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Above: Les Morris lands the XR-4 at Wright Field in Dayton, OH on May 18, 1942. This landing was the culmination of his historic cross country flight from Connecticut to Ohio to deliver the XR-4 to the U.S. Army. Below: Les Morris conducts a demonstration flight in the XR-4. A rope ladder is used to show the helicopter’s ability to retrieve personnel from inaccessible areas. Photo: Courtesy of the collection of Mr. Charles G. Morris


dures for how to do it existed. Even


more alarming for Morris was that the engineers weren’t even sure if the XR-4 would still be controllable during power-off flight. Over the course of several days Morris developed a proce- dure to autorotate the XR-4 and proved that the helicopter was both safe and controllable in autorotation. Les Morris made what is believed to be the first powered off landing of a helicop- ter in North America in early April of 1942. During test flights in prepara- tion for the Army demonstration, Morris set many unofficial helicopter speed and altitude records.


He was


prohibited from setting official records due to World War II and the secrecy of the helicopter project. The demon-


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