back to article Racist Reg ignores Nigerian helicopter pioneer

In case you missed it, Nobel prize winner James Watson recently got himself into a bit of trouble after claiming that black people are less intelligent than white people. This provoked a bit of a rumpus, and Watson was subsequently suspended by his research lab for his trouble. All pretty straightforward, you might think, but …


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  1. The Other Steve


    OK he got the 'completely missing the point' part right, and there are some speeling and grammar probs, but what ? No SHOUTING CAPS ? No swearing ? This guy is hardly even frothing. Couldn't you have spiced it up a bit ?

  2. chuckufarley Silver badge

    C, H, & S

    First we need to give this guy his coat. Then his hat. Lastly we need to give him a good old fashioned biblical stoning for using more than three exclamation points to end a sentence. Such bad form should not go unpunished.

    I'll get my coat and meet you all by the rock pile put back of the pub.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I note

    I note he doesn't know how to write or use the shift key.

    Also Anonymous Coward is a slashdotism - this is not slashdot can we not use their fail? Anonymous Vulture was far more /Reg

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    there is a dubious gag about the Reg removing content for sinister reasons in here somewhere

    ... but I can't think what it is?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Sounds like a clever guy, worthy of some applause. Nevertheless, I sincerely hope he doesn't attempt a test flight over my house.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Do I hear the sound of black helicopters?

  7. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


    Looking at the pictures - the contraption seems to lack any kind of tail rotor. The inventor also doesn't mention rudder pedals when he explains the take off procedures. Is this the reason why the machine has never flown above 7 feet AGL?

    Perhaps he has not found any tail rotor in the wreckage of that 747...

  8. john mann

    Helicopter, yawn!

    Now if it had been a prototype flying car, you would doubtless have given it loads of coverage.....

  9. Keith Turner
    Black Helicopters


    Hmm, at the risk of describing the pot as having the same patina from being placed in the fire I'm not entirely sure where the 'racist' angle is.

    You've slagged off a white bloke for the standard 'they're all the same' generalisation, the 419 angle is a geographic thang and not a colour (sorry that's color for those overseas) issue and because you missed a barmy inventor who just happens to be Nigerian the Reg ends up being tarred and feathered.

    (PC rants are usually form those who have demanded that 'something must be done' then moan like F@#k when it is)

    Can we have a WTF icon, please

  10. Dr Who
    IT Angle

    Only fools and horses

    Looks like the kind of the Del Boy might drive ...

  11. TeeCee Gold badge

    ".....the top sought after story on slashdot, yahoo, etc"

    Which tells you a lot more about people who frequent Slashdot and Yahoo than it does about El Reg's coverage.

    If it is true that "Nigerian twat cobbles death-trap chopper-like object together out of spares" is the most interesting thing that their readers look for, they ought to start giving out Ritalin with an account signup.

    Oh, *and* there's no IT angle. Shame on you for elaborating on it just cos some ignoramus flames you. You should have at least waited until said suicidally-competant whirlybird fanatic collected his Darwin Award (a foregone conclusion IMHO). Still, if he can make something that flies for more than five minutes out of free spares and he survives long enough, he's got a promising career as head of maintenance for <insert name of African airline> ahead of him.

    Why is it suddenly so warm around here......

  12. Andrew Lewis
    Black Helicopters

    In other news...

    Mr Abdullahi is looking for people to invest significant amounts of money which he will pay very large dividends for when his next helicopter becomes a commercial success.

  13. Chris Walker

    Nigerian AirCorps+

    "In a country with Nigeria's abysmal air safety record officials may be loath to gamble on one student's home-made helicopter."

    What exactly are they thinking about gambling on?

    Put that Boeing order on hold chaps, we've got a man here who's a whizz with lego.

  14. Cameron Colley

    Obvious why the story wasn't included...

    ...the helicopter is the wrong color.

  15. Quinnum

    OMG He said 'black out'

    Maybe 'coloured out', or even 'african-american out' would be more PC.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Another missed headline

    "Prominent black man's chopper censored by El Reg"

  17. Anonymous Coward

    No not racism

    but lets face it if the readership of elreg had to go and do something instead of sitting in front of their computers they would be lost it's uncomfortable outside and building something cool with your hands they might get dirty, flying things is dangerous, the manginas all whine.Where is that big fat ass stuck in a chair icon I'll use the weird martian one.

  18. Jeremy
    Paris Hilton


    The AFP story says it's 7 metres tall. If that's true then bloody hell - how tall is the bloke in the photos?

    Can someone convert that into a Reg unit? Ta...

