Rotor-craft RH-1 Pinwheel




Little more heard of Gilbert Magill until the mid-1950s, when the RH-1 Pinwheel 'strap-on' personal helicopter appeared in 1954. The Rotorcraft RH-1 Pinwheel one-man helicopter was designed in 1954 to provide military personnel with a simple go-anywhere vehicle. Basically a strap-on device, it relied upon liquid propellants to power a tipjet at the end of each rotor blade, there thus being no rotor torque effect. The Pinwheel had a 'quadripod' frame layout, with the pilot sitting in the centre of the structure with a pair of liquid nitrogen tanks positioned behind him to feed Reaction Motors XLR-32RM rocket motors mounted at the rotor tips. A belt-driven rail rotor was incorporated in the simple and limited structure to provide steering capability.




Designed and built under US Navy contract, the RH-1 was extensively tested and made public demonstrations in 1955, leading to development of a similar Sky Hook military version. The capability of the Pinwheel can be measured by a maximum speed of 161km/h and ceiling of 4570m.




RH-1 Pinwheell
Engines: 2 x Reaction Motors XLR-32RM rocket
Rotors: 2-blade tip-powered main; 1-blade tail.
Empty weight: 100 lb
Cruising speed: 96km/h
Endurance: 9 min
Seats: 1