Author Topic: The Factory Prototypes, HC-1, H-3, H-390, H-391 & H-391A part 1  (Read 8498 times)

Doug Johnson

The Factory Prototypes, HC-1, H-3, H-390, H-391 & H-391A part 1
« on: January 01, 2015, 02:04:14 PM »
There are 529 Helios that do have construction number/serial numbers, so I will start posting with protoype #1
and work toward 529.

I will also post what pictures I have.If you have higher quality pics of the same pic please post them.
If you want help posting a pic I am perfectly willing to post it for you. send me an e-mail or personal message
and I will give you my e-mail address. If you would like credit for the picture let me know.

see this post also      http://flyhelio.com/smf/index.php?topic=1315.0

after looking at this post check out the 2nd part      http://flyhelio.com/smf/index.php?topic=1297.msg5127#msg5127

There were 3 FAA cards found with N numbers for  Factory Prototypes,
1st the single proof of concept, HC-1 two-place "Helioplane",
2nd the pre-production H-3 four-place"Helioplane", converted to proof of concept H-390 "Helio Courier", renamed H-391 "Helio Courier",
3rd the pre-production prototype H-391A, converted to Army YL-24A.
               
N9390H serial/construction no. 1, registry mark  built 03/49, only HC-1 two-place "Helioplane" constructed at Factory Canton, MA

1st Helio, Model HC-1 ''Helioplane'', a two place proof of concept prototype, registry assigned N9390H a highly modified Piper PA-17 Vagabond with 85hp
Continental (C85-12J) with belt reduction drive and 108'' Aeromatic prop, an experimental airworthiness certificate with no restriction was issued 06/50, after some
experimentation and modifications, a change from full span flaperons, and split tail  to 3/4 span flaps and wide chord Friese ailerons, authorization to build up to 12
more under X category for demo purposes given, permanently retired from service dereg 10/55,  preserved at Smithsonian NAS Museum

Short part below written by David Keith MA owner N295DK which he named “Shady Lady” now owned by Robert Martell

David started to write a two part article for Atlantic flyer but never finished it (David do you have the 2nd part stashed away needing to be published?)

As a starting point, the two professors and a third investor each put up $6,000, ($56,000 in todays dollars) and purchased the fuselage, wing panels and horizontal tail
surfaces of a Piper Vagabond. They engaged Wiggins Airways of Norwood, Massachusetts to modify the airframe to their specifications, the work being done at the old
Norwood Airport in Canton. The fuselage was lengthened by four feet, the landing gear was made taller and was placed farther forward to insure prop clearance, and
the vertical tail was increased in area and height. A salutary side-effect of the new gear position was that it allowed full braking at touchdown, without danger of the plane
flipping tail over nose. The rudder was split into top and bottom halves, with the bottom serving its conventional function, while the top acted as a giant trim tab,
interconnected with the full-span, slotted flaperons, to counteract adverse aileron yaw. A mechanical “brain” increased the deflection of the upper rudder in direct
proportion to flap deflection. Leading-edge slats were fitted to smooth out airflow over the wings’ top surface at high angles of attack, almost doubling the amount of lift
available. Amazingly, according to Dr. Koppen in an interview, these slats provided 64 percent of the total lift.

According to Dr. Koppen’s calculations derived from wind-tunnel tests, the Helioplane should have left the ground in 100 feet. Actual flight tests showed that 125 feet was
required for the ground roll. This was the source of much speculation amongst the staff at M.I.T., until one of the engineers theorized that the coefficient of lift measured
in the wind-tunnel derived from steady-state conditions, whereas in reality, the airplane would accelerate quickly through its liftoff speed, and the circulation around the
wing lagged somewhat behind. By the time it “caught up” to the point where enough lift was being created to allow the craft to leave the ground, another 25 feet would
have been covered. Understandably, the team found the extra few feet quite acceptable, and moved on. Power was supplied by a four-cylinder Continental engine of 85
 horsepower, swinging a wide-chord, nine-foot Aeromatic propeller via a V-belt reduction drive. This combination adhered to Dr. Koppen’s formula for ideal STOL 
performance, which involved squaring the propeller diameter in inches (81) and dividing the result by the horsepower (85); the resulting number should be close to unity. 
At that time, the Aeromatic came the closest to constant-speed performance as was available for light planes in those days. By balancing aerodynamic forces against springs 
and counterweights, it provided low pitch at takeoff and high pitch at cruise.

