The helicopter as a practical flying machine was invented in 1931 with a patent application by Igor Sikorsky. The patent was accepted by the U.S. government in 1935, and Sikorsky's helicopter first flew in Connecticut on Sept. 14, 1939.
The design for the helicopter has a much longer history. Its origin dates back as early as 400 B.C. China when bamboo rotors were spun on a stick and flown as toys. In 15th Century Europe, Leonardo da Vinci designed a vertical flight machine on paper, but it was not until the 20th Century that designs were made into actual flying machines, with Sikorsky's design acknowledged as the first actual helicopter.