Beach Shoot #3 - Experimental Sugar Helicopter

Date: 2003-09-03


I've always wanted to try making helicopter/bee style turning devices. This was my first try.

The KN/Sucrose/Gum-Arabic cookie-like propellant I made up was crushed and packed into a 40 mm long cardboard tube, 10 mm ID. The tube is the core from a fax roll. End plugs were made of paper and hot-melt glue, about 10 mm thick.

A 3 mm diameter hole was made at one end, fused with a meal-NC tissue paper fuse. A rotor was made by gently heating a paddle-pop stick in the middle over my alcohol burner and twisting. It was hot-melt glued with to the end opposite the fuse-hole.


Produced very little thrust.

I don't know if the fuel was moisture tainted like the Yawn style rocket, but it basically just smoked with a small flame. Towards the end of the burn it did heat up and make about three slow turns.

I didn't actually expect this one to take off, but I did expect a good spin up on the ground. The test was mainly to assess the wings strength and attachment. I hoped the wings would stop it rolling over and turning into a small fountain like the last two hummers did.

The idea seems sound, the propellant needs to be better. The hole in the case burnt out to nearly 8 mm, clearly I need to make up some tooling and ram a nozzle in cat litter with intersecting drill holes. Maybe a little waterglass in the hole?

The video quality really sucks. The camera won't always focus up in low light conditions, the audio is more useful giving burn time.


title type size
Device Burn video/x-msvideo 2.447 Mbytes
Pre-Test Picture image/jpeg 55.190 kbytes
Post-Mortem Picture image/jpeg 28.990 kbytes