The Helio Courier Ultra C/STOL Aircraft

An Illustrated Developmental History

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About the Book

Its maneuverability impresses pilots and laymen alike. Its design, which makes it capable of extreme controlled/short takeoff and landing (Ultra C/STOL), attracted the almost instant interest 1of the United States military. Developed through collaboration between Dr. Otto Koppen of MIT and Dr. Lynn Bollinger of Harvard, the Helio Courier was designed to be one of the safest, most versatile aircraft ever produced—and lived up to this claim in ways that even in some cases exceeded the designers’ expectations.
This book gives the reader a comprehensive developmental history of the Helio Courier, one of the most remarkable planes in the annals of aviation. It begins by discussing the progenitors of the Helio Courier and the drive behind developing an aircraft with such unprecedented safety and flight capabilities. Then, starting with the Helio’s inception in the late 1940s, this volume follows the aircraft through drawing board, prototype and post-production stages. It examines the role the plane played in military operations in Vietnam and various covert operations since. The final chapter looks at the possible future of the aircraft. Sources for this intensively researched history include interviews from former Helio company officials, independent archival data, news articles and FAA type design specifications.

About the Author(s)

Frank Joseph Rowe, aircraft designer and senior design engineer, lives in Wichita, Kansas.

Bibliographic Details

Frank Joseph Rowe
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: 115 photos, tables, diagrams, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013 [2006]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7719-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      xi

1. Chasing the Sun      1

Helio Progenitors

2. Dawn of the “Tennis Court Airplane”      27

Early Helio Prototypes

3. Geared for Success      49

Main Production Models and Variants, 1954–1974

4. Litterbugs and Black Ops      86

Military Versions of the Helio Courier

5. Above and Beyond      106

Turbo-Charged Helios and Concept Aircraft

6. Twilight of the Courier      147

The Last Production Helio Courier Models

and Concept Aircraft, 1983–1985

7. Couriers of the Word      160

JAARS Helio Operations

8. Epilogue      171

Plans for Future Helio Production

Appendix 1: Data Specification Sheets      173

Appendix 2: Helio Aircraft Models and Production Totals      215

Notes      217

Bibliography      221

Index      225