Nicholas Florine Tandem Helicopter


May 21, 2006
Santa Clarita, CA
In the Chinook Legacy thread, Chuck Beaty linked a video of Nicolas Florine Tandem Helicopter. Thank you Chuck.

This prompt me to do a quick Google search to see what I can find on Nicolas Florine. I found the following Belgian website that is very interesting and detailed. Here's the link to that Belgian website:

Although I never learned to speak French, I'm able to read it with a comprehension level of about 40%, meaning I get the "gist" of what has been written. Nevertheless, it is much easier to comprehend when the information has been translated into English.

The following text from the Vieillestiges website has been translated by using Google Translate. My apologies for the poor grammar that GT creates.


I. Personality

Born in Batumi (Georgia), on 1 August 1891
Died at Brussels, 21 January 1972
civil engineer in aeronautical engineering from the Institute of Engineers of St. Petersburg Communication Channels

(Do was not a member of the Old Rod)

His career

* Immigrant in Belgium in 1920, he quickly gets the small Belgian naturalization.
* It is immediately assigned to the Aeronautical Technical Service and turned on engineering in Aeronautical Engineering Laboratory Belgium récemmment created in Sint-Genesius-Rode.
* He led mathematical studies of aerodynamic phenomena still poorly understood especially in the area still undeveloped on technical and aerodynamics of rotary-wing aircraft.
* In 1926, he filed to Brussels a patent for new devices for multirotors helicopters.

The engineer Nicolas Florine was 29 years old when he left Russia and settled in Belgium where he arrived in 1920 (identity document of the time)

* In the late 1920s, he designed a project based on the use of two lifting rotors arranged in tandem. This "solution Florine" materializes between 1929 and 1939 in the form of three helicopters prototypes. After the 2nd World War, the project of a small helicopter with four rotors starts but does not survive the withdrawal of official support in 1949.
* The great naturalization it is offered by Belgium in 1934 in recognition of distinguished service to the nation and its aeronautics.
* Nicolas Florine remains attached to the Aeronautics Technical Department until his retirement in 1956

II. Curriculum vitae

"An iron fist in a velvet glove ... of three layers! A push modesty into a corner. The indulgence made man. A leader knowing smooth things; softness in command! Yet the character, firmness, energy.

An engineer daring to cycle through a question without fear of finding the facts that result, they dussent ruin theories that were most dear to him; a scientist studying several inventions to faith, so that one sometimes wonders if he does not have the gift of ubiquity.

Born mathematician, Mr. Florine relaxes by working and working to relax. "

(Victor Boin, in the Conquest of the Air Brussels 1 April 1929)

Born in Batumi during a visit to his parents in Georgia, Nicolas Florine spent his childhood and youth in St. Petersburg, where the family lives. He was 19 when accompanying his father, he comes to Belgium on the occasion of a visit to the Brussels World Fair in 1910.

He attended the Institute of Engineers of Ways of Communication in St. Petersburg. In 1914, at age 23, he obtained a civil engineering degree in aeronautical engineering. At the same institute, he will be assistant professor S. Timoshenko, famous Russian mechanic. There he meets a young engineer who, in 1910 in Kiev, tried unsuccessfully to fly two helicopters of manufacture: Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky was, who realized his dream much later in the United States.

It will also be attached to the Service of the Central Administration of the Technical Committee of the Russian Air Fleet war whose director was Professor Dimitri Yacovleff (who later became professor at the University of Liège).

When the Bolshevik revolution broke out in 1917, he decided to leave Russia via Finland. It offers its services in several nations; the United States and Belgium respond favorably

He chose Belgium, where he arrived in 1920 at the age of 29 years. Belgian scientists he meets are impressed by the keen intelligence, vast knowledge and mathematical genius of the young immigrant. Without delay, he turned on engineering at the Paris Air Technical Service where he is responsible for mathematical studies on the aerodynamic behavior of aircraft wings and on the operation of the flight propellers.

In 1920, he was assigned to the Aeronautical Engineering Laboratory of Belgium has just been created in Sint-Genesius-Rode. Together with Alfred Renard, he participated in the study and construction of the first large wind tunnel which Belgium is endowed.

