Gyrenes Pocket Copter
May 1957 American Modeler
Hiller Helicopters XROE-1 "Rotor-cycle" looks a lot like the
Bensen Gyrocopters that seemed to be in every magazine in the 1960s
and 1970s, either as a feature story or in the advertisements in the back.
A couple James Bond movies even featured them as high-tech, futuristic flying
machines. The U.S. military experimented for a while with the personal gyrocopter
concept for surveillance and search and rescue operations, but it never
really went anywhere. Remote-controlled drones do a lot of that work these
days. Significant improvements have been made in airworthiness over the
years and now there are many
in use around the world - both homebuilt and commercially built.
Photos and text by Howard Levy
U. S. Navy reveals the Hiller XROE-1
"Rotor-cycle" made its first flight. XROE-1 is small, lightweight 1-man
helicopter that collapses into small package for ease of transportation
or parachute drop, then can be reassembled by one man in less than 10 minutes.
Like Gyrodyne's XRON-1 which flew in November 1955, Hiller's "Rotorcycle"
is powered by a Nelson 4-cylinder opposed, two-cycle, aircooled engine developing
40-hp. Empty weight of craft is less than 250-lbs. XROE-1 has single 18-ft
diameter main rotor and small anti-torque tail rotor on tubular boom. Stabilizing
horizontal airfoil section (probably ground-adjustable) is also mounted
on boom. The pilot sits on bicycle type seat with engine at his back. "Landing
gear" is a tubular tripod with pilot's foot pedals mounted on front leg.
Ex-modeler Hiller has apparently made some changes in his rotor
system since it appears that the servo paddles are no longer attached directly
to the rotor hub. Servo rotor is probably free to flap independently of
the main hub and the relative motion causes cyclic pitch changes in the
main rotor, which in turn causes hub tilt. "Rotorcycle" was developed under
Navy Bureau of Aeronautics contract for Marines who will use craft for observation,
liaison, and small unit tactical maneuvers.
Posted June 9, 2013