Hughes Aircraft Co / Hughes Helicopters
Hughes Aircraft Co
Hughes Helicopters


Hughes Aircraft Co was founded in 1935 by businessman/film magnate Howard Hughes to produce the Hughes H-1 racing aeroplane, in which Hughes established a world landplane speed record of 352.46mph (567.23kmh). The Hughes XF-11 experimental twin-engined, twin-boom photo-reconnaissance aircraft, which had contrarotating propellers, crashed on its maiden flight, seriously injuring Hughes. He then sponsored the massive Hughes H-4 Hercules. Made entirely of wood, this eight-engined flying-boat had the greatest wingspan (320 ft; 97.54 m) of any aircraft built to date. It made its one and only flight on November 2,1947 with Howard Hughes at the controls.

Between 1949-1952 the Hughes Aircraft Company built and tested the XH-1 heavylift helicopter, designed as a "flying crane" for the USAF.

Hughes owned Kellett designs.

Known formerly as the Hughes Tool Company, became a Division of the Summa Corporation in the early 1970s. Hughes first two-seat light helicopter, the Model 269, first flew in 1955. It continued in production, though muchmodified, as the Hughes 300. Production of the 0H-6A Cayuse turbine helicopter for the U.S. Army and other military forces led to the commercial Model 500 one/sevenseat light helicopter, with military variants in the Defender series. Hughes won the U.S. Army's competition for an Advanced Attack Helicopter (AAH) with its Model 77, a twin-turbine design which first flew in September 1975, and which received the Army designation YAH-64 Apache. Also developed the unique NOTAR (no tail rotor) anti-torque system, initially tested on a converted 0H-6A in December 1981. Company taken over by McDonnell Douglas January 1984.

Hughes Helicopters became McDonnell Douglas Helicopters in January 1986.