Sunday, May 29, 2016

Hiller Aviation Museum

I happened to be driving through San Carlos yesterday where I saw the Hiller Aviation Museum and decided to stop in to have a look.  I wasn't expecting to find much but I was very surprised to see a collection of Hiller coaxial helicopters.  I had previously not known anything about Stanley Hiller and was amazed to discover that at the age of 15, he designed the world's first successful coaxial helicopter, and produced a working model. At 17, he presented his design for the XH-44 "Hiller-Copter" to the U.S. Army in Washington D.C., winning not only their approval, but also a draft deferment during World War II. Immediately thereafter, he established the first helicopter factory on the West Coast at 1930-50 Addison Street in Berkeley, California.[1] On July 4, 1944, he tested the XH-44 at the Memorial Stadium at the University of California in Berkeley where he had been admitted as student at age 15. This initial test was followed by a successful public demonstration on the Marina Green in San Francisco adjacent to the U.S. Army's Crissy Field a few months later.

I am also always happy to see rubber band powered models recognized for their role in the development of aviation.