Monday, 5 September 2011
Stanley Hiller 1924-2006
Stanley Hiller was a true aviation pioneer in rotary wing flight, and was recognized as a "boy genius" when during his high school days in the late '30's he developed a miniature racing car manufacturing business. During WWII, his firm became a major producer of die castings for the aircraft industry. In 1942, at the age of 18, Hiller left Hiller Industries to devote his entire effort to helicopter development and founded United Helicopters, which subsequently became Hiller Aircraft.
Two-and-one-half years later, he completed the Model XH-44 Coaxial Helicopter. For this accomplishment, Stanley Hiller received the "Fawcett Award" for his "major contribution to the advancement of aviation." At 24, Hiller built a single rotor UH-5, the forerunner of the Hiller 360 which received its Civil Aeronautics Administration Type Certification in October, 1948.
In 1950, at the outset of the Korean Conflict, Hiller personally directed the sales efforts that resulted in his firm producing its first military helicopter, the H-23A. Used primarily for medical evacuation and popularized later in the TV series, "MASH", some 1,200 of his H-23 Models were delivered to the Army in a 12-year period.
Continuing his quest for design simplicity and reduced cost, Hiller then directed his company's R&D efforts into the field of tip propulsion, his YH-32 Hornet being powered by two 11-lb. ramjet engines mounted at the tips of its two-blade main rotor. In the process, the Hiller 8RJ2B ramjet engine received Type Certification in 1954, the first jet engine to be CAA-certified. In 1956, a quantity of YH-32s were delivered to the Army for evaluation.
In other Army-Navy related efforts, Hiller pursued the experimental XROE-1 one-man helicopter and the VZ-1E Flying Platform, both break-through projects. His X-18 VTOL aircraft sustained Tri-Service user interest in a large, four-engine tilt-wing VTOL transport aircraft.