The launch of our new SkyBeetle helicopter was celebrated with Sky Whirlies' own merlot! Our COO, Pieter Steurbaut, enjoyed the wine!
Have you ever dreamt of flying a helicopter. For a lot of people this dream will never become reality because of the huge costs of flying this type of aircraft. Or not . . . ?
Since a few months, there is an alternative which is as good, or maybe better that the real experience.
Youngsters from all over the world have bundled their knowledge and expertise in the web-community of SkyWirlies, a toy helicopter company started a few years ago, to create a low-cost hyper realistic helicopter flight simulator.
By combining a SkyBeetle toy helicopter, high resolution cameras, google-glasses and classic flight simulator controls, these kids created one of the most realistic flight simulators ever, for a fraction of the cost of a professional simulator.
US army test pilot Michael Old has been test flying helicopters for the past 15 years. He is amazed by the flying experience reached by the system. “It is just incredible to see that young people from all over the world, who have never even met in person, collaborate in a web community to make such a sophisticated piece of equipment. This simulator is comparable to the ones we use in the US Army. However, a professional simulator costs around 400 $ per hour to run, while this system costs less than 3 $ per hour!”.
Meanwhile the first flight cadets with SkyBeetle experience have entered the US Army Flight Academy. The results are astonishing: 92% of all recruits with SkyBeetle experience make it to advanced flight training, while only 24% of the other recruits pass.
“We feel these guys [who have flown SkyBeetles] understand perfectly the dynamics of flying choppers”, say flight instructor Sammy Claus who has been training recruits for 10 years. “I think we should seriously consider changing our training methods. These SkyBeetles will never eliminate the need for real-life flying lessons, but they could cut out a very significant portion of it at a fraction of the cost”.
The CEO of the company manufacturing the toy helicopters, comments: “About 2 years ago I decided to fire the management team and to start from zero with a team of young professionals from the pharmaceutical, telecommunications and airline business. These guys had just finished an MBA at a famous business school and were boiling with ideas. Right after the first week, I knew this was a winning team. They optimized the production, set out a strategy based on innovation and quality and they changed the landscape in which we operate. We are no longer a toy manufacturing company, but the keystone of a complete ecosystem turning around the helicopter flying experience and the technological challenges of these machines. Youngsters from all over the world are working together to improve performance and add functionalities to their models.”
The Sky Wirlies helicopters are built around the CCS (Communication and Control System) which was developed by SkiWirlies and Terpa, the Belgian manufacturer of high-tech sensors and control systems.
The Milau Bridge saved from collapsing
When French engineer Jean-Etienne Pommier was helping his son Christophe assembling the remote controlled helicopter he had received on his birthday, he got a brilliant idea. Christophe was installing a high-resolution camera, with the instructions found on the SkyWirlies community website, when his father realized he could use the toy to inspect the structure of the viaduct of Milau.
Jean-Etienne had been working on the French prestige project as structural engineer. Because of multiple budget overruns, the chief designer decided to change the alloy of the attachment points of the bridge’s tension cables. The new alloy was cheaper, but less corrosion resistant, which worried Jean-Etienne. He ventilated his worries to the senior management, who waived the concerns as “seeding panic”. They refused to implement a regular inspection scheme because of the high costs associated with inspecting the 132 attachment points situated at 343 meter above the ground.
So Jean-Etienne decided to use his son’s toy helicopter to shoot some high resolution pictures of the bridge’s structure.A picture taken by the Skybeetle showing the attachment points’ severe corrosion.
What the SkyBeetle photographed was extremely alarming: 50% of the material of the attachment points was consumed by corrosion and the attachment points were about to rupture. This would lead to the tension cables breaking, which in turn would inevitably lead to the total collapse of the bridge.
Jean-Etienne warned the authorities who decided, after some reluctance, to send a team up the pylon to verify the findings. A few minutes later, all traffic on the bridge was stopped and the area around the bridge was evacuated.
The head of the French company managing the highway network, Michel Jeune commented that a major disaster was avoided and an investigation is now launched to identify the causes of this problem.
Meanwhile the manufacturer of the helicopter, SkyWirlies, has been flooded by requests from the industry. Multiple companies want to use the helicopter to inspect areas which are difficult to access. The open architecture of the helicopter’s control and data communication software allows users to write their own software and to integrate new hardware on the helicopter.
The CMO of SkyWirlies, Frederik Mennes comments: “When we launched the community website, we saw that a lot of innovative ideas were being launched. People from all over the world share their experiences and inventions. The functionalities of the helicopter have grown exponentially ever since. However, we never imagined that the helicopter could be used for industrial purposes. On the other hand, it is not surprising, as the helicopter provides a very stable platform and has a high payload capacity, due to the high performance and low-weight electronic cards supplied by the company Terpa. Our partnership with this company has yielded amazing results and we are only at the start of some new and very exciting developments.”
The repair works on the bridge will take at least 18 months, during which all traffic on the bridge will be prohibited.
Yesterday, a 4 month old baby was saved by miracle from a fire.
The 26 year old Maria-Guadalupe Ippanica was cooking French fries when the frying pan caught fire. The Peruvian immigrant woman, not aware of the correct procedure to stop a fire in a frying pan, poured water in the pan, causing a massive fire ball in the kitchen.
The young lady was burned on both arms and ran out of the house in panic, when she realized her 4 month old baby Kattina was still sleeping in her bedroom. The smoke pouring out of the house prevented her from rescueing her baby and she screamed in despair.
