This Day in Norwood History- August 21

Norwood-Built Plane Widens Its Versatility

Auguest 21, 1956 – USES FLOATS OR WHEELS—Flying Flatfish VIII, a Courier equipped with wheels, is owned by Charles Helin of Helin Tackle Co., Detroit, who uses floats in Summer in Great Lakes area, and wheels in other seasons when business brings him to the Eastern seaboard.

By ARTHUR A. RILET

The Helio Courier, an aircraft with extraordinary characteristics, and the product of the minds of two Greater Boston men is now finding its way to many fields of use.

To a degree, the aircraft possesses some of the characteristics of a converti-plane. It is particularly adaptable for landing or takeoff from limited space areas without sacrificing the high-speed characteristics of modern aircraft.

Basically, the craft’s virtues consist of a system of lateral controls at slow speeds.

A purely mechanical system, the controls are said to be the simplest and easiest yet devised for such operation. The Helio is now powered by the smallest-geared engine on the market–the Lycoming 260.

Designed by Peof. Otto Koppen. head of the aeronautical design course at M. I. T. and assisted in its development by Prof. Lynn Bollinger, formerly of the Harvard School of Business Administration, the Courier is the only certificated “STOL’’ (slow take-off and landing), aircraft in America.

Born in Norwood

Bollinger said today that the concern is currently “pursuing military negotiations’’ and that the concern’s commercial scope was widening.

Although the versatile plane was “born” in Norwood, it is being produced in Pittsburg, Kan. The Norwood plant, however, is carrying on the development and research work for the aircraft and, in the event that large-scale production looms on the horizon, company officials are considering the possibility of production efforts in the Greater Boston area.

The landplane version of the Courier is being used by industrial firms for plant-side to plant-side operations and by private owners who fly from airstrips adjoining their own homes. The seaplane version cruises at approximately 140 miles per hour, and has a range of 700 miles.

Private owners have been attracted to the novel plane by its extraordinary safety factors. Its low-geared performance at unusually slow speeds insures complete control. The craft can take off or land on a 225-foot strip.

Although productive work started but a year ago, the Courier has found its way to many foreign countries—mainly the republics of South America where it is utilized in reaching virtually impenetrable points in jungle and mountainous areas.

More recent developments, according to Bollinger, have been the increase in speed to 10 miles an hour faster than the original version. the use of floats which makes possible access and egress at smaller water areas formerly impractical for seaplanes. A skiwheel combination type of landing gear also has been developed.

The University of Wichita is soon to report on an evaluation study of the Courier in the interest of the military.

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