Tech Time Warp of the Week: The 1940s RC Copter That Paved the Way for Amazon’s Drones

April 10, 2015 9:47 PM

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This week the Federal Aviation Administration gave Amazon a green light to test its drone delivery program. It could be years before you can actually have a quadcopter drop off your Amazon orders, assuming that it ever happens at all. But it’s impressive that it’s even a possibility considering that only a few decades ago, the idea of stable helicopter flight was a novel idea.

The helicopter wasn’t invented by any single person. Simple propeller-based toys were used in China as far back as 400 BC, and many inventors built motorized versions over the years. But it was philosopher and mathematician Arthur M. Young who invented the first helicopter that was actually useful.

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