Tech from the 1970s and 1980s had somewhat of an optimistic appeal. Innovators seemed much more playful and even childlike with their ideas. It's particularly evident when you consider Winnebago's heli-home, an RV that could fly. Or at least that was the concept behind the half-home-half-helicopter that never took off, as The Drive notes.
Through a partnership with Orlando Helicopter Airways, Winnebago bought several Sikorsky transport helicopters for its ambitious flying estate plans. The engine would have probably involved a horsepower piston-based model or a turbine-based equivalent. Price-wise, it's a doozy: $880,000 to $1.4 million in the current market. Renting it for a week could cost you about $10,000 for seven days only, according to The Drive. This is also contingent on whether or not you even have a licensed and trained pilot, plus fuel. It ain't cheap.
Cool ad, too — The advertisement for the heli-home came with soundbites featuring the typical 1970s flare and fervor. It says that the "convenience of the flight" would be combined with the "luxury of a resort hotel" — and while it may sound a little cringe right now, it must have impressed audiences back then. The print for the heli-home's map is glued at the top of the poster with pine trees proudly standing below. You can see two people positioned near the house that could, we were promised, levitate.
"Winnebago Industries, the premier name in recreational vehicles, introduces the most dramatic, comfortable, convenient, and unique RV in the world," the ad reads. "The heli-home."
What would the flying house have? — This is where it almost hurts that the heli-home never really materialized into something usable. If it did, its creators said that it would boast hot and cold water, air conditioning, a furnace to keep things warm, a simple bathroom, an entertainment system so you weren't bored out of your mind mid-air, a kitchen, and other amenities.
Let's talk law for a second — Legally speaking, it would have been quite an amusing sight to see heli-home just land practically anywhere in the world. Did its creators have any thoughts on the potential ramifications of settling the heli-home in a different city or even country? It's not clear if Winnebago Industries thought that far. But if the levitating house was a real thing today, it would have to contend with a myriad of local do's and don'ts as far as real estate property zoning, property tax, and surrounding laws go.
Still, it was an audacious dream and should be appreciated for the sheer confidence its creators had while conceptualizing a house that could pierce the skies. It's the thought that counts, as they say.