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Firestone XR-9

Hood

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The Firestone Aircraft Company, a subsidary of the tyre firm of the same name, took over the rights to some Pitcairn Autgyro Company designs. Firestone then developed the Model 45 which became the XR-9 two-seat helicopter.
The Model 45B was designed to use a 126hp XO-290-5 piston engine, the two crew sat in tandem and a three-blade rotor was used. It was never built.
The Model 45C (XR-9A) was a further development with a two-blade rotor but it was never built either.
The prototype was the XR-9B used a production 135hp Lycoming O-290-5 and a civil version (Model 45D) had side-by-side seating but all development ceased in 1947.
 

Stargazer2006

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Thanks. Have you got a source for this? What you describe as a "GA-45A" I always had as the "GA-45B".
 

Stargazer2006

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Okay, found. R.Simpson "Airlife's Helicopter and Rotorcraft", 1998.

However, there exist many variations on the story, and to add to the confusion, the preserved aircraft at Fort Rucker seems to be the civilian prototype repainted (check the length of the fuselage on attached photos). Also please note that the first two pics, which seem to be one and the same, present a different tail.

So you see, we know that there were XR-9, XR-9A and XR-9B designations... we know there were GA-45A to GA-45D designations... but how these match each other is anyone's guess unless we can find some conclusive proof. What is for certain is that two aircraft only were built, the military 46-001 ("6001") with the long cockpit, and the civilian NX58457 with the short cockpit. Please note that both had three-blade rotors.
 

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Stargazer2006

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The example preserved at Fort Rucker, which is believed to be the civilian prototype (short cockpit, dual controls) repainted as the XR-9B.
 

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Stargazer2006

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Thanks for the info, I'd love to see that picture!

Meanwhile, I've continued to research the GA-45 and XR-9 and found that it is indeed a complicated subject! The civilian demonstrator seen above is described everywhere in period captions as a side-by-side two-seater, so I guess that's what it was, but it sure doesn't show!!

As for the XR-9/XR-9A/XR-9B confusion, here is what I think is the authoritative source, an article from Vertiflite published in 1996.

"Shortly after the cancellation of the XO-61 program in late '43, Firestone management asked Harold Pitcairn two questions: "Why not a helicopter?" and "Could Pitcairn and his small engineering team work the G. & A. manufacturing operation to create a helicopter?" Pitcairn answered yes to both questions and proposal work began on what was to become the XR-9. Army approval was obtained and the XR-9 made its first flight in 1944. With its 'floating hub' it offered an extremely smooth and vibration-free flight with no feedback on the controls.
After less than a month the XR-9 was converted to a 2-place aircraft — the XR-9B. Colonel Frank Gregory was invited to pilot the aircraft and he flew a beautiful trial flight. Later that month another Wright Field officer arrived to evaluate the aircraft's flight characteristics. Unfamiliar with the aircraft's sensitivity, he promptly nosed it over destroying the blades, transmission and engine. But the Army Air Force did buy a four-place follow-on, the XR-14, which featured twin tail rotors, one on each end of its stabilizer. Firestone's Post-War Civil Helicopters As World War II was drawing to a close, the US helicopter manufacturers were looking at the civil market. Firestone built the GA-45, two-place variant of the XR-9B. The fuselage was widened for two places side-by-side thus reducing the nose length back to the original XR-9 single-place."
Source: Vertiflite, Volumes 42 à 43 (1996)

As you can see, the derelict state of the XR-9B is understandable given that it was damaged and never repaired since an order for the better XR-14 had been placed (winning over the Bell Model 54, the latter being nonetheless procured in three examples as