80 years ago today the Fw 61, the first really practical helicopter, took the skies. Designed by Henrich Focke and Gerd Achgelis after their involvement in the early 1930s with the La Cierva autogyros convinced them of that kind of aircraft limitations. Using La Cierva’s rotor technology as a basis just two of this helicopter were built. They not only proved the practicality of the basic concept but also achieved several speed, altitude and flight duration records along the way.
Noted German test pilot Hanna Reitsch is seen here in the tour-de-force indoors demonstration she performed in the Deutschlandhalle sport stadium (Berlin) Feb. 19, 1938.