Star Apps: Frameline 38

Gay adoption, helicopter moms, and a pioneering gay athlete are just three of the stories at this year's Frameline 38: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, taking place June 19-29. Actor Alec Mapa ("Switched at Birth," "Desperate Housewives," and "Ugly Betty") talked to me about what he wants gays and allies to take away from his new documentary, "Baby Daddy." I also spoke with songwriter-actress Lisa Loeb, singer of "Stay (I Missed You)," about co-starring in the hilarious coming-of-age comedy, "Helicopter Mom." And four-time Olympic medalist Greg LouganisRead more

RC helicopters appear to take off with woman in tow

We've seen quite a few unusual uses for drones in the past year, including everything from pizza drops to Amazon deliveries. But what if you could deliver a whole person? It might not be that much of a stretch if a video showing two RC helicopters lifting a woman off the ground is real.

German group HeliGraphix specializes in using RC helicopters for filming and stunts. The group's HULC (Heavy Ultra-Lifter Crane) project took two Gaui X7 helicopters and upgraded the equipment to handle more weight, enough to lift a person. Lady Gaga required a massive flying contraption to achieve the same effect the two relatively small copters recently pulled off.… Read more

DARPA's hot for futuristic helicopter-like delivery drones

In hard-to-reach war zones, it can be near impossible to get supplies to ground soldiers or conduct rescue missions without coming under enemy fire or landing in minefields.

Spurred by these logistical issues, the US Department of Defense in its DARPA division is pushing to develop unmanned helicopter-like aircraft -- aka drones -- for supply runs, airborne reconnaissance missions, and casualty evacuations.

Not your ordinary drones, these futuristic machines will be designed to carry up to 3,000 pounds, have their own power system, fuel, digital flight controls, and remote command-and-control interfaces. As envisioned by DARPA, troops will be able … Read more

18-rotor electric helicopter makes maiden flight

If its 18 rotors aren't enough to get you excited, this crazy flying machine has a "pleasant sonorous sound," according to German engineers who built the Volocopter VC200.

The successor to the even more outrageous Volocopter VC1 is being billed as "the world's first green helicopter," but a number of other projects have also claimed that title.

The multicopter recently took to the skies for the first time in a series of remote-controlled, unmanned flights in an arena in Karlsruhe, Germany. … Read more

How the helicopters of the future are shaping up

You don't want to go flying into the future in yesterday's helicopters.

That's the gist of several projects under way at the Pentagon, which is looking ahead several decades toward future fleets of helicopters -- or more broadly, rotorcraft -- and working now to lay the plans for getting there.

It all starts with design. Most immediately, the Army has just awarded technology investment agreements with four aviation companies as an early step in the Defense Department's Future Vertical Lift initiative, which is meant to sketch out the route toward next-generation vertical-lift aircraft for all the … Read more

NASA drops a helicopter on purpose, for science

We're all familiar with car crash tests. NASA went bigger, much bigger, with a helicopter crash test designed to test new seats and seatbelts.

On Wednesday, the Marine CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter fuselage was filled with crash test dummies, hoisted up 30 feet in the air, and then dropped in a swinging motion. It was traveling at 30 mph when it was released to meet the ground from 30 feet up at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.… Read more

Human-powered helicopter finally takes Sikorsky Prize

Since 1980, the American Helicopter Society has offered the Sikorsky Prize: a $250,000 reward for a functional, human-powered helicopter.

To win the prize, the helicopter must remain airborne for 60 seconds, with an altitude of 3 meters (a little less than 10 feet) to be reached at some point during those 60 seconds. It must also remain within a horizontal area no larger than 10x10 meters.

Last year, it looked like the University of Maryland's Gamera II was gearing up to take the prize, but two Canadians have scooped it up from right under Gamera II's nose. … Read more

Xbox Music expands to Web browsers

CNET Update is hailing a helicopter:

In this episode of Update:

- Rock out to Xbox Music from your Web browser free for 30 days.

- Find a deal for date night on Groupon Reserve -- no voucher required.

- Speculate why Apple filed a trademark for "iWatch" in Japan.

- Prepare for a future with self-destructing e-mail messages.

- Keep an eye out on Twitter for English translations of tweets, powered by Bing.

- Live like the rich and famous with Uber's helicopter-ride service in New York City on Wednesday.

CNET Update delivers the tech news … Read more

Impulse buy? Sagita to sell $200,000 personal helicopter

LE BOURGET, France -- OK, so you've got a couple hundred thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket. Sure, you could buy that flashy sports car. But why not a personal helicopter if you really want to make a statement.

That's what Sagita Helicopters hopes you'll do with its Sherpa, a dual-rotor, dual-passenger aircraft that the Belgian company showed off here at the Paris Air Show. The Sherpa has a 280-mile range (400km), said Thibaud Waltregny, business development manager for GDTech Engineering, which worked on the design.

"It's enough to get you everywhere in … Read more

Pie in the sky: Domino's delivers pizzas via octocopter

I dream of a better world, one in which tasty food and beverages drop from the sky, right onto my plate and into my glass, ready to enjoy. I'm not the only one with this vision. First came the Tacocopter concept. Next, it was the Burrito Bomber and the beer drone. Now, Domino's Pizza UK has introduced the DomiCopter, a flying pizza-delivery system.

The system consists of an octocopter with an insulated Domino's delivery bag underneath in a cage. The bag can easily hold a couple of pizzas and keep them warm during their flight.… Read more