Marines and helicopters, 1946-1962

Posted By: lout
Marines and helicopters, 1946-1962

Marines and helicopters, 1946-1962 By Eugene W Rawlins
Publisher: History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps 1976 | 113 Pages | ISBN: n/a | PDF | 4 MB

The commissioning of Marine Helicopter Squadron 1 (HMX-1) in 1947 at Quantico, Vir­ginia, is often cited as the official beginning of rotary-winged aviation within the Marine Corps. Interest by the Marine Corps in the capabilities and potentialities of rotary-winged machines, how­ever, dates back some 15 years prior to the com­missioning of HMX-1. It was in the early 1930s that the Marine Corps evaluated the Pitcairn OP-1 autogyro to determine its potential military value. Field tested in Nicaragua during 1932, the four-bladed, stubby-winged aircraft was found suit­able only for liaison purposes and medical evacua­tion of the lightly wounded. Considered by those in Nicaragua as unsafe to fly when carrying loads in excess of 200 pounds, the OP-1 soon dis­appeared from active Marine Corps inventory. Three years later the Marine Corps tested another autogyro, the Kellett OP-2, a wingless version similar to the OP-1, and found it to be equally unsatisfactory due to its small payload capability. The epitaph of the autogyro as a useful Marine Corps rotor-winged aircraft was written in 1936 by Lieutenant Colonel Roy S. Geiger, an early pioneer in Marine aviation who had served as a pilot in World War I and in the ground forces in Nicaragua, the Philippines and China.


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