  19. Paul

    As Terry Pratchett put it

    Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind.


  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tail rotor?

    The photos don't seem to show a tail rotor, and it wouldn't fly without one. Losing the tail rotor means you're going to crash. A couple of my friends flew military helicopters and all make statements like, "it's just waiting to flip upside-down and beat itself to death". I wouldn't want to learn to fly one by myself...

    Does somebody have links to video of it flying?

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prior art

    Yer Nigerian chappie, competent though he looks, is 3 years behind the times in the self-build whirlybird stakes.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Others have said it before and I'll say it again...

    "Then an african nigerian guy builds home made helicopters from scratch and the story becomes the top sought after story on slashdot, yahoo, etc and you guys give him a total black out!"

    Where is the IT angle? I'm not reading popular mechanics here..

  24. laird cummings
    Thumb Down


    Ho-hum. Another backyard fiddler cobbles together a dodgey aircraft from random bits-n-bobs. So what? Those folks are a dime-a-dozen. When he crashes and burns, I'll pay attention...but only if he manages to avoid a Darwin.

  25. Rodrigo Andrade

    Racist? Where?

    Mr Turner there has beaten me to the punch, but where the fuck does the flamer sees the racism angle?

    It boggles the mind how the ability some ppl have to see whatever they wish in facts instead of reality.

    Would it be racism if the guy who built the aforementioned death-trap was norwegian? How about serbian?

    Ps: Get your damn webdesigners cracking. El Reg is hard to navigate on Lynx.

  26. Risky

    hang on

    Surely if this is marketed as a Web 2.0 helicopter (um fluffy-chop?) it doesn't need to actually fly as such....

  27. Mark
    Dead Vulture


    we should use Unidentified Vulture rather than Anonymous Coward?

  28. Wayne

    It's not a helicopter

    It has no tail rotor, and no means to adjust the pitch of the main rotor. This means that it is hovering using ground effect and unable to generate any lift of its own.

    So it is a device with rotors, but certainly not a helicopter.

  29. Steven Knox

    RE: Anonymous Coward

    How about "Anonymous F**kwit Who Probably Posts Anonymously Just Because He Thinks It's K3WL"?

    Seriously, about 80% of the comments on the Reg are anonymous, and by my reckoning about 1% of those have any potential need to be anonymous. Here's a hint: if it's not going to get you fired or killed, you really don't need to post anonymously.

  30. h00nta


    this is only his opening shot? Maybe he intends something a little closer - he could be on his way to Vulture Central by helicopter right now.

    It's a worrying thought.

  31. Tim di Meo

    Check facts before engage face-hole/web-ego

    I take it the ideas of this Watson character (who is likely a bit racist, yes, but...) have been thoroughly refuted, scientifically? Anyone done that yet - I mean the guy did win a nobel prize so chances are he's thought it through a little bit.

    El Reg could have chosen to cover a random backyard inventor's latest crazy scheme or I s'pose they could have covered any of the other hundreds of people like him, but instead they covered an intellectually controversial story about a preeminent scientist who discovered the structure of DNA - which one of the two people has done more so far? Which one was already semi-famous?

    Plus the articles weren't exactly waving a swastika and running KKK-dating ads down the sides were they - like someone said, it's amazing how people can see whatever they wan't to shout about just because a couple of trigger words got flagged up.

  32. Matt Piechota


    While credit it due, building a helicopter isn't *that* difficult, considering there's quite a few examples to crib from.


    Powered by an old Triumph motor? That doesn't seem like the most reliable choice. :)

  33. Jason Holloway

    Does have a tail rotor. But...

    I like the idea of learning to pilot and fly a helicopter, but I wouldn't fly in this for all the oil in Nigeria.

    If you look carefully at the larger picture of the yellow submari^H^H^H^H helicopter, you can just make out a tail rotor. This would just about allow it to take off rather than spin around on the spot in an amusing, but frankly futile, manner.

    However, the most obvious issue that I can see is that there are no hinges (flapping or drag hinges, for example) on the main rotor. In the unlikely event that this contraption could be made to fly forwards at any decent speed, the inequality of lift forces between the advancing and retreating blades would neatly flip this machine on its side.

    In addition, I can see no pitch linkages or controls for either the main rotor, usually controlled by a collective - imagine a fat handbrake lever, with a twist grip for the power - or for the tail rotor, usually controlled by rudders in helicopters less, err, 'exciting' than this.

    In other words, this device cannot be controlled in the boring, yet traditional sense. Not so much a flying bedstead, but a flying deathbed.

