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in the driveway of the Hiller home with the aircraft tethered to the ground. Stan- ley Hiller did not have any helicopter fly- ing experience so he had to teach himself how to fly and evaluate his new aircraft at the same time. On the morning of July 4, 1944, in the football stadium at the Uni- versity of California at Berkeley, Stanley Hiller lifted the XH-44 off the ground, flew forward then circled around and landed back where he had started. The XH-44 became the first successful Amer- ican coaxial helicopter and the first heli- copter to fly on the west coast. Due to the fact that the XH-44 was coaxial and had two rotor disks mounted one on top of the other its rotor blades had to be restricted from flapping like the blades of the other single main rotor helicopters of the day did. To accomplish this, the innovative XH-44 rotor blades were rigid and all metal instead of wood, which were also both firsts (Spenser, 2003).

The success of the XH-44 proved that

Continued on page 16

The X-2-235 was designed as the follow on model to the XH-44. Notice the super rigid rotor blades. (Courtesy of the Hiller Aviation Museum)

www.ROTORCRAFTPRO.com • March 2010

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