16 December 2005

Some Helicopter Trivia

The helicopter you see here was produced by a company not normally associated with helicopters.

A machine of this type was the first helicopter to land at Pike's Peak.
In September of 1955, it landed and took off at an elevation above 14,000' with three people aboard.
Although the Army was a possible customer, a few civilian machines were also sold.

Can you name the manufacturer without cheating?

It's a Cessna!

The U.S. Army still owns one of these machines and used to display it in their Aviation Museum at Ft. Rucker, Alabama.
I went back to Ft. Rucker two years ago and toured the New/Improved Museum, and the Cessna CH-1 was nowhere to be seen.
I suspect it is stored somewhere, waiting for more viewing space to be opened there.

There is a comprehensive article about early helicopter history and the CH-1 in particular

  • Here

  • I was surprised to find this machine was the first helicopter to be certified for instrument flight.
    It also held several speed and altitude records for a while.

    For years, I had heard that Clyde Cessna's son had been killed in one of these birds, and that was part of the reason the program was cancelled.
    The article mentions nothing about the younger Mr. Cessna.




    Greybeard said...

    Ford was VERY interested in aviation early on....The Tri-motor for example.

    Model "T" engines are used in several "experimental" airplanes flying today....
    For instance, I have an Uncle with a "Pietnpol Air Camper" powered by Ford.

    But this helicopter does not have a blue oval on it's hood, Dave! Nice try.


    I took a ride in a Ford Tri-Motor at the Dupage County Air show in 1976. Pretty loud.

    And, I looked up the answer, but I would've never guessed it.