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  7. Winnebago Once Designed an RV That was a Helicopter

Winnebago Once Designed an RV That was a Helicopter

The Iconic RV Brand Built a Prototype of a Flying Camper

Image Caption: Image Courtesy of Popular Mechanics

Throughout its 60+ year history, Winnebago has designed some unique and interesting RVs. Even today, the company is at the forefront of innovation as it explores the possibilities of an all-electric camper van. But the iconic brand’s most unusual project is probably the Heli-Home, a flying RV built on the frame of a decommissioned Sikorsky S-55 helicopter.

The video above takes a deep dive into the whole story, but the short version is this. Back in the 1970s, a Florida-based company called Orlando Helicopter Airways built a flying motorhome called the Helicamper. The design drew the attention of the team at Winnebago, who began exploring the idea of creating their own airborne RV.

Winnebago Heli-Home

Image Courtesy of Winnebago

Eventually, the two companies collaborated on a prototype model of the Winnebago Heli-Home. The vehicle featured a variety of common RV features from the era, including a dinette that converted into a bed, wall-to-wall carpeting on the floor, and sound-dampening insulation to keep the cabin quieter. The helicopter also had an HVAC system, electric stove, refrigerator, and a generator. It even came with a bathroom that had a shower and a chemical toilet.

Sadly, the Heli-Home never went much beyond the prototype phase. As it turns out, the market for flying RVs wasn’t very big in the 1970s, and the requirement of a pilot’s license was a significant blockade. The vehicle also cost around $300,000, which, when adjusted for inflation, translates to nearly $1.5 million in today’s money.

While the Heli-Home has been relegated to just a footnote in RV history, it remains a fascinating project. Check out the video above to get the whole story.

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