This Hiller Helicopters XROE-1
"Rotor-cycle" looks a lot like the
that seemed to be in every magazine in the 1960s and 1970s (including this May
1957 American Modeler edition), 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
personal gyrocopters in use around the world - both homebuilt and commercially
Gyrenes Pocket Copter
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 15, 2021
(updated from original post on 6/9/2013)