His mathematical studies on various aerodynamic phenomena are still poorly known published in Belgium and abroad. By January 1922, the Bulletin No. 1 Aeronautical Engineering Laboratory publishes a scientific and mathematical study entitled Trail induced airplane wings. Later will be published a monumental study of a hundred pages entitled Some Problems of the vortex theory of screw propeller and wing airplane.

Florine studies also address the area completely fallow for rotary-wing aircraft. He drops in Brussels December 3, 1926 a patent protecting the new systems and devices it intends to helicopters multirotors; that include tandem rotors rotating in the same direction; the control of the reaction torque by lateral inclination of the axes of the rotors; control mechanisms blade pitch multiple rotors. This patent is subsequently deposited in Britain, Germany and the United States.

The results of calculations that led to the filing of the patent invention are published in the Bulletin of Aeronautics Technical Department under the title Elements of stability calculation of a helicopter, study completed by a note on the establishment of equations movement in three-dimensional space Risack signed by the Professor of the Ecole Militaire. This document of fifty pages is crucial: it is the basis of inventions and subsequent achievements of Nicolas Florine.

The ability to achieve innovative solutions from theoretical studies took shape in 1927 when the SNETA (National Society for the Study of Air Transport) provides financial support to the helicopter project presented by the young inventor. The FNRS (National Fund for Scientific Research), where he holds the title of researcher, bring him to turn its financial support in 1931 and build three tandem rotor helicopters Florine the Type I, Type II and Type III - then after the 2nd World War, it will undertake the construction of a small single seat helicopter with four rotors.

Most of his scientific work was dedicated to helicopters. But occasionally in his engineering function of the Technical Department of Aeronautics, Nicolas Florine will sometimes be responsible for conducting investigation teams and investigation during aircraft occurred in Belgium or abroad accidents.

His inventiveness, his very universal genius also grow to other areas of science. He was passionately interested in photography and performs stereoscopic instruments. The "cinema" as the passionate! It develops and manufactures a continuous feed device for cinema projectors. He still designs a film process "color" from black and white film: it uses it for three goals associated with three filters that allow the superposition of colored images.

Another facet of his talent: the design of a glider presented in 1923 in a glider plan competition; beautiful cantilever monoplane wings of high aspect ratio (16 m span) won the competition.

Mathematics is however not unique horizon. Nicolas Florine is such a great lover of the game of chess. And, like many mathematical minds, it is very good pianist; but it played no memory of what was disastrous when, towards the end of his life, a retinal detachment rendered him almost blind.

Young Russian immigrant citizen in our country and eager to settle there, he asked and quickly got the "small naturalization" Belgian. The "great naturalization" he was "offered" by the Nation in 1934, an unusual procedure justified by outstanding services to Belgium and the aeronautics.

Attached to STAé until his retirement in 1956, Nicolas Florine goes off January 21, 1972 in Brussels in its 81st year.

III. Outstanding achievement

The framework

During the first third of the 20th century, the helicopter remains almost a "distant dream"! ! ! While there is a continued evolution of aircraft performance which quickly become "operational" (we cross the North Atlantic in 1927) shows on the contrary that the progress of the helicopter remains slow and that many attempts made by daring to rotary wing machines inventors are failures for most.

In 1922, a "monstrous" four-rotor machine designed by the United States of Bothezat, is hovering in 1 minute 42 seconds. Eight years later in 1930 (the year Mermoz realized by plane the first postal link South America-Europe) an Italian manufacturer, D'Ascanio managed to fly a helicopter with two counter-rotating rotors for 8 minutes 45 seconds . But all this leads to nothing lasting.

In Belgium, under the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Nicolas Florine attacks in the 1920s with the terrible challenges of stability and maneuverability of rotary-wing aircraft. It leads to the subject of scholarly studies mathematics and made many practical wind tunnel. The results led him to choose to experiment with the formula of the helicopter to two rotors arranged in tandem.

