Hiller YROE-1 Rotorcycle

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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 1953, Hiller Helicopters developed the Rotorcycle to meet a U. S. Marine Corps requirement for a single-person collapsible helicopter that could support special operations missions or be air-dropped to pilots trapped behind enemy lines. Hiller built the prototype, and the British firm, Saunders-Roe built ten production models, including the five YROE-1s requested by the Marine Corps, including this one. The first flight of a Rotorcycle occurred in 1956.

The Rotorcycle was so stable a non-pilot could fly it after only eight hours of instruction. However, The Marine Corps did not accept the YROE-1 for military service because of its slow speed of 84 kph (52 mph), its minimal range of 64 km (40 miles), its vulnerability to small-arms fire and the lack of visual references on the structure, which could cause the pilot to experience spatial disorientation at all but very low altitudes.

Rotor Diameter:5.64 m (18 ft 6 in)

Length:3.81 m (12 ft 6 in)

Height:2.29 m (7 ft 6 in)

Weight:Empty, 140 kg (309 lb)

Gross, 255 kg (562 lb)

Engine:Nelson YO-65-2 four-cylinder, two-cycle engine, 43 hp

Manufacturer:Saunders-Roe for Hiller Helicopters, United Kingdom, 1961