Curtiss-Bleecker SX-5-1 Helicopter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Curtiss-Bleecker Helicopter
Curtiss Bleeker Helicopter - GPN-2000-001397.jpg
Role Helicopter
National origin United States of America
Manufacturer Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company
Designer Maitland B. Bleecker
First flight 1926
Number built 1
Unit cost
$250,000 in 1930

The Curtiss-Bleecker Helicopter was an American prototype rotary wing aircraft, introduced in 1926. The thrust of the aircraft was distributed from a central mounted engine through shafts to propellers mounted on each rotor blade.

Design and development[edit]

The Bleecker Helicopter was designed by Maitland B. Bleecker, a junior engineer from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. The aircraft was constructed by Curtiss Wright for $250,000 over the course of four years at Garden City.[1]

The aircraft featured a rotary wing design with a single engine. Each rotor, painted silver and yellow, had an individual propeller for thrust and a trailing control surface called a "stabovator" to change pitch of the rotor. The aircraft was controlled by a stick that operated like a modern helicopter collective control. Yaw was controlled with a "Spin Vane" that used downwash from the rotor to pivot the aircraft with foot pedals.[1]

Operational history[edit]

Testing on the Bleecker Helicopter was stopped after the failure of a drive shaft on a test flight in 1929.[2] By 1933 the project was abandoned following vibrational issues in further tests.[3]


Curtiss-Bleecker helicopter 3-view drawing from Aero Digest July,1930

Data from NASA[citation needed]

General characteristics

  • Capacity: 2
  • Wing area: 370 sq ft (34 m2) Area of rotor blades
  • Empty weight: 2,800 lb (1,270 kg)
  • Gross weight: 3,400 lb (1,542 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 30 US gallons (114 litres)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial piston, 420 hp (310 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 70 mph (110 km/h, 61 kn)
  • Rate of climb: 1,000 ft/min (5.1 m/s)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "New Plane May Fly Straight Up in Air." Popular Science Monthly, September 1930, pp. 20-21.
  2. ^ Bowers, Peter M. (1979). Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-152-2.
  3. ^ Leishman, J. Gordon (24 April 2006). Principles of Helicopter Aerodynamics with CD Extra. Cambridge University Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-521-85860-1.