Puneet Varma

Hiller YH 32 Hornet

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Top speed  129 km/h
Wingspan  6.9 m
Unit cost  5,000–5,000 USD (1954)
First flight  1950
Range  52 km
Weight  247 kg
Engine type  Ramjet
Hiller YH-32 Hornet wwwaviastarorgfotogalleryhillerhillerhornet

Hiller yh 32 hornet helicopter 1951

The Hiller YH-32 Hornet (company designation HJ-1) was an American ultralight helicopter built by Hiller Aircraft in the early 1950s. It was a small and unique design because it was powered by two Hiller 8RJ2B ramjet engines mounted on the rotor blade tips which weigh 13lbs each and deliver an equivalent of 45 h.p. for a total of 90 h.p. Versions of the HJ-1 Hornet were built for the United States Army and the United States Navy in the early 1950s.


Hiller YH-32 Hornet Hiller YH32 Hornet Untitled Aviation Photo 0136877 Airlinersnet

The Hiller Museum identifies the YH-32A, named the Sally Rand, as the first helicopter gunship.

Hiller yh 32 hornet newsreel 1951

Design and development

Hiller YH-32 Hornet 534664 YH32 Hornet 2 prototype Hiller YH32 Hornet cn Flickr

The Hiller HJ-1 Hornet was an early attempt to build a jet-powered helicopter using ramjets. Before that there had been experiments with the XH-26 Jet Jeep tip rotor pulse jets. The HJ-1 ramjet tipped rotor propels the rotor and the aircraft. Unlike a conventional helicopter, this mechanically simple design avoids the need for a tail rotor.

Hiller YH-32 Hornet Hiller HJ1 YH32 Hornet

Unfortunately, the tip speeds on helicopter rotor blades are subsonic, and ramjets are inefficient at subsonic speeds due to low compression ratio of the inlets. Therefore, the Hornet suffered from high fuel consumption and poor range. Also, the vehicle suffered from low translational speeds, and the ramjet tips were extremely noisy. In the event of power loss, autorotation was found to be difficult due to the drag from the ramjet nacelles.

Hiller YH-32 Hornet Hiller Hornet Aircraft

The vehicle exhibited powerful lifting capacity, and there was some hope for military uses, but the high noise, poor range, and high night-time visibility of the ramjet flames failed to attract sales.

Operational history

Hiller YH-32 Hornet Helicopter Hiller YH32 Hornet Specifications A photo

The HJ-1 was evaluated by the United States Army as the YH-32, and the United States Navy as the XHOE-1. In 1957 two YH-32s were modified as the YH-32A for trials as armed helicopters. All the fibreglass cockpit fairings were removed and the tail was modified. The tests were successful in proving the viability of the helicopter as a weapons platform, but due to marginal performance, no further conversions or orders were placed. Also, versions were sent to the U.S. Army's DRC to be evaluated in one of their contests involving the research and development of a light weight, air droppable helicopter for air rescue and reconnaissance, and for a portable, easily put together, and fuel efficient 1 man observation and transport copter. It was competing against the Jet Jeep and its pulse jets. Overall the YH-32 won out over the Jet Jeep, but the concept was considered obsolete, and later the program was canceled.


Hiller YH-32 Hornet Hiller HOE1 YH32 Hornet helicopter development history photos
Company designation, one prototype.
United States Army, Similar to HJ.1 with two small v-shaped stabilizers, 14 built (2 prototypes and 12 production aircraft).
Two YH-32s modified for trials as an armed helicopter.
Three HJ-1s for evaluation by the United States Navy in 1951.

Aircraft on display

Hiller YH-32 Hornet Hiller HJ1 YH32 Hornet
  • "XHOE-1 138652 is on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia
  • YH-32 55-4965 "Sally Rand" is on display at the US Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker in Ozark, Alabama
  • YH-32 55-4969 is on display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington
  • YH-32 53 4664 and 55-4976 are on display at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, California
  • YH-32 Hornet is on display at Classic Rotors in Ramona, California
  • YH-32 Hornet is on display at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida, claimed to be the only flyable example.
  • Specifications (YH-32)

    General characteristics

    Hiller YH-32 Hornet Hiller HOE1 YH32 quotHornetquot Stingray39s List of Rotorcraft
  • Crew: two pilots
  • Length: 23 ft 8 ft (6.9 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 32 ft ()
  • Height: 7 ft 10 in (2.4 m)
  • Disc area: 402 ft² (37.4 m²)
  • Empty weight: 544 lb (247 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 1,080 lb (490 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Hiller 8RJ2B ramjets, 40 lbf (178 N) each
  • Performance

  • Maximum speed: 80 mph (129 km/h)
  • Range: 28 miles (52 km)
  • Service ceiling: 6,900 ft (2,100 m)
  • Rate of climb: 700 ft/min (213 m/min)
  • Disc loading: 2.7 lb/ft² (13 kg/m²)
  • References

    Hiller YH-32 Hornet Wikipedia

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