July 2014

2014 JulyCessna CH-1 Skyhook / YH-41 Seneca

The Cessna CH-1 was the only helicopter built by the Cessna Aircraft Company. The CH-1 had a single, two-bladed main rotor, and a front-mounted reciprocating engine. The aircraft incorporated a unique L-section hinges to attach the main rotor blades to the hub in place of more conventional pitch change bearings. Its semi-monocoque airframe resembled typical fixed-wing aircraft as built by Cessna.

The prototype CH-1 made its first flight in 1954. The prototype CH-1 was originally equipped with a supercharged Continental FSO-470 six-cylinder engine, producing 260 hp at 3,200 rpm. Stability problems at higher gross weights required addition of a free-floating horizontal stabilizer. Reworking the stabilizer permitted the addition of a second row of seating, and the four-place ship, designated the CH-1A was certificated on 28 February 1956. In spring 1956, the Army awarded Cessna with a contract for 10 test aircraft, designated as the YH-41 Seneca.

On 15 September 1955 the CH-1A was the first helicopter to land on Pikes Peak, at an altitude of 14,110 feet. A CH-1B, modified with an FSO-526-2X engine, set an official FAI world altitude record for helicopters of 29,777 feet on December 28, 1957. The CH-1C was the first helicopter to receive IFR certification by the FAA. Production ended in December 1962. While the CH-1 achieved several helicopter "firsts" and set a world record, it never became a commercial or military success. Approximately 50 machines were built before Cessna ended their venture into helicopters.

Go back to the photo for last month or check out the photo for next month

2014 History Calendar Index