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Yes, the US army actually built this one-man helicopter prototype in the 50s

Before the Segway, there was the amphibious one-man HZ-1 Aerocycle in 1956 specifically designed to mobilize inexperienced pilots. The pilot could guide the helicopter by leaning forward in the direction he wants to head to while standing upright on the pedestal. The United States Army quickly abandoned the project after a couple of crashes signaled that the learning curve for operating the experimental hovering aircraft was simply too steep for untrained infantrymen. Anyway, we’ve been replaying the footage of the aircraft (‘Look! No hands!’) for the past ten minutes and still can’t get the phrase ‘What the hell?’ out of our mouths.

About the author

Low Lai Chow travels light and is working on exercising demons from her past. Find out more about her at lowlaichow.com.

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