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More Information on the Captive Copter

More in-depth info on the Captive Copter.

View of girl in children's tethered helicopter.

Girl riding in the “Captive Copter” -a homemade tethered children’s helicopter.


Youngsters take to the air at the end of a revolving boom in a modern aerial merry-go-round.

Thrills no amusement-park ride can beat are your children’s every day with this captive copter. With only a 15-second briefing, any youngster can safely take off, hover, climb, whiz around a 28 foot circle (actual speed is 1.5 mph) and touch down to a feather-soft landing. Spectacular as it is, the copter is quite safe. Its low-slung seat and counterweight make the device inherently stable. Low prop pitch and motor r.p.m. limit forward speed. Centrifugal force keeps the pilot from landing, even with power off, until the boom has almost stopped turning. Even wind has little effect on the copter. As for space, you can fly it in any clear area 35 feet or more in diameter. Build it or buy it. Construction calls for fitting and welding steel tube and plate. If you don’t have welding facilities, you can take the cut-to-size pieces to a welding shop. Or you can buy finished parts (such as the long boom) and make the simpler parts yourself. You can also get a complete, bolt-together kit that includes a wiremesh cage for the propeller. Available separately too, this prop guard is a recommended safety feature.

How it flies: 
A seat hangs on one end of a boom, free to swing in a plane parallel to the boom, which itself pivots on its mounting post, while the post turns on a vertical axis. On the short end of the boom is a weight box to counterbalance pilots. A motor of 1/6 to 1/3  hp  is pivoted at the top of the helicopter. With a control stick, the pilot can tilt the motor (and its prop) fore or aft. Straight up, it makes the copter climb. Tilted forward, it holds altitude and flies forward as well. Backward flight results from tilting the control stick back.

Editor’s Note:
This is original vintage information, and some of it is outdated. There are no longer kits available to purchase and assemble.

You can go back to the main plans page and purchase them here.