In 1929 he built a first prototype which will test bed for innovations he designed. A second device, built according to the same principle but improved in 1933 will succeed the first indisputable demonstration of the technical feasibility of the tandem rotor configuration. The feat of Florine II has a global impact.

the realization

To control the recurring problems that put the performance of the helicopter far behind those of the plane, Nicolas Florine will throw in the balance all the weight of his science, his genius and inventiveness. It will have to Sint-Genesius-Rode modern means at its disposal by the Aeronautical Engineering Laboratory.

Testing of dynamic elements and main mechanical assemblies required for the construction of a tandem helicopter rotors are made in the Laboratory, particularly on scale models of the blades and on scale models of rotors with controlling the pitch of the blades. To do this, Florine conducted an ingenious test machine that can simultaneously record seven parameters and can work at different angles of attack of blades (not collective), to vary the incidence of the blades in motion (cyclic variation blade pitch) and to tilt the propeller axis with respect to the relative wind (simulation of the displacement of the helicopter). The test equipment also can simulate and measure ground effect on lift (flying close to the ground) and to operate the rotor in autorotation (case of engine failure).

The solution tandem rotors as conceived by Nicolas Florine presents an exceptional and innovative feature: that of rotating the two sustentatrices propellers in the same direction. Their reaction torques is therefore not balance each other but calculations made by the inventor indicate that the aircraft will benefit fully gyroscopic stabilizers and aerodynamic effects inherent to the rotation of the two independent wings. But it is nevertheless necessary to balance the reaction torques; Florine for that designs and manufactures a completely new solution: it tilts laterally (toward the left the other to the right) axes of rotation of the rotors about 7 ° to either side of the longitudinal axis of the helicopter and thus obtains the automatic balancing of the pairs; secondly, by action of the pilot on the rudder pedals, tilt axis can be slightly modified to control the horizontal rotation of the helicopter around its vertical axis.

In 1927, Nicolas Florine began in Sint-Genesius-Rode building full scale of a first prototype. Florine is the I that will be used to test the technical and aerodynamic solutions new protected by the patent of invention of 1926. The trials begin in 1929 and continue until the summer of 1930 during ' a static test, a catastrophic failure of the transmission seriously damage the appliance. The Florine I will, until its destruction, was the necessary testing ground to ground on which all the dynamic elements were systematically subjected to torture.

In 1931, taking advantage of the tests made with the first prototype, he undertakes the construction of Florine II: the fuselage welded pipe is manufactured in Alfred Renard; the radial engine 9-cylinder 200 hp also comes from Fox workshops. A young engineer Robert Collin Aeronautical Engineering Laboratory is associated with the realization of the helicopter, which will be the test driver. The first flight is attempted 12 April 1933 on the narrow lawn between buildings Laboratory and Waterloosesteenweg. This is the beginning of a long series of twenty flights (which, for a prototype, is outstanding at the time of the pioneers). These flights, for a few seconds and then gradually a few minutes, are peppered with many technical incidents which Florine Collin Fox methodically and provide solutions. In the fall, progress is significant, stability and maneuverability are very satisfactory as to allow, on October 25, 1933, to unofficially beat the world helicopter flight duration record: Robert Collin Florine in command of II takes the air for 9 minutes 58 seconds. Flights made Sint-Genesius-Rode demonstrate for the first time the practical feasibility of the tandem rotor helicopter could fly continuously thanks to a system of effective flight control, accurate and reliable that allow the driver to properly control the device around the pitch axis, roll and yaw.

In early 1934, the Florine II is transported to the airfield Haren to pursue the straight flight tests and in turn progressively increased speeds. The device is destroyed May 4, 1934. Following the malfunction of one of the clutches of the transmission, the rotors rotate at slightly different speeds; the driver lost control of the helicopter with rotors develop unbalanced bearing capacities. Robert Collin, well protected by the fuselage welded pipe, unscathed from the accident. Remarkably at that time the pioneers where helicopters prototypes ephemeral lives, the Florine II made over thirty test flights between April 1933 and May 1934.