    Just because Mubarak's put quality taxi seats in and pushed helicopter design back a hundred years or so does not merit an article in an esteemed publication such as El Reg.

    Unless it's published on a Friday afternoon, when it transforms into hilarious aside and a much needed break from work.

  34. Dan

    they will

    be after our women next

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    RE: Anonymous Coward / Unidentified Vulture

    Unidentified Flying Vulture?

    And yeah, my boss reads El Reg, sometimes I'll post anon.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    The world is just a great big onion.

    What about Leonardo de Caprio, painter of that moaning Lisa bird and first holder of helicopter intelectual property, Isambard Kindom Brunel, Mike Smith, Noel Edmonds, Patrick Allen or Colin McRae? I bet if you gave Fred Dibnah an old Toyota he'd come up with something more impressive than a helicopter. And on a similar note, might I point out that the A-Team were hardly rascist either. In fact they embodied everything about Thatchers Britain from the classless society to multiculturalism to care in the community.

    Are they all racist too? No wonder it's the biggest full moon in 9 years.

    PS. would the extra pull of this unusually large full moon in Nigeria, a country much closer to the equator, help pull this helicopter above 7 feet?

  37. Franklin

    I'm a bit skeptical that it's actually a helicopter... any but the most technical sense of the word. Given its size and relative paucity of horsepower, it strikes me as something of a big, ungainly ground-effect craft, like a hovercraft with the propeller on the top instead of the bottom. Wouldn't be surprised to learn it's never cleared more than seven feet because it *can't*.

  38. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Come on El Reg

    You should be mailing this guy, passing on God's BLESSINGS for his VENTURE. Then ask for his address and bank account details so that you can deposit ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS from that well-known Liverpudlian philanthropist Mrs. Cherie Blair.

  39. Wookieman

    Not di caprio

    you might find that Leonardo Di Caprio is an actor of some dubious note, whereas the italian gentleman you are referring to was Leonardo Di Vinci...

    Small things...

  40. Mark C

    @ Wookieman

    I may have misjudged Bit Fiddler but I fear you've just missed a joke .... of sorts

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All I can do...

    is laugh.

    (picture Joe Pesci)...Ok..Ok..Ok. wait..wait...wait. I have a bolts, a honda engine, and a strap that shoots the bolts..

    New American device to cut cost on War on Terror...

    Accolades to the Nigerian for creating ANYTHING that works well enough to get off the ground. Kudos!

    Racist? There is one race....the Human Race. Everything else is ethnicity, etc... Sigh people, it isn't like we are cats and dogs and can't interbreed...

  42. laird cummings


    << "Wouldn't be surprised to learn it's never cleared more than seven feet because it *can't*." >>

    Likely true enough... The cited article indicates you have to let the motor rev up to '300 mph' before adding collective... IOW, you have to take the dinky little engine deep into the red zone before you get enough power to lift off. Amusing that he's using the speedometer to gage RPM. I'd guess he's using the original automotive transmission, too, then.

    Probably no Darwin for him, then... can't get it high enough for a proper crash.

  43. Morely Dotes


    "In case you missed it, Nobel prize winner James Watson recently got himself into a bit of trouble after claiming that black people are less intelligent than white people."

    Abaolutely false! What he said was that African and Caucasian intelligences are *different*.

    People who print the trash like the quotation above are demonstrating that *their* intelligence is somewhat inferior to that of, say, a Yorkshire Terrier. As proof of this, I charge you to cite even one instance in which a Yorkie printed a very clear and obvious misquote of a renowned scientist.

  44. Rick Brasche
    Black Helicopters


    as a big fan of McGyver and The A-Team, I'm trying to figure out how to actually make this work.

    Using throttle to gain lift works okay in my fixed-pitch model helicopters. 300 RPM isn't too high considering the Honda is supposed to be spinning 13 inch wheels-take off the emissions controls, mufflers, you *might* just get enough thrust with large enough rotors to get off the ground. But it looks like this thing is plywood framed, plywood body. Heavy stuff.

    Directional control could conceivably be handled by tilting the whole rotor shaft assembly. like an autogyro. Those are really easy (comparatively) to homebuild-use the Honda or Toyota front wheel drive driveshaft and you could get the ability to swing the rotor head around.

    But you've got to overcome a lot of mass to do it. Which is another reason why this thing isn't controllable out of ground effect. A single place, ultralight might work-maybe that's where he's going with the motorcycle engined craft.

    he *might* be able to get away without the drag hinges if the forward flight is slow enough, maybe.

