“Commuter” helicopter (Jul, 1947)

“Commuter” helicopter pictured at right and below is claimed to be the world’s first successful two-place co-axial rotary wing aircraft. The all-metal blades line up fore and aft above the aluminum tear-drop fuselage and all controls are contained in a single unit. In recent public tests it performed vertical take-offs and landings and turned on its own axis while hovering. The pilot is Stanley Hiller, Jr.

  1. Toronto says: January 8, 200911:17 pm

    Hiller Aircraft is still in business, as far as I know. They were always ‘out there’ on the innovation vector, with tip-jets and coax.

    Imagine what this would have looked like with retractable gear. NASA would have had to field a lot of calls.

  2. Torgo says: January 8, 200911:21 pm

    Quickly followed by “air-rage.”

  3. Scott says: January 9, 200911:09 am

    Wish I had a flying potato in my driveway … sigh.

  4. Tracy B. says: January 9, 20094:36 pm

    I think it was Fairchild-Hiller for a while

  5. LightningRose says: January 9, 20096:10 pm

    The Hiller Aviation Museum is located in San Carlos, California.

    ” The Hiller Aviation Institute, a non-profit organization, brings together historical, educational and technological resources to create programs which increase public understanding of science and aviation and inspire new opportunities.

    The Hiller Aviation Institute is dedicated to the dreams of flight – looking back into aviation’s history while exploring its future.”


  6. MrG says: January 9, 200911:05 pm

    Hiller died out a long time ago. Back in the early Sixties the Army had a competition for a scout
    helicopter — Hiller, Bell, and Hughes all bid on it, and Hughes won with what would turn out
    to be the Hughes 500 / OH-58 LOH or “Loach”. Not a bad machine but Hughes used a wide
    range of corrupt practices (“booze, broads, & bribes”) to make the deal, lowballed the price,
    won the bid, and then tried to jack it up. Congress stepped in and there was hell to pay.

    In the late 1960s the whole competition was rebid. Hiller had left his own company — he
    was a business genius, going from one company in trouble to another to get them back on their
    feet — and it became a Fairchild division. The management he left behind was so angry at
    the Army that they refused to enter the second round of bidding, even though they had what
    would turn out to be the best bid. Bell got the contract with the Jetranger instead.
    The Hiller division was shut down. Fairchild went on to develop the A-10 tank buster in the
    next decade, but it was their last shot — they lost a big deal for an Air Force jet trainer in the
    1980s and went bust.

    Cheers — MrG / http://www.vectorsite.n…

  7. John M. Hanna says: January 9, 200911:10 pm

    Thank God this didn’t catch on. Its bad enough I have idiots revving their motorcycles all day on my street. A neighborhhod of copter jockeys would be unbearable.

  8. MrG says: January 10, 20098:43 am

    The Hiller story does get a bit more complicated. In the early 1970s the rights to the Hiller
    helicopters were bought up, with sources variously claiming that Stan Hiller and an outfit
    named Rogerson were involved in the buyout, with the operation then obtained by Stan’s son
    Jeff in 1994. Apparently the classic Hiller 360 is still in production — it’s commonly used as
    a cropduster. Cheers — MrG

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