Hiller XH-44 Hiller-Copter

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This object is on display in the Vertical Flight at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Vertical Flight

In 1944, at the age of 19, Stanley Hiller, Jr. designed, built, and test flew the first helicopter with coaxial rotors to fly successfully in the United States. The XH-44 was also the first helicopter to fly successfully with all-metal blades and a rigid rotor. Hiller used the counter-rotating coaxial configuration to distinguish his designs from Sikorsky's single main rotor designs that dominated the helicopter industry in the mid-1940s.

The first tie-down tests of the XH-44 took place on his parents' driveway and the initial flight tests occurred at the University of California at Berkeley's football stadium, where Hiller was a student. He initially tested the XH-44 with amphibious floats in his family's swimming pool. Up-scaled coaxial Hiller designs failed to sell, but his company prospered with the introduction of the popular UH-12 single rotor model.