The basic principles of the "Florine solution '' is not challenged by the accident of the prototype II, it was decided to build a third unit of the same formula but Florine III will be a twin (for power and security); rotor blades are folded stopped (reduced footprint); the welded pipe structure will be calculated to be lighter than that of Florine II. The first flight is made by Collin 15 September 1936. Despite the technological advances incorporated in the new prototype, it proves less well born than its predecessor: the fuselage is reduced but lacks rigidity, resulting in stability on the ground and maneuverability in flight capricious. Brief unsatisfactory flights will follow until the fall of 1937 when, during a test, Collin loses ground control Florine III which heavily layer on the grass. The decision was taken in 1939 not to pursue testing. The Florine III, registration OO-STA is stricken from the registers 17 July 1939. This is the end of the tandem rotor helicopter program running in the same direction.

During the occupation of Belgium during the Second World War, Nicolas Florine secretly studied a small single-engine helicopter with four rotors. After the liberation of the territory, the project is approved and construction company Florine IV in 1945. The helicopter partially assembled and a wind tunnel model at 1/5 scale will be displayed at the Air Show in Brussels 1947 when we announced trials for 1948. But the official support Florine IV is suspended before finishing the helicopter; the project was finally abandoned in 1949. This marks the end for Nicolas Florine official work on Belgium in the design and manufacture of rotary-wing aircraft.

The context

To assess the exceptional importance and global reach of the pioneering contribution of Nicolas Florine the progress of the helicopter complex technology, it is necessary to place his work in the context of aeronautical progress as a whole in the early 20th century. Here we see the deep gap that has emerged between, on one hand, the rapid development of aircraft performance and, secondly, changes barely sketched rotorcraft. Some landmarks mark out this period (helicopter-related dates are in italics):

1903 first manned flight of an aircraft (Wilbur and Orville Wright)
1907 France, a device with two rotors would have made the first free flight of a helicopter for a period of a few seconds (Paul Cornu)
1908-1910 in Russia, Igor Sikorsky tried unsuccessfully to scramble two helicopters from conception
1909 first Channel crossing by plane (Louis Blériot)
1914-1918 on the battlefields of the Great War, the planes of the two camps are daily observation, bombing, photography and affron- tent in furious dogfights
1914 Belgium, Ornis (a lift and a main rotor anti-torque tail rotor) is tried unsuccessfully (Henri Gerard)
1922 in the United States, a helicopter with four lifting rotors is hovering 1 min 42 sec; it would be a world first (Georges Bothezat)
1927 first crossing of the North Atlantic by plane (Charles Lindberg)
1930 first air mail service Europe-South America (Jean Mermoz)
1930 in Italy, a rotorcraft with two coaxial rotors designed by D'Ascanio sets the world record of helicopter flight time (8 min 45 sec)
1933 a Potez 50 aircraft reached an altitude of 13,660 meters (Gustave Lemoine)
1933-1934 Belgian engineer Robert Collin flying the experimental helicopter rotors in tandem Florine II Renard engine performs thirty flights to Sint-Genesius-Rode and Haren
1935 first test flight of the Douglas DC-3, the precursor of the famous C-47 Dakota
1939 year-end, first hampered hovering (device connected to the ground by cables) helicopter Vought-Sikorsky VS 300 main rotor and tail lift tail rotor
In 1941 after two years of tribulation, of difficult trials and multiple change orders, Igor Sikorsky completes the development of its small rotorcraft, in the version VS-300 E becomes the first helicopter used monorotor; it will be commanded in series by the US Army

This shows that when Nicolas Florine calculated (in the 20s), then designs and flying (in the 30s) its experimental prototypes helicopters, hundreds of planes already show the world a beautiful maturity: they are operational in many civilian and military applications.

By cons, during the same period, merely satisfactory results recorded by experimental devices rotorcraft are rare and generally insignificant. This is due to the extreme complexity of aerodynamic solutions, own mechanical and industrial helicopters, including the dynamic elements are subjected to dangerous vibrations of drive shafts and the huge stresses generated by centrifugal force in the rotor in motion.

