Paul Cornu's helicopter was the first to achieve free flight while carrying a passenger (1907).
-National Air and Space Museum,
The French bicycle maker and engineer Paul Cornu, born in 1881 in Lisieux, France, was the first person to design and build a helicopter that achieved free flight while carrying a passenger. His twin-rotor craft flew for about 20 seconds on November 13, 1907, rising about one foot (0.3 meter) off the ground. A 24-horsepower (18-kilowatt) engine powered the helicopter, which had counter-rotating rotors. The helicopter had no effective means of control and was abandoned after a few flights.
Cornu died in 1944.