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Norwegian firm testing what may be 'world's smallest' helicopter

Indoor-outdoor, pocket-size mini-chopper is a must-have for looking into hostile or contaminated areas, says company.

Prox Dynamics

Don't confuse this with what the hucksters are flogging at your local mall. This 15-gram "nano" copter goes where it's told and back again, indoor or out.

Prox Dynamics of Asker, Norway, has developed what it says may be one of the world's smallest unmanned helicopters. Now on its fifth prototype, the PD-100 Black Hornet has achieved a major milestone this month after successfully completing its first outdoor flight test. It's quiet, too. The sound from the helicopter was inaudible at three yards over ambient noise, according to the company.

"Prox Dynamics is very pleased to announce that the technological development of the PD-100 Black Hornet UAS is progressing according to plans," the company announced. The Hornet "can be carried in your pocket and launched within seconds to give immediate situational awareness. This new ultra small aircraft is a valuable tool in situations where a closer look at a hostile area or inside a contaminated building is crucial."

Although even smaller than a typical cheapo toy-copter, the Hornet is fully controllable, with the ability sprint from a dead hover to almost 20 mph. The secret behind it's stability is the micro control servos--"the smallest and lightest in the world, weighing less than 0.5 grams."

The company may market the "cigarette-packet-sized" mini-choppers in a three-pack weighing less than two pounds. The package will include a pocket controller and a charger. Delivery to select customers is expected later this year. Availability at the kiosk in the Galleria rotunda can't be far behind.