Hiller ROE Rotorcycle

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Hiller ROE
Hiller YROE-1.jpg
The Hiller rotorcycle YROE-1, made by Hiller Helicopter in nearby Palo Alto, California, hovers in front of the Ames Hangar on 6 November 1963
Role ultralight helicopter
National origin United States
Manufacturer Hiller Aircraft
First flight November 1956
Introduction 1957
Retired 1961
Primary user United States Marine Corps
Number built 12

The Hiller ROE Rotorcycle was a single seat ultralight helicopter designed in 1953 for a military requirement.[1] A total of 12 were produced for the United States Marine Corps. And in 1954, the Hiller Helicopters was selected by the US Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics to build this design of a one man, foldable, self-rescue and observation helicopter.[2] It featured a two blade rotor system. Its original empty weight was 290 lb (132 kg).[3]


The helicopter folded up and could be carried on a sled-like carrier by two people or could be air-dropped to pilots trapped behind enemy lines. The Marines did not accept the YROE due to its 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.[1] The YROE or ROE never saw military service.[4]

In 1954 the United States Navy′s Bureau of Aeronautics selected Hiller to build its proposed design of a one-man helicopter. The XROE Rotocycle completed flight testing in mid-1957.[5]

It was demonstrated at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, for military and other government officials in early April 1958.[6]

Production was by Saunders-Roe, which made five for the United States Marine Corps and five for Helicop-Air of Paris.[7]

A Porsche engine of 62 hp (46 Kw) developed for the YROE completed trials by 1961.[8]


2 prototypes built as Model 1033 at the Hiller Helicopter Plant in Palo Alto, California [4]
The first flight in November 1956[9]
5 test versions built by British Saunders-Roe company
One donated to the Smithsonian Institution after completion of its testing in 1961[9]
5 production built by Saunders-Roe (built ten production models, including the five YROE-1s)[9]


Data from Smithsonian[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Length: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 18 ft 6 in (5.64 m)
  • Height: 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m)
  • Empty weight: 309 lb (140 kg)
  • Useful load: 270 lb (122 kg)[3] ()
  • Loaded weight: 562 lb (255 kg)
  • *Fuel: 9.1 L (2.4 U.S. gal)
  • Powerplant: × Nelson H-59 piston engine, 40 hp[3] (30 kW), later Nelson YO-65-2 four-cylinder, two-cycle engine, 43 hp (32 kW) each



See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ a b c NASM: Hiller YROE-1 Rotorcycle
  2. ^ a b c d Hiller Museum: Rotocycle
  3. ^ a b c Apostolo, p. 68
  5. ^ "Helicopters of the World: USA", Flight: 693, 15 May 1959 
  6. ^ "Rotorcycle on View Here", The Washington Post and Times Herald, Washington, D.C., Tuesday 1 April 1958, Volume 81, Number 117, page A8.
  7. ^ "From All Quarters" (PDF), Flight: 610, 11 May 1961 
  8. ^ "VTOL International Survey", Flight: 638, 11 May 1961 
  9. ^ a b c NASM: YROE Long Description -- YROE-1 curatorial file, Aeronautics Division, National Air and Space Museum
  10. ^ "Helicopters of the world", Flight: 728, 27 May 1960 
  11. ^ AirportData: N4230U
  12. ^ AirportData: N777MV
  13. ^ SkyControl: YROE-1
  14. ^ HILLER XROE-1
  • Apostolo, Giorgio. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters. New York: Bonanza Books. 1984. ISBN 978-0-517-43935-7.

External links[edit]