The most-advanced helicopters can fly up to 300 miles before having to refuel. How long any particular helicopter can fly without refueling depends on the size, weight and age of the helicopter.
The invention of the helicopter can be traced back to an ancient Chinese toy, a top designed around 400 B.C. which flew when spun between a person's palms. The first helicopter flight may have taken place in a craft piloted by Paul Cornu in 1907, although some doubt he was the first to fly a true helicopter. Helicopters are used as flying ambulances, to rescue people on land and at sea, in the military, and to transport passengers.