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HIST OR Y -P AR T IIl

Stanley Hiller Jr. flying the J-5 in 1946. The J-5 used a ducted fan to counter torque instead of a tail rotor. (Courtesy of the Hiller Aviation Museum)

there was something very special about the new company and its leader, but with- out an infusion of new financial support the company would have been short lived. Luckily in the months to follow Stanley Hiller and the XH-44 did a number of public demonstrations in the San Fran- cisco area. One of which caught the eye of a wealthy shipbuilder with an interest in helicopter development named Henry J. Kaiser. Kaiser had the financial sup- port that was needed and Hiller Aircraft became the Hiller-copter Division of Kaiser Cargo. A larger, two seat version of the XH-44 was built. Known as the X- 2-235 it was powered by a 235 Lycoming engine and had super rigid rotor blades which could support a grown man stand- ing on the tip without deflecting (Spenser, 2003). One of the three X-2-235s that

were built was procured by the Navy for testing and evaluation. Out of a second Navy contract came the Sky Hook, the

first successful gasoline powered model helicopter. This helicopter had a 1.1 horsepower gasoline engine and was ca- pable of lifting an emergency transmitter 300 feet in the air and small enough to fit in a three foot by six inch tube that could be carried in a life raft (Spenser, 1998). Stanley Hiller and Henry Kaiser parted ways in 1945 due largely in part to Kaiser’s refusal to increase the Hiller- copter Division’s funding to levels that were required to begin full scale helicopter production. Stanley Hiller renamed the company United Helicopters and began to look for new financial backing. He and his team turned toward their next heli- copter which was a single seat, single main rotor aircraft with a ducted tail fan known as the J-5. This precursor to the NOTAR aircraft that we know today was ahead of its time but ultimately abandoned due to a lack of power. United Helicopters then entered a bid to build its first aircraft specifically for a military application. They offered a five seat coaxial helicopter called the HO-346 for a Navy ship-based light transport helicopter solicitation. They ultimately lost the Navy contract, but out of this design a two seat commercial vari- ant known as the Commuter was born. The UH-4 Commuter was publicly un- veiled in 1947 at the Presidio in San Fran- cisco. It was the first successful two seat coaxial helicopter and as the name implies it was intended for private use to replace

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