This highlights the forerunner of the studies and achievements of Florine: there is in fact that, after the remarkable series of flights of Florine II, he spent six years before Igor Sikorsky (which is often said to be the father usable helicopter) finished studying his helicopter and pass a first hovering flight aboard his 300 VS whose laborious full development will take two more years, until 1941.

As for the formula of tandem rotors of Florine II demonstrated the value it was taken later by Frank Piasecki through which, firstly, technological advances made in the meantime and, secondly, to contribution of US military funding, manages to reach the complex solution helicopters multirotors cleared 12 years ago by Nicolas Florine ..

What particularly distinguishes the work of Florine is his scientific approach to understanding and progressive mastery of complex phenomena related to in-flight operation of rotorcraft. Many of the pioneers of that time admitted "often confide in their crystal ball" before deciding to test empirically successive remedies for acute problems. On the contrary, the universal knowledge and the mathematical genius Florine allowed him to understand the causes of the problems found during testing and to quickly bring solutions accurately calculated for both the aerodynamic blades and rotors for the mastery of the critical problem of vibration mechanical assemblies ..

In conclusion

Nicolas Florine, an engineer at the Paris Air Technical Service Belgium seen by cartoonist Delp (The Conquest of the Air-Brussels - April 1929)

It is not rash to say that, in 1930, Nicolas Florine mastered the basic elements of the formula tandem rotors. So at that time, his pioneering work focused Belgium in a vanguard position in this field. By scientific and practical achievements studies, the nation has contributed significantly to the progress of the fledgling art of the helicopter in general and the helicopter multirotor in particular.

It is internationally recognized that with Florine II, powered by a motor and controlled by Renard test engineer Robert Collin, Nicolas Florine in 1933 demonstrated for the first time and repeatedly, the potential value of the formula of helicopter rotors in tandem realizing at Sint-Genesius-Rode many well controlled flights and an unofficial world record for flight duration.

Lack of sufficient financial resources and in the absence of a firm commitment of the civil and military authorities of the country, the development of its promising project could be pushed fast enough and far enough lead time to "practice the helicopter" as research.

(Text written by Colonel Aviator Alphonse E. R. Dumoulin, a member of the board of the Old Rod Aviation Belgian)

IV. various references and testimonials


BESSER Rolf Technik und geschichte der Hubschrauber (Band 1)
Bernard und Graef Verlag München 1982
The author confirms that the tandem arrangement of helicopter rotors was successfully demonstrated for the first time by Nicolas Florine in Belgium. Comparing Florine II (1933/1934) and XHRP-1 prototype of the "flying banana" Piasecki, Besser wrote the helicopter Florine is a foreshadowing of devices and Piasecki Vertol Seaknight and Chinook.

BOULET Jean Helicopter narrated by its pioneers (1907-1956)
Editions France Empire - 1982 - Paris
In his book, the author (former Director of Flight Testing of the helicopters Division of Aerospatiale) devotes an important chapter in the work of Florine. He believes he was a great pioneer of the helicopter and is one of the great names in history.

Dumoulin, Alphonse Helicopters Florine 1920-1950 -
Belgium at the forefront of the giraviation Memoirs of the Belgian Air Force in 1999 and Coedition FNAR AELR Brussels
History of the overall work of Nicolas Florine on multirotors helicopters studied and developed in Belgium for thirty years.

LIBERATORE, Eugene Rotary Wing Handbooks and History
Prewitt Aircraft Company -1954 Clifton Heights, PA, USA
Conducted at the request of the US armed forces, this study of several thousand pages lists all of what has been imagined or realized worldwide in the field of rotary wing (Leonardo da Vinci ... ..aux 50s ). The American study mentions several times the work of Florine.


DESCAMPS, Alphonse Contribution to the study of rotorcraft
Royal Society of Industrial Engineers No. May 1948 Brussels
The author, an aspiring FNRS researcher, participated Florine in wind tunnel tests in 1935 on models of blades and rotors for Florine III. It describes these tests and discusses the results.

FLORINE, Nicolas Elements of calculating the stability of a helicopter
STAé Bulletin No. October 1930 Brussels
This learned 50-page document is crucial: it is the basis of inventions and achievements of Nicolas Florine in the field of multirotors helicopters.

