Helihome: The Crazy 1970’s Flying Camper

As a child growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s in the Pacific Northwest, I have a ton of memories of climbing into my grandparents’ Winnebago and environment off for some anonymous moss-protected, mosquito-stuffed hellscape virtually every single weekend through the summer season. As a final result, I have combined feelings about RVs, but I consider if my grandparents had squired me about in the Winnebago Helihome as a substitute of their terrestrial rig, those people feelings wouldn’t be combined at all.

What’s a Winnebago Helihome, you inquire? If you’re picturing a helicopter with brown stripes and a laminate-and-velour-covered inside, you are proper on the income, and would not you know, it was a serious detail — variety of. If you have got inquiries, that is comprehensible, so permit YouTuber Calum explain it to you in his gentle Scottish brogue.

Of class, if you do not have 16 minutes and 25 seconds to zone out and understand about recreational helicopters, I’ll split it down for you. Generally, the Winnebago Helihome started off as a decommissioned Sikorsky S-55 helicopter (the U.S. navy designation for this was H-19 “Chickasaw”) that was restored and upfitted by a organization in Florida termed Orlando Helicopter Airways. It was this firm that to begin with built and constructed a helicopter RV known as the Heli-Camper, which caught the interest of RV huge Winnebago.

Winnebago beloved the thought of a heli-RV so substantially, the company contracted Orlando Helicopter Airways to construct a Winnebago-branded version termed the Helihome. The Helihome featured quite a few of the very same interior options as contemporary floor-based mostly leisure automobiles, like convertible seating, an electric stove and fridge, heating and air conditioning devices and even a bathroom with a chemical bathroom and shower.

It most likely will not shock you that, aside from the prototype device commissioned by Winnebago, neither Winnie nor Orlando Helicopter Airways sold extremely a lot of helicopter RVs. Component of that is definitely down to the reality that most daily folks really do not have a helicopter pilot’s license. Similarly vital, the Winnebago edition began at close to $300,000 in late-1970s dollars. That’s close to $1.34 million in today’s revenue.

Regardless of not being a professional achievements — and not kicking off the dawn of a new age of civilian aviation wherever every home had a whirlybird in the garage — the Helihome was an magnificent strategy that has continued to stoke the imaginations of aviation geeks for the improved section of 50 years.


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By Bethann