    *sigh* not really a way to salvage this design. There;s enough data on the Internet to do it so it actually works, for people to winge about lack of coverage when this guy didn't even peruse the back of an old Popular Mechanics magazine for a workable craft, shows the real problem with the world-trying to award failure and mediocrity, and give top marks "just for trying". What does he think this is? Our failing "No Child Left Behind" feel good boondoggle?

    Call me when he builds a rocket and goes to the moon, and brings home Lunar lander parts for salvage. :)

    (black helicopter chosen for the fun of it)

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Surely "Hooded Vulture" is more apt.

    The "post anonymously" tickbox: if I'm not supposed to use it, what's it there for?

  46. Daniel B.

    Black Helicopters

    So, I suppose this gives that "black helicopters" icon a whole new meaning then?

  47. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    So not many people understand helicopters then ...

    One persons claims that it's not a helicopter because it doesn't have a tail rotor. Others claim that this is the reason it's never been higher than 7 feet. Only one person seems to understand them and gives valid reasons for why it wouldn't be controllable - though on close inspection it does look like it could have some sort of cyclic control (the pictures aren't clear enough to be sure).

    Well for all those that posted the above mentioned crap ...

    Not all helicopters have tail rotors - there are several designs without them.

    Hovering is actually one of the hardest things to do with one, and it's when the tail rotor is most needed. In forward flight, all that is needed is a tail/rudder and there have been cases in the past of machines losing their tail rotor in flight and then making a safe landing.

    And of course, we all trust some "not versed in the details" reporter to report stuff in full correct detail don't we ? Well not really, so we really know what controls this machine has.

  48. wayne


    Let's see, if you were reporting on white supremacists, the south of the US might feature heavily (apart from an more obvious choice) if you were reporting on 419 scammers picking on people of another country/race, then where they come from might feature more prominently. If I made an homemade helicopter from an civic, I might be lucky to feature in the Register (unless they found out about it, in an non-racist way, expect for terms like "Australian suicidal nutter").

    Actually, since I saw that article on the home made jet pack, I have been tempted to make an mock one, invite my impressionable friends over, stage an leak and pretend that it is going to immediately explode. If I could get them on film, with me running after them pleading/begging them to help me get the thing off before it blows up at any second, even better (please note: do not try this at home, such an thing is extremely dangerous, accidents and heart attacks, resulting in dead people, do happen, and the police are sure to arrest you for public nuisance, possibly fake bomb making, even being part of an terrorist plot and beat you up).

    Of course, an lot of that was said in my "House" voice (thanks to God, that he allowed Hugh Laurie to exist)..

  49. Geoff Mackenzie

    Re: It'll never fly! comments

    That's what they said to Orville and Wilbur. Anyway;

    No tail rotor - has been covered (even in the shitty picture you can see it does have one).

    No variable pitch - granted, sounds like this attempts something similar using the throttle, which is a little hairy.

    Only able to hover - not according to his description of how it's piloted. I can't make out the details in the picture but I see no reason to doubt his description.

    Ground effect - agreed, that sounds probable, but it's still a pretty neat vehicle that could have its uses. Still more ground clearance than a hovercraft, too, so it's distinct enough to be of interest.

    I'm no expert but (ooh, always a danger sign when a sentence starts like that) wouldn't ground effect actually help with stability too? If the main rotor blades are angled up slightly from the 'hub' (like I say, not a helicopter technician; rotor head?) wouldn't you get some extra lateral stability analogous to that which makes little high-wing Cessna fixed-wing aircraft tend to rock back to straight and level naturally (from the depths of my memory the term 'dihedral angle' seems to bubble up, as though relevant...)

    Anyway, I don't know, I just think it's a nice example of someone actually having a crack at something. He doesn't appear to be dead, so he must be doing all right :)

    It may not be a real heli, but it's worth bearing in mind it's a hell of a lot cheaper than one. Best of luck to him. To be honest I'm fighting down the sour grapes - if only I got my finger out and did something like that! Mind you, if I did, someone would be along in about ten seconds to condemn it, impound it, destroy it and fine me. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

  50. Rich

    Fixed pitch, no tailrotor

    The GEN-H4 ( has fixed pitch blades and no tailrotor. It is controlled by moving the entire blade system, almost, but not quite, entirely unlike a weighshift aircraft.

  51. Clint Sharp

    @ Matt Piechota

    Maybe it's aimed at crop spraying, you fill the sump with your favourite pesticide and fly over the field, said Triumph engine then sprays it all over the field from the many leaks in the oil system.

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