FLORINE, Nicolas Helicopter
invention patent No. 338 599 3 December 1926 Brussels
descriptive document and illustrated the "Florine solution" on a helicopter with two rotors in tandem or a triangle trirotor.

(Under the auspices of the Royal Academy of Belgium)

JAUMOTTE, André (Baron) Nicolas Florine, Engineer Technical Department of Aeronautics
NBN, Tome in March 1994 Brussels
The Royal Academy of Belgium since 1866 identifies the Belgians who have gained great notoriety. She published under the pen of prominent writers, biographical data that highlights the character and his work and ensures the sustainability of the homage of the Nation


FLORINE, Nicolas Research on the helicopter STAé
Typed document (10 pages with photos and drawings) 1931
The author reports on the work, study and realization since the 20s MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS

The First Belgian Helicopter - 5 march 1992
Whereas Florine II was actually the first device to tandem rotors to have flown successfully and that this achievement was a significant contribution to the early history of the giraviation the Helicopter Club of Great Britain took the initiative to present the signature of the engineer Robert Collin, test pilot Florine II, a written document entitled "the First Belgian Helicopter" describing and authenticating historical facts flights to Sint-Genesius-Rode in 1933.
The original act was signed by Robert Collin March 5, 1992 in Brussels. It is kept at the International Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare in Somerset; it is part of the collection of historical documents authenticating "firsts" achieved remarkable by pioneers of helicopter history.


BOIN, Mr. Victor Florine, the Belgian Civil Aeronautics Engineer of the Technical Department
The Conquest of the Air - 1st April 1929 Brussels
The author (then chief director-editor of the official journal of the Aero Club of Belgium) draws a sharp pen a striking portrait of Florine he knows well. He published in the same bulletin a caricature of the scientist engineer designed by Delp.

Dumoulin, Alphonse Nicolas Florine and Alfred Renard together for a world helicopter record
Aviastro October 1991 Brussels
To mark the centenary of the birth of the great inventor, the article recalls the fruitful collaboration between Florine (designer of helicopters) and Fox (celluliste and engine) that will allow Florine II (led by Robert Collin) to informally beat world record helicopter flight time in October 1933.

EUAN HOOPER, W Fifty year of tandem rotor helicopter engineering
Vertiflite January / February 1993 USA
The author at the time was Director of Vehicle Technology at the Helicopter Division of Boeing Defense and Space Group. He paid tribute to Nicolas Florine that in Belgium in 1933 was flying a helicopter with two rotors in tandem "using a differential collective pitch control of the rotors." Speaking then of serious pitch commands problem encountered in 1945 by Piasecki, he explains that he had to resolve to include in its prototype rotors differential collective pitch control; and the author adds: "note in passing that it is the pitch control system used on the tandem of Florine in 1933".

FLORINE, Nicolas Recent advances in the helicopter
The Conquest of the Air 1 December 1933 Brussels
In this important article, the inventor summarizes the scope of the project and explains the unfolding of all the studies and tests in Sint-Genesius-Rode from the beginnings in the 20s until the success of Florine II in fall 1933.

Lacaine, Jean Nouvel rotary wing aircraft Helicopter Florine
Nature N 2925 - March 15, 1934 Paris
In this article well documented based on data from the 1926 patent of invention, the author explains in detail the operation commands Florine II it illustrates a very clear pattern.

von Baumhauer, A.G. - Helicopter (sic) van Florine
Algemeen Handelsblad - December 1933 Amsterdam
The author is a Dutch engineer who helped design a single rotor helicopter that can fly made in the Netherlands from 1928 to 1930 but with little success. Made aware of the successes of Florine in October 1933, he came to Sint-Genesius-Rode to discuss with his colleague and attend the flights Florine II he describes a professional and highly of.


SAVING THE RADIO TRANSMISSION RTBF (BRUSSELS CAPITAL) live in Sint-Genesius-Rode October 25, 1993 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the flight "time record" of Florine II. (Original digital audio tapes kept in the Air Section of Archives and Space MRAH)
This recording is especially hear a telephone interview Robert Collin, Florine Driver II in 1933/1934.

