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HIST OR Y -P AR T IIl

The VZ-1 Flying Platform or Pawnee. A total of six Flying Platforms were built in the 1950s. One that was built for the Office of Naval Research is on display at the Hiller Aviation Museum, another that was built for the Army belongs to the Pima Air and Space Museum. The whereabouts of the others is unknown. (Courtesy of the Hiller Aviation Museum)

Aircraft. Hiller Aircraft proposed the OH- 5A and it was selected by the Navy while the Army selected the Bell and Hiller pro- posals for a final evaluation. Even though the Hughes offering was out of the run- ning, Howard Hughes was able to orches- trate some back behind the scenes deals which he combined with underbidding Bell and Hiller to win the contract. The loss of this contract was a blow that the Hiller Aircraft Corporation was never able to recover from and ultimately started its decline. In 1964 Hiller Aircraft Corpora- tion became part of Fairchild Engine and Airplane Company. Stanley Hiller be- came the executive vice president and the two companies became the Fairchild Hiller Corporation (Spenser, 2003). After leaving the Fairchild Hiller Cor- poration in 1968, Stanley Hiller put his considerable talents to use in the corpo- rate world. He became a well known businessman who specialized in turning around companies that were headed for failure. In a strange twist of fate he or- chestrated the merger of the same Hughes Tool Company that had beaten out his company for the Army’s LOH contract with Baker International in 1987. Stan- ley Hiller Jr. passed away in 2006 at the age of 81 but not before he made one last contribution to the aviation world. In 1998 he founded the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, CA. The museum was not only a way of giving back to the same area in California that had given him his start but also a way to preserve the some- times overlooked contributions to aviation that came from the west coast. He was the recipient of many prestigious awards over his lifetime including the National Air and Space Museum Trophy for Life- time Achievement, the Helicopter Foun- dation International Heritage Award, the Fawcett Aviation Award for major con- tributions to the advancement of aviation, the San Francisco Aeronautical Society’s Medal of Achievement and is inducted into the U.S. Army Aviation Hall of Fame

Hiller 360 on the promotional tour in 1949 which became the first successful cross country flight of a commercial helicopter. Stanley Hiller Jr. is on the ground in the middle. (Courtesy of the Hiller Aviation Museum)

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