June 2018

2018 June

Helicopters, Inc./Bendix Helicopter, Inc.
Bendix Model K

First flight: June 1945

In 1943, Vincent Bendix established Bendix Helicopters. Bendix built a 10,000 square foot (930 square meter) factory for helicopter production on East Main Street in Stratford, Connecticut in 1945. The famous test pilot Charles (Les) Morris — the former test-pilot of Sikorsky Aircraft — worked for Bendix for a short period.

The Bendix Model K, registered as NX41817, was a single place 25 foot (7.6 m) diameter coaxial rotor helicopter having an enclosed tube and fabric fuselage, powered by a single 100 hp (75 kW) Continental C-100 engine. The Model K made its maiden flight in June 30, 1945.

In 1949, the Bendix designer, Martin Jensen, devised the Bendix Model J, a larger 4-place model with 48 foot (14.6 m) diameter coaxial rotors and powered by a 450 hp (335 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-985 piston engine. This aircraft was registered NX74101 was known as the Model J "Whirlaway".

Unfortunately, Bendix Helicopters eventually ceased operations in 1949 without achieving certification for either model helicopter. Due to lack of sales and capital, in January 1947 the large factory building was sold to Manning, Maxwell and Moore (taken over by Dresser Industries in 1964).

By September 1949, Bendix Helicopter was forced to close. In an auction, the assets of the company were sold for $4,100 to the Gyrodyne Company of America (GCA) on Long Island in New York. Gyrodyne subsequently continued development of several helicopter models, introducing Bendix Model J as the GCA Model 2.

Text: Pete Noell

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