In March 1931 PopSci reported that engineer Raoul Pescara's latest helicopter had flown. It was "one of the strangest of flying machines," we wrote--a veritable monster, sporting 16 gargantuan counterrotating blades. At the time, Igor Sikorsky was still a decade away from perfecting what would become the standard helicopter design, and dozens of people were vying to solve the problem of vertical flight. As early as 1842, W.H. Phillips sent an unmanned helicopter careening over a field; in 1907 Paul Cornu's tethered machine carried a pilot; and by 1923, Juan de la Cierva's autogiros boasted modern rotors. After "a series of heart-breaking failures," Pescara made a few seconds-long test flights, but ultimately his design was eclipsed by Sikorsky's simpler and more stable one. Pescara's main contribution was perfecting pitch control: steering by adjusting the angle of the rotor blades.