Helicopter Trainer

Helicopter trainer is an early helicopter simulator built in 1968. The game is 'made' by Amusement Engineering but when you open it up, it is filled with parts marked as 'Midway'. Midway then came out with their own version called Whirlybird. It is almost exactly the same, even using the same model helicopter and many of the parts in the Whirlybird parts catalog are interchangeable. There is a notation in the parts list for Whirlybird on which parts are interchangeable. These are not exactly uncommon, they show up on ebay frequently, relative to some other games anyway.

After investigating this game some, I found that the early versions used a military helicopter and a metal control panel label that was blue. Later models used a silver civilian helicopter and a black sticker for the control panel that just looked like metal. I suspect the change from a military helicopter to a civilian helicopter in 1968 had something to do with Vietnam's popularity. You may also notice that the control panel on the flyer is different from the actual game(either blue or black versions on the actual games). Also the military helicopter had a mistake. It shows MARINES on the tail(not like the number shown on the control panel image) and it has Air Force star insignia on the sides and front. Which is it? Marines or Air Force? I guess they couldnt decide so they made it both.


I found an auction that listed 1 complete helicopter trainer and 1 parts machine. When I looked at it I didnt see that, I saw 2 potential machines and that is exactly what I intend to make from this mess.

The seller said the 2nd machine with no canopy was a 'parts' machine but he forgot to mention that it had been completely stripped of all 'parts' All that was left were the controls, and what you see on the playfield. The interior was completely empty.


The background on both units was severely faded. A common problem with these units.


I aquired 2 replacement backgrounds. They are not exactly like the originals but look much nicer. The originals could have never been restored, not even digitally restored they were so bad.


Flyer from

I am planning to restore both of these. It actually worked out well to buy both since I now have a mostly complete machine to compare the incomplete one to. I think fixing the stripped machine will be much easier than you might think. On the other hand you may be right but with modern circuits, fixing a game like this is actually quite easy. I have a few tricks up my sleeve for it. Keep watching for the rest of this restoration story.