This sequence aired January 23, 1982 is devoted in part to the achievements of Nicolas Florine.


This space located on the gallery of the Great Hall says with text, photos, drawings and plans the work of Nicolas Florine in the field of helicopters multirotors. It also shows the wind tunnel model (1/5 scale) of Florine IV project with four rotors.


Drawings of the invention patent No. 338599 filed in Brussels in 1926.
Figures 1, 3 and 4 show the helicopter configuration in two rotors rotating in tandem in the same direction.
Figure 2 shows one possible configuration for 3 rotors which will be tested in flight in 1947 in Britain by the Cierva Autogiro Co Ltd on its W11 Air Horse (the largest helicopter in the world at that time).
Figures 5 (profile) and 6 (front) shows the rotor hub with the control mechanisms of the blade pitch.
FIG 7 is a diagram of the collective and cyclic command variation of pitch of the blades and the rotor axes of tilt control.

rear rotor Florine II
Including shots of the "bell propeller"; the upper and lower shrouds (3 per blade); the oblique control rods from the cockpit to the propeller hub; the end of the rear propeller shaft.
In this photo from 1934, the professeurAuguste Piccard, pilot and scientist first explorer of the earth's stratosphere (its work and flights are like Florine subsidized by the National Fund for Scientific Research of Belgium), came to be interested in experiments pioneers led by his Belgian colleague (in white dress) and the Robert Collin driver (bareheaded).
The boy, right on the photo, is Jacques Piccard, son of professor; in the 60s, it will tackle successfully the exploration of deep trenches aboard the bathyscaphe designed by his father.
As for Bertrand Piccard, son of Jacques, it will mark the science of the late 20th century by completing the feat of the first round the world non-stop in the loose ball.

The helicopter Florine II in flight above the narrow lawn of Aeronautical Engineering Laboratory of Belgium in Sint-Genesius-Rode, south of Brussels, in the summer of 1933.
The event is exceptional and attracts many curious.

Mounted in the center of the fuselage, the engine 9 cylinder radial Renard 200 is surmounted by a fan 4 wooden blades. The inventor Nicolas Florine is standing alongside the pilot-engineer Robert Collin sitting in the cockpit.
The helicopter is always placed on its transport cart to the ground.

Robert Collin sat at the controls of Florine II.
On the handle, you see a horizontal wheel that the driver, by rotation, used as control of the collective pitch of the blades of the two rotors.

Event in Sint-Genesius-Rode 25 October 1933 !!! Collin, flying his docile Florine II, improves unofficially but unquestionably the Rord world helicopter flight time taking the air for 9 minutes 58 seconds.

The Florine II hovering, seen from the front.
Note well the inclination of the axes of the rotors whose value was calculated for canceling reaction torques.

On 4 May 1934 the Florine II (who had already made more than 30 flights since spring 1933) evolves over the airfield of Haren, north of Brussels. Note the aluminum fairing added around the fan to improve engine cooling. Moments later, the helicopter will crash on the grass. Following an accidental slip in a centrifugal clutch mounted on the transmission shafts, Robert Collin lost control of the helicopter.

View of the test wind tunnel model (1/5 scale) of Florine IV project whose implementation was launched after the 2nd World War. This model, restored by the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, is exposed to the Air and Space Section of the Royal Museum of the Army and Military History in Brussels.

Plan view of helicopter quadrirotor Florine IV project was abandoned in 1949.

The facts described before as well as international evidence contained in the bibliography are unquestionable recognition of engineering, science but also to the foreknowledge of Nicolas Florine. It was a remarkable pioneer of the helicopter, a humble scientist and inventor that his adopted country to honor omit long.

By signing Nicolas Florine on the pages of this Memorial, the Royal Society Les Vieilles rods of the Belgian Aviation wished concretely participate in posthumous tribute it deserves and to help perpetuate the memory of his work.

Texts and images above are the property of the association "Les Vieilles Rods Belgian Aviation"; they can be copied for private use exclusively. Any other use requires prior written permission of the Association.
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