Helicopter pioneer Stanley Hiller dies at 81
Stanley Hiller, Jr., began his career as one of the world's three principal developers of vertical flight.
By Brooke Shaw
Stanley Hiller, Jr., age 81, died peacefully at home on Thursday, April 20, 2006, of complications associated with Alzheimer Disease. Stanley Hiller, Jr. was born November 15, 1924 in San Francisco, California to the late Stanley Hiller, Sr. and Opal Perkins Hiller. On May 25, 1946 he was united in marriage to Carolyn Balsdon Hiller and lived in Atherton, California.
Stanley Hiller, Jr., began his career as one of the world's three principal developers of vertical flight, while still a teenager. After leading a company that produced thousands of helicopters for military and commercial markets worldwide, Hiller began a remarkable second career, applying management techniques widely sought in the turnaround of troubled American companies.
Hiller innovations in the technology of vertical flight included the first helicopter flown in the western United States, the world's first successful co-axial helicopter, the famed Flying Platform, the one-man foldable "Rotorcycle," the unique "Hornet" helicopter powered by rotor-tip-mounted ramjet engines, and the first high-speed vertical take-off-and-landing tilt-wing troop transport.
Stanley Hiller's company, Hiller Aircraft Corporation, started in 1949 as United Helicopters when he was 18 years old, and it was soon producing the first battlefield evacuation helicopter for the French Indochinese War and the Korean Conflict in the 1950s.