Fire fighter Roger Vandewiele, living next doors, heard the screaming. When he arrived at the scene, he realized it was impossible to save the little baby. “When a house is on fire there is thick smoke which blinds the rescue workers and the cracks of the fire mask any sound. Finding a small child amid this inferno is mission impossible and is extremely dangerous.”
The night before Roger had been working on his SkyBeetle toy helicopter which had some amazing features developed by a group of young engineers who met on the community website of the toy helicopter manufacturer.
“These guys were simulating air-battles and they had installed an infrared camera to their helicopters to find their targets. A special software allowed the helicopter to fly in front of its owner, to detect incoming targets. The infrared images are sent to a set of Google-glasses worn by the helicopter pilot. I had just finished my own prototype based on the instructions posted on the website.” Roger immediately realized the helicopter could help him to locate the child in the thick smoke and didn’t hesitate a second.
“Infrared cameras can look through smoke, so I took the helicopter and entered the house.” The helicopter did a remarkably job, flying in front of me and scanning the different rooms of the house. In no time I found the cradle, took the child and ran out of the house.
Picture of fire-flightesr in front of the house, minutes after Roger Vandewiele rescued a 4 month old baby assisted by a toy helicopter.
4 month old Kattina was brought to the hospital but was found to have no injuries. Her mother will have to remain in the hospital for a few days more.
Little Kattina with her mother in the hospital
As for Roger, he considers he was only doing his duty as a fire-fighter. “I did what I was trained to do. But without my flying assistant, I would never have been able to find the child”.
And maybe, when little Kattina is old enough to tell the story herself, all rescue workers will have a flying assistant as standard equipment.
Sky Whirlies is commited to bring the best experience to all children under all circumstances. As an expression of gratitude to the medical team and all volunteers that are working very hard to make the stay of every child at the Queen Fabiola Children Hospital as pleasant as possible, Sky Whirlies donates to Kid's Care 5 euro for every SkyBeetle purchased during the month of June..
We proudly announce that the Sky Whirlies Company has been independently certified by the CRF Institute as #1 Top Employer 2013. Sky Whirlies is on the leading edge of growing professional careers–your professional career.
Are you aiming to build a career in an organization within a competitive remuneration structure, excellent career development opportunities, a flexible or more dynamic working environment; or superb training opportunities? Then start the journey now and join Sky Whirlies - #1 Top Employer 2013.
You might not have noticed yet, but it’s actually Spring. And in Spring, every bird lays an egg!
Julie Watson, physics teacher at Grindstone Elementary school in Manchester, United Kingdom, knows this very well. Every year she takes her class of pupils out on a bird watch trip to the Lake View district in Northern England, in order to witness various species of birds breed their eggs.
During the past years, Julie became increasingly frustrated by the fact that she could not actually have her students watch inside the nests of birds that live in tall trees, such as crows, doves, magpies and owls.
Julie commented: “There are so many interesting things going on up high in the trees, but during the past years we couldn’t get a glimpse of them. I once had a pupil who climbed into a tree and almost fell out of it, and I don’t want something like that to happen again.”
However, last Christmas, Jacob, one of her pupils, told Julie that he received a SkyMate helicopter from Santa Claus, and that he loved using the helicopter’s on-board camera to make movies.
Julie: “I immediately saw how great it could be to use this helicopter and its on-board camera during my yearly bird watching trip. It would finally allow us to watch the nests of birds living in tall trees.”
Julie couldn’t wait for Winter to pass by and Spring to arrive to try out the SkyMate helicopter.
However, Spring did not only bring eggs. It also brought Sky Whirlies’ new remote control toy helicopter, the SkyBeetle.
So, yesterday, it was finally the moment to try the new SkyBeetle.
Julie: “It was really amazing. We were able to fly the SkyBeetle helicopter right above the nests in tall trees, and then watch the little birds. My pupils have never been this enthusiastic. The Sky Whirlies helicopters truly open up a new world for my pupils. It makes my classes so much more tangible.”
Next year, Julie will definitely go to the Lake District again, and she will bring her helicopters again. “I asked the school’s director to provide every pupil with his or her own helicopter. That would really make the experience truly unique for everyone.”
We would like to inform our customers that the SkyBeetle is available in the shops of our partners. You can also place your order online.
Sky Whirlies, the well-known leading manufacturer of remote control toy helicopters, today announced that two teenage kids will use its brand new SkyBeetle helicopter, to be launched in P7, in an attempt to establish the formation flying world record.
Jason and Ben are long-time fans of Sky Whirlies’ existing SkyBuddy and SkyMate products. They will try to fly 50 SkyBeetle helicopters during 25 minutes, while maintaining the helicopters in the ‘V’ logo of Vlerick Business School. In this way Sky Whirlies’ management, alumni of this well-known business school, will honour their alma mater.
The world record attempt will take place on Friday May 31st in Leuven, Belgium. Leuven’s mayor, Louis Tobback, will kick-off the attempt.
The current world record was established in 2005 using the SkyMate helicopter, another Sky Whirlies product.
Sky Whirlies wishes its young fans Jason and Ben the very best of luck.
We would like to inform our customers that since saturday morning May 25 Sky Whirlies accepts pre-order for the SkyBeetle.
To thank you for your confidence Sky Whirlies gives a 30% discount on the MSP price.