National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center – Part V

I ran out of original cats . . . so I’m into reruns . . . . 

The Gazerbeam Impression

In all honesty (as opposed to partial or completely absent honesty), I think by now most chicks have caught on, and are not fooled by the lure of furry felines. Hmmmm . . . perhaps a shaved feline . . . nah; they would see right through that.

In Part V of my NAaSM documentation, I give you . . . (drum-roll) FLYING BRICKS!

Note: I just found out that all the links in the Smithsonian catalog changed. That means that links referencing the museum’s database will return a dead link error (error 404). I’m not going back through the posts to update the links. One, because it’s a lot of work, and two, because no one mentioned it. If you’re looking for the Smithsonian’s entry for a plane, just search under the name.

I jumped the gun on the Part I, showing the Huey (presented below as a reminder).

Bell UH-1H Iroquois (Huey)

That was before I decided to group the aircrafts.  Back in those heady days, at the very start of this adventure, when the future seemed bright, when the promise of things to come was oh-so-easy to make, when our government was still working out how to screw us over, I had planned to just show things in encounter-sequence.  Well, as with all the promises, that went out the window.

And so today I give you . . . (drumroll) . . . rotor aircrafts! (a.k.a. flying bricks).

There are many people who have safely flown helicopters. All the ones who have not crashed in one, report it to be a wonderful experience.

Sikorsky YH-19A

That is the Sikorsky YH-19A.  Introduced in 1950, it has many variants, and a later model was already showcased in my post documenting the Weisbrod Museum, in Pueblo, Colorado.

That model, the H34, was a later, larger, and more powerful version of the above.


To my engineer’s mind, the term “elegant” fails to surface when I look at it.  Still, a very functional aircraft.

Sikorsky YH-19A

OK, so it has a few dents and wrinkles . . . I’m the same age, and so do I.

Like with most other flying contraptions at the museum, there was a case of models.


That long thing with the smokestacks . . . not a helicopter.

Hiller YH-32 Hornet

Notice the names don’t match . . . I called it the Hiller YH-32 Hornet, but the sign shows the designation given for the models assigned to the Navy for evaluation.

Hiller is a big name in helicopter.  Perhaps not as fancy as Sikorsky (I mean, that has “sky” in the name!  . . . how cool, not to mention convenient, is that!), but still a flying brick.


That’s the Kaman K225, and I can’t find much operational history other than it was used by the Navy and Coast Guard.  What’s interesting about this design is that it uses two intermeshing rotors . . . perhaps where the term “eggbeater” originated.

Kaman K-225

Honest, out of all the ones I saw, the Kaman looked most like a brick.  

This next one looks like something one might see flying today.

Hiller YROE

Talk about minimalist . . . it looks like a vacuum cleaner with legs.

Only twelve Hiller YROE ultralight helicopters were produced.


There was a well-intentioned idea behind their development.  The plan was to build a foldable helicopter that could be airdropped to downed pilots so they could extract themselves from behind enemy lines.

The Marines did not accept the design because of “low performance, vulnerability to small-arms fire and the lack of visual references on the structure. This problem could cause the pilot to experience spatial disorientation at all but very low altitudes.The YROE or ROE never saw military service.”  (text from Wikipedia)

I concur.

I think the following had similar issues, plus, it looks vulnerable as all heck.

Hiller VZ-1 Pawnee

It does not say so on the Wiki page for the Hiller VZ-1 Pawnee, but if I remember correctly, the original idea for this was to design shooting platforms.  The thing was stable, but you know, given one had to actually fly the thing, it made it difficult to shoot at the same time.


That’s where I remember reading about a shooting platform . . . in all fairness, the thing was supposed to be controlled by the pilot shifting his body weight to tilt the platform (think aerial Segway).

The larger model (the Pawnee), had ineffective “kinesthetic control”, and required conventional controls manned by the pilot; that can’t-shoot-while-you-fly thing I mentioned.

You can see the Hiller-Copter to the side of the platform.  Let me tell you about Stanley Hiller Jr.

No.  Click on the link, and read it for yourselves; you’d never believe me if I wrote it.


This next thing could not be made these days, as lawyers for stupid people who injured or killed themselves would quickly bury the company under a ton of lawsuits.  But, hey, while it lasted, it was pretty good.


You can’t read it here very well (you can read it on the SmugMug Gallery), and it might not be obvious in the photo, but this thing has no motor.  The Bensen B-6 Gyroglider.

The B-6 was meant to be towed to a speed of about 20mph, at which point it would become airborne, and give the pilot about 15 minutes of flight.  It did not need towing if there was a 23mph wind blowing.  These were kits for the home market, so, no military application that I know of.

B-8M gyrocopter

The above is the Benson B-8M, which added an engine to make it fully autonomous (meaning it did not need to be towed).  Remarkably similar to modern day designs, it was very successful, and thousands of sets of plans sold over the course of thirty years.

This next thing is an attempt to gain the advantages of both an airplane and a helicopter in a single design.


The Kellett XO-60 has no wings, as it is another autogyro, where the lift is provided by the unpowered rotors.  The front propeller provided the thrust to move the aircraft to takeoff speed.

Kellett Xo-60

The rotors folded up, I presume for easy hangar storage.  It was successfully used for air-mail service, and the model above was used in an observation role (governments . . . always wanting to spy on people). 

Random shot of the engine and propeller

And so we come to a more direct attempt to get the best of two worlds. An airplane that could take off vertically, and then fly horizontally with conventional propellers.

Bell XV-15

The Bell XV-15 would pave the way for development of the V-22 Osprey (of which I do not have a photo).


Only after reading the Wiki, did I realize an XV-15 landed on the lawn of the White House . . . where it was promptly wrestled to the ground by the ever-alert Washington police.  In a rare case of common sense, they stopped short of shooting the unarmed pilots.  

Bell XV-15

Well, boys and girls, this was actually a short post (for me).  I do have one more photo, but mostly I did not linger long in front of helicopters . . . damn things look unsafe even when sitting on the ground.  

In fact, my favorite shot was this, where I knew I was out of range of their egg-beaters.


As usual, the full-size photos are in their own SmugMug Gallery (HERE). Most are probably not worth looking at full resolution (grainy due to the poor light), but the X3 size option is pretty decent. 

The next post will deal with the Space part of the museum  Neat stuff from a place we’re letting the Chinese, Europeans, Russians, and Indians have. Heck, as I write this, NASA is closed, pending some people with brains as small as their reproductive organs coming to terms with each other, and ending their pissing contest (tiny pissing contest).

Note: many of the words used to describe the planes are either paraphrased or directly copied from the corresponding Wikipedia pages, and sometimes from the Smithsonian’s own descriptions.  It’s worth noting Wikipedia is doing a fund drive.  If you can spare a few bucks, please do so.  They offer incalculable value for them who want to learn stuff.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


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