 11 year old son and likes to read and write about science, technology, education, sci fi, martial arts, and philosophy.

View more articles by Theron Sturgess


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.