In spite of the lengthened landing gear, the ideal ground clearance for the prop, at least nine inches, was not achieved. In fact, it was a negative 1.5 inches! The C.A.A. 
pounced on this, and sent no less than four test pilots to Canton, with the stated intent of making the prop strike the ground. Try as they would, they were not able to do so. 
With the application of full throttle, the plane would rise up on its twelve-inch-travel oleos, and would be off the ground before they could even think about raising the tail. In 
fact, the tailwheel was always the last to depart. Likewise, touchdowns always occurred in either the three-point attitude, or tailwheel-first. Finally, the C.A.A. threw in the 
towel, and accepted the design, as-is. Jack Phillipps, who is still very active after a career as head of sales for Wiggins, during which he sold over 1,000 Piper aircraft for them, 
was the first test pilot on the Helio project. The above-described “proof of concept” aircraft, as the C.A.A. called it, was actually named the Helioplane. It now hangs in the 
Smithsonian, a tribute to this pioneering effort.







Article popular science Oct 1949


   
« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 06:16:49 PM by Doug Johnson »
Doug

Doug Johnson

Re: The Factory Prototypes, proof of concept HC-1
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2015, 02:12:39 PM »



« Last Edit: January 01, 2015, 02:20:25 PM by Doug Johnson »
Doug

Au Miner

Re: The Factory Prototypes, proof of concept HC-1
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2015, 06:36:13 PM »
Doug,
Great start!  It took me a second to figure out why 529 posts.  I am looking forward to learning more of the individual histories, in addition to the ones you and others have already shared
I am especially interested to learn about the Helios operated by Wright Air Service in Fairbanks, and by Jim Isabell with Teller Air Service out of Teller, AK back in the 1970's.
Happy New Year.

Bill

Louis

Re: The Factory Prototypes, proof of concept HC-1
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2015, 06:39:48 PM »
Thanks !!

So informative, as usual

Happy new year

Louis


Doug Johnson

Re: The Factory Prototypes, proof of concept H-3
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2015, 05:59:59 AM »
I see a couple people like the idea.

serial/construction no. 1, registry mark N74151, built 11/50 Canton, MA, only H-3 a Four-Place HelioPlane,

2nd Helio prototype, Model H-3 ''Helioplane-Four'' (Executive 4 place) proof of concept
prototype, with 145 hp Continental Engine (C-145-4) with belt reduction drive and 108'' Aeromatic prop (a plan for Aeronca to build 100 H-3s was dropped shortly after the
Korean war began in 06/50) there was a period of gradual conversion and an ongoing process of modifications and testing including adding interceptors (similar to spoilers)
increasing tail size and cowling modification for conversion to larger 240hp geared Lycoming eng and Hartzell 101'' prop.

converted to only Model H-390 ''Helio Courier'' c/n no. 1 with 240hp geared Lycoming eng (GO-435-C2) with (Marvell MA-4-5 carburetor) and Hartzell 101'' prop, a 95hp increase,

renamed as Model H-391 ''Helio Courier'' c/n no. 1 only

it was planned to take the Helio to Fleet mfg in Canada for demonstration a ferry permit was issued and while returning,
accident crash 1 fatality while en-route in marginal VFR from Benington VT to Norwood MA pilot encountered severe snow squall
with marginal VFR and turbulent winds up to 70 mph crashed about 200 yds from Assabet river @ West Concorde MA 01/54
, dereg as destroyed 02/54

 




The photo below is N74151 after conversion to H-390


photo below is actually the "Helio four" and not the new model H-390 Helio Courier

« Last Edit: August 05, 2016, 11:02:01 AM by Doug Johnson »
Doug

Doug Johnson

Re: The Factory Prototypes, proof of concept H-3
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2015, 06:09:36 AM »
next
« Last Edit: January 02, 2015, 06:34:04 AM by Doug Johnson »
Doug

RCarter

Re: The Factory Prototypes, proof of concept HC-1
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2015, 12:16:32 PM »
This is and will continue to be a pretty fun series of posts.  Thank you for doing this Doug.  Looking at the pictures of the H-3 and HC-1 nose sections the belt drive really stands out.  I can't think of too many other aircraft (none certified that I know of) that use a belt drive.  Is there any information on reliability of the system or what estimated TBO would have been for it?  Or even how high a horse power the system was capable of accepting?

Thanks

-R

Doug Johnson

Re: The Factory Prototypes, proof of concept H-3
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2015, 12:53:32 PM »
The Helio H-3 was a 145 hp continental. Lot of engines use a serpentine belt to drive about everything on the
engine after so many miles you have to change the belt or risk catastrophic failure. Belt technology has come a long
way the price of belts is right up there also my 4 wheel utility vehicle uses a belt pretty much trouble free. The new belts
even with a big chunk out of them will stay together under reduced power usually long enough to get you to the tool box.

I believe the thought behind multiple v belts is redundancy. I flew an ultralight with multiple small V-belts Never
had a problem. I went to the Rotax engine with a gear drive and had numerous problems. with the belts you can
check them daily with a little push to measure deflection for tightness. Hard to check gears daily for wear.

I would have no problem flying an airplane with belt drive engine speed reduction.

