An Ingenious Blend of Airplane and Helicopter
November 11, 2009 1:28 PM Subscribe
What does an aircraft company do when military contracts dry up? Fairey’s answer was to reinvent the helicopter and revolutionize the short-haul airline industry. After 15 years of effort, its unique project, the Rotodyne, came within an inch of achieving that goal. The Fairey Rotodyne, which first took to the air more than 50 years ago, was billed as the world's first vertical take-off commercial passenger aircraft. Fairey talked up expressions of interest from BEA in the UK, New York Airways and the US Army, but the crucial launch order never came. British government policy to rationalize the industry saw the end of the Rotodyne and Fairey as an airframe maker in 1962.
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