Hiller XH-44 Hiller-Copter

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    Hiller XH-44 Hiller-Copter Instrument Panel

    In 1948, Stanley Hiller began to experiment with ramjets mounted on the tips of the main rotor blade. He hoped to make small, ramjet-powered helicopters practical and affordable, and to eventually design and sell giant aerial cranes propelled by ramjets or jet turbine engines. The Hiller HOE-1 became the first production ramjet helicopter, and the Army and Navy flew a small number of these aircraft for a short time to test and evaluate the technology. Highlighted in this image is the instrument panel of the Hiller XH-44 Hiller-Copter.

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    Hiller XH-44 Hiller-Copter Cockpit

    In 1948, Stanley Hiller began to experiment with ramjets mounted on the tips of the main rotor blade. He hoped to make small, ramjet-powered helicopters practical and affordable, and to eventually design and sell giant aerial cranes propelled by ramjets or jet turbine engines. The Hiller HOE-1 became the first production ramjet helicopter, and the Army and Navy flew a small number of these aircraft for a short time to test and evaluate the technology. Highlighted in this image is the cyclic-pitch lever of the 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.