Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Hiller YROE-1 Rotorcycle, with Hiller Model 1031-A-1 Flying Platform, P-V Engineering Forum PV-2, Hiller XH-44 Hiller-Copter et al in background

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Hiller YROE-1 Rotorcycle, with Hiller Model 1031-A-1 Flying Platform, P-V Engineering Forum PV-2, Hiller XH-44 Hiller-Copter et al in background

Image by Chris Devers
Quoting Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Hiller YROE-1 Rotorcycle:

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.

Transferred from the United States Navy.

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

Manufacturer:
United Helicopters Incorporated

Country of Origin:
United States of America

Dimensions:
Rotor diameter 18 feet 6 inches, height 7 feet, length 16 feet 6 inches, width 8 feet 9 inches.

• • • • •

Quoting Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | P-V Engineering Forum PV-2:

When Igor Sikorsky began to publicly demonstrate his VS-300 helicopter in 1941, he called it the automobile of the future. This idea quickly captured the public imagination and enthusiastic helicopter designers stepped forward to produce the next aerial version of the Model T. On April 11, 1943, Frank Piasecki became the second American to successfully fly a helicopter of his own design, the Piasecki-Venzie PV-2. He built it with far fewer resources than Sikorsky had available to construct the VS-300, yet the PV-2 flew with an unprecedented smoothness and stability. Ironically, Frank Piasecki intended his first helicopter design to be the forerunner of a revolution in personal transportation, but his company actually evolved into one of the foremost manufacturers of large cargo helicopters sold primarily to the military.

Gift of Frank Piasecki

Manufacturer:
Piasecki Helicopter Corporation

Country of Origin:
United States of America

Dimensions:
Rotor Diameter: 7.7 m each (25 ft 2 in)
Length: 7.7 m (25 ft 5.25 in)
Height: 2.36 m (7 ft 9 in)
Weights: Empty, 327 kg (720 lb)
Gross, 454 kg (1,000 lb)

• • • • •

Quoting Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Hiller Model 1031-A-1 Flying Platform:

In the mid-1950s, Hiller constructed a series of innovative Flying Platforms for an Army-Navy program as a one-man flying vehicle that the pilot could control with minimal training. The pilot simply leaned in the desired direction and the platform would follow. The platforms, which utilized the aerodynamic advantages of the ducted fan, were incapable of tumbling, because if the pilot leaned over too far, the platform would pitch up and slow down.

The 1031-A-1 is the second of the Flying Platform prototypes and was the first to operate out of ground effect (aerodynamic cushion caused by thrust hitting the ground). The Army contracted for a larger, improved model – the VZ-1 – but the extra engines required for redundancy if the primary failed made the platform so heavy that it was impossible for the pilot to control the craft kinesthetically (by leaning), defeating the purpose of the design.

Transferred from the United States Department of the Army and the United States Department of the Navy.

Fan Diameter (x2):2.13 m (7 ft) each
Platform Diameter:2.54 m (8 ft 4 in)
Height: 2.13 m (7 ft)
Weight:Empty, 168 kg (370 lb)
Gross, 252 kg (555 lb)
Engine:2 x Nelson H-59 two-cycle engines, 40 hp each
Top Speed:26 km/h (16 mph)
Manufacturer:Hiller Aircraft, Palo Alto, Ca.,1957

Country of Origin:
United States of America

Dimensions:
Rotor Diameter: 2.1 m (7 ft) each
Platform Diameter: 2.5 m (8 ft 4 in)
Height: 2.1 m (7 ft)
Weights:
Empty, 167.8 kg (370 lb)
Gross, 251.7 kg (555 lb)

Materials:
Duct is fiberglass; rotor blades, operator platform, and guide vanes are made from aluminum sheet. Operator platform railing is made of aluminum tubing.

Physical Description:
One-man, twin-engine, flying platform with two counter-rotating rotors turning on vertical axis inside ducted fan.

• • • • •

Quoting Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Hiller XH-44 Hiller-Copter:

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.

Gift of the Hiller Aircraft Company.

Manufacturer:
United Helicopters Incorporated

Date:
1943-1945

Country of Origin:
United States of America

Dimensions:
Rotor Dia:7.6m(15ft); Fuselage Length:4.1m(13ft4in);
Height:2.7m(9ft); Weight Empty: 564kg(1,244lb)

Materials:
Steel tube and fabric fuselage; 2 2-blade metal rotors

One Reply to “Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Hiller YROE-1 Rotorcycle, with Hiller Model 1031-A-1 Flying Platform, P-V Engineering Forum PV-2, Hiller XH-44 Hiller-Copter et al in background”

Leave a Reply