Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Heliconkers

A game to be played by helicopter pilots with big balls.
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I don't know if they have this sport in every corner of the world, but here in the UK, among little kids at least, Conkers is (or used to be) a very popular seasonal pastime. What happens goes thusly:

Horse Chestnut trees drop their seeds in those little spiky green ball things. Kids collect them and peel off the outer coating to reveal the inner seed, which is usually bigger than a grape but smaller than a plum. Ish.

Kid then waits for the seed to dry out, drills a hole through it, feeds a bit of string through the hole and ties a knot in one end. In effect, kid now has a kind of tiny organic mace. Kid finds other kid with same, and the game is on.

One kid holds his conker still, letting it dangle on the end of its string, while the other kid hits it with his in an attempt to smash it to smithereens. After each hit, they swop roles. He who is smithereened first is, obviously, the loser. Some conkers go on to have long and illustrious careers, spanning season after season, gathering an almost mythic status, until the kid grows up and they are retired to the attic where they gather only dust. The conker, that is, not the kid.

But suppose the owner of that self-same all-conquering conker, having put away his childish things at the requisite age, finds that in his later life his mind keeps wistfully harking back to those glory days of youthful victory. And suppose he has grown up to be an expert helicopter pilot. With friends in the demolition business. And has other chopper-flying mates who are going through a similar nostalgic mid-life crisis. Should all of these wildly improbable conditions be fulfilled, Heliconkers would be born.

Two helicopters, each with a large demolition ball hanging from them by a long chain, simultaneously take off at either end of an abandoned airport somewhere in the desert. I'm sure you can imagine the rest. Spectators should stand a long way back, and players should expect a very short playing career/lifespan.

Given that much of the skill of conkers was in how you treated your tiny mace (oven roasting, soaking in vinegar, etc), I'm loathe to go for just a big iron ball as an alternative. But coconuts are just too small, and even the biggest seed in the world (see link) just won't cut it. Though I would wince if I saw two of those slamming together at high speed.

Might be something to practice with small remote control helicopters before you bother the emergency services with the full-sized version.

Can you loop-the-loop in a helicopter?

And - to paraphrase Ghostbusters - don't cross the strings.

lostdog, Feb 10 2004

Big Seed http://news.bbc.co....cotland/3153327.stm
A very big seed which seems to be sprouting a gardener. [lostdog, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Getting ready for battle http://news.bbc.co....artenfels300afp.jpg
[k_sra, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Baked... http://i28.photobuc...h/greenhillboss.gif
This idea has already been baked by a famous robot engineer [spiritualized, Oct 04 2004, last modified May 29 2006]

" I want to fly a helicopter, not look at a bunch of crazy dials " http://www.theonion.../4006/opinion1.html
Training is for the birds, I just want to fly.... [normzone, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

[link]






       Count on a needing a new pilot/helicopter after each engagement. Danger is MY middle name, so count me in.
Letsbuildafort, Feb 10 2004
  

       "Red leader, red leader, we have a conker lock-on, over"
"Can you pull their hair, Red two?"
"Negatory, red leader. We even stuck our tongues out at them - nothing. We're in trouble here."
"Okay. Hold tight, red two. Red six is coming in with a nasty sing-song rhyme about their mother. That should distract them enough for Red five to spiral in and stick chewing gum in their hair..."
lostdog, Feb 10 2004
  

       I say dangle coconuts from the rotor blades for more action.
FarmerJohn, Feb 10 2004
  

       I agree an iron ball would be boring, how about one made of concrete?
krelnik, Feb 10 2004
  

       I never saw much point in spending thousands of pounds on learning to fly... until now. +
Fishrat, Feb 11 2004
  

       Nice +
hazel, Feb 11 2004
  

       flying helicopters [fishrat] is fantastic ... well worth it, brilliant fun. Although, I would suggest that you don't attempt heliconkers until lesson 2. At least.
jonthegeologist, Feb 11 2004
  

       Like the idea. Don't like the iron balls. The main satisfaction in conkers is in seeing your opponents conker utterly obliterated in a shower of flying fragments. I suggest that the iron balls are replaced with big masonry spheres and that a strict set of rules are drawn up about the materials that can be used in their construction (thus replicating the baking & soaking aspect of conkers proper).
DrBob, Feb 11 2004
  

       It's one of the stupidest ideas on the bakery. Congratulations. Lemme see... the air drafts created by the helicopters when in proximity is pretty much a life lost. I think the "conkers" could be made of wood composite to achieve durability as well as flying fragments. There should probably be a release on the chain holding them since knotted conkers is almost inevitable.   

       Come to think of it, why couldn't you just do this with actual wrecking balls and cranes?   

       Well done, [lostdog]. A valiant and noble regression. +
k_sra, Feb 11 2004
  

       "Iddilly, iddilly onker, my first conker.   

       Iddilly, iddilly ack, my first crack.   

       Iddilly, iddilly aaaaaaarm, my helo's bought the farm."
phlogiston, Feb 11 2004
  

       " I want to fly a helicopter, not look at a bunch of crazy dials " [ see link ]
normzone, Feb 11 2004
  

       Apache can loop the loop. Are the iron/concrete balls/coconuts on an inactive string or are they controllable? (insert fly-by-wire pun here) you could hang one from each hard point on the 'wings' of an attack helo such as Apache. Lynx could carry something coconut-sized. Agate nodules would be cool.
badgers, Feb 11 2004
  

       {k_sra} - I think that's about the nicest backhanded compliment I've ever had. Thanks.   

       You're probably right about the crane thing, but now I'd just like to see a demolition ball crane (with impossibly agile hydraulics) battle a flying heliconker chopper. Ideally, there would be a team of "conker"-laden choppers, and the crane would have just scaled the Empire State Building. With fair lady in tow, of course.
lostdog, Feb 11 2004
  

       Concrete good.... Pumpkins, perfect.
Salmon v2, Feb 11 2004
  

       Somehow the Wipeout signoff seems appropriate: "Goodbye, and big balls."
RayfordSteele, Feb 10 2011
  
      
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