Able to operate freely from nearly any place on earth, helicopters come closer than any other aircraft to achieving the birdlike freedom humanity has always envied. However, the same technology that makes this possible also prevents the helicopter from achieving the speeds and payload capacity of airplanes performing similar functions.

The Autogiro, which used unpowered rotors to provide most of its lift, was the first successful rotary-wing aircraft. The first decades of the 20th century yielded helicopters that could fly, but only marginally. In World War II, refined versions performed medical evacuation and antisubmarine warfare. During the Korean and Vietnam wars, the helicopter finally emerged as an invaluable, and then essential, military tool. Notable technological innovations have occurred since then, and today helicopters are widely used in civilian roles as well.

Location in Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA
Map of Udvar-Hazy Center highlighting the display in the main hanger, in the furthest back left corner.
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Related Topics: Aviation Helicopters Vertical flight Technology and Engineering

In this Exhibit

Explore the Collection Bell XV-15 TRRA (Tilt Rotor Research Aircraft), Ship 2 Object Bell 47B Object Autogiro Company of America AC-35 Object Hiller Model 1031-A-1 Flying Platform Object
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