History of Helicopters

The 42052 LEGO® Technic Heavy Lift Helicopter is the one of the biggest helicopters we have designed so far. But what are our designers’ favorite top five helicopters? Find out here!

This time in our “History of” series, we’re taking our favorite HELICOPTERS since the beginning of time (at least since we started making LEGO® Technic helicopters) out for a spin. The 42052 Heavy Lift Helicopter is the latest and one of the biggest helicopters we have designed. Here’s a look back at its family album:

The 70s
Model: 852 Helicopter
Year: 1977
Claim to fame: The first and only helicopter released in the 1970s. Twice, actually – the first time in 1977 and again in 1978 as the 954 Sky Copter. Its size (40cm/almost 16” long), synchronized top and tail rotor spinning function, and tilting rotor function make it a popular member of the Technic family to this day. 
Alternative model was a biplane.

It was designed by Jan Ryaa who actually still works his design and construction magic for the LEGO Group today.

The 80s
Model: 8640 Polar Copter
Year: 1986
Claim to fame: As part of the Polar theme that included the 8620 Snow Scooter, 8660 Arctic Rescue Unit and 8680 Arctic Rescue Base, the Polar Copter was one of the most popular sets of 1986. It has room for a buildable Technic action figure to fly off on cool (and cold) missions – alone or combined with the other sets.

The alternative model was a Propeller Sleigh. As far as we know, we haven’t had that in our assortment before or since then.
It was designed by Ole Vestergaard Poulsen and Jan Ryaa.

The 90s
Model: 8856 Whirlwind Rescue 
Year: 1991
Claim to fame: Definitely the most detailed and functions-packed helicopter we had made so far. Spinning main and tail rotors, a joystick lets you tilt the main rotors as they spin, and you have the extendable crane arm with a winch you can lower for lots of action play. Still one of our favorites today.

Model: 8485 Control Center II
Year: 1995
Claim to fame: We’re skipping the 00s to make room for another awesome helicopter from the 90s. This was a really fun one! The 9V powered Control Center lets you program how the helicopter moves. It’s mounted on a control lever that can raise and let you simulate take-off. With three motors it’s still a blast to play with!

The 10s
Model: 9396 Helicopter
Year: 2012
Claim to fame: Still holds the Technic Helicopter element record with 1056 pieces. The first helicopter you could upgrade with Power Functions (although it wasn’t included in the box). In addition to the rotors, it has retracting landing gear, sliding doors, opening rear cargo ramp and a winch. 
Designed by Markus Kossmann. 

Have you ever designed your own Technic helicopter? Or have you modified one of these sets? Show us in the Gallery.