Doug 
« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 06:01:10 PM by Doug Johnson »
Doug

Doug Johnson

Re: The Factory Prototypes, Preproduction H-391
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2015, 05:49:40 AM »
Incomplete model H-3 used in construction N92859 serial/construction no. 1, registry mark built 02/53 Canton MA, as only Model H-391A ''Helio Courier'' (3rd prototype), a pre-production model H-391A, with tube/fabric tail-cone, and 260 hp Lycoming Engine (GO-435-C2) eng with (Bendix PS-5 pressure carburetor) and Hartzell 101" prop, there was a short period of modifications and testing,
then converted to a US Army YL-24A prototype reg canceled 08/53 when sold to Army as s/n 52-2540. Plans to build 2 more H-391As
were not completed and reportedly dropped probably due to lack of funds and interest by Army. At least 1 incomplete H-3
was still at Canton MA during flood 04/55 fate ?

converted (repainted) 08/53 to only Army YL-24 serial no. 52-2540

tail number ''22540'', built as Model H-391A s/n-c/n 1 260hp Lycoming eng and Hartzell 101" prop then sold to the
US Army, as an off the shelf purchase, the Army redesignated it YL-24A (Y indicates prototype) and gave it s/n 52-2540, it was also
considered the basic configuration for the new all metal covered H-391B, the aircraft is listed by US Army as being preserved at Ft Rucker AL
Army Aviation Museum, but not there in 06/97, fate ?


Edit: I just noticed something puzzeling this photo was takem aprox 04/55 when the Canton MA Factory was flooded. Somehow the dates
don't quite fit right. By 04/55 six all metal H-391Bs had been constructed, the Factory had just built the first Helio in Pittsburg KS
This airplane must be an incomplete H-391A one of two that were reportedly dropped. By 8/53 N92859 had ben sold to the Army. I'm pretty sure
"22540" wasn't returned to Canton MA. Frank Rowes Book lists three H-391 prototypes but I have never been able to locate N numbers only one N92859.





If any one has a picture of N92859 or 52-2540 It would really be appreciated if you would share ithem. as these seem to be the only two photos of this plane
« Last Edit: August 05, 2016, 10:50:17 AM by Doug Johnson »
Doug

Louis

Re: The Factory Prototypes, HC-1, H-3, & H-391
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2015, 08:42:03 AM »
I like the big access panel to the tailwheel area.

Louis


Au Miner

Re: The Factory Prototypes, proof of concept HC-1
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2015, 10:51:12 PM »
This is and will continue to be a pretty fun series of posts.  Thank you for doing this Doug.  Looking at the pictures of the H-3 and HC-1 nose sections the belt drive really stands out.  I can't think of too many other aircraft (none certified that I know of) that use a belt drive.  Is there any information on reliability of the system or what estimated TBO would have been for it?  Or even how high a horse power the system was capable of accepting?

Thanks

-R
I totally agree, a lot of fun.  Mr. Carter, you are correct in saying that belt reduction is not commonplace, as we think about it, but it is very common in the helicopter world.  That is the drive mechanism that Robinson uses.  I don't know about others.
Actually, it makes a lot of sense, as i see it, as a a catastrophic failure of the (several) belts would simply leave the prop windmilling.  A more likely scenario would be a blown nose seal, which would still drive the prop, however, as the belts would be lubed, they would slip a bit...
Bill

Doug Johnson

Re: The Factory Prototypes, HC-1, H-3, & H-391
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2015, 07:35:38 AM »
added photo that Gordon purchased

early picture of the H-3 HelioFour before spinner was put on Aeromatic  prop
« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 04:35:40 PM by Doug Johnson »
Doug

Doug Johnson

Re: The Factory Prototypes, HC-1, H-3, H-390 & H-391 part 1
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2016, 08:46:46 AM »
I found article on Helioplane popular science Oct 49

Some interesting explanations of different features of the Helioplane

I will open it up above in the Helioplane part

I re-sized the pics in this post also added this article to part 2 http://flyhelio.com/smf/index.php?topic=1297.msg5127#msg5127

this is Another post which has became to large and takes forever to load, probably the last post in this topic
« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 06:24:38 PM by Doug Johnson »
Doug

Doug Johnson 1

Re: The Factory Prototypes, HC-1, H-3, H-390, H-391 & H-391A part 1
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2017, 11:17:43 AM »
Another photo of N74151 as H-390 that I found in my files that doesn't appear to have been posted

« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 11:24:04 AM by Doug Johnson 1 »

Doug Johnson 1

Re: The Factory Prototypes, HC-1, H-3, H-390, H-391 & H-391A part 1
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2019, 07:58:59 AM »
I found a couple pictures of the HC-1 Helioplane that you may find interesting,

they belong at the top of the page

Link to part 2 http://flyhelio.com/smf/index.php?topic=1297.msg5127#msg5127




« Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 08:07:30 AM by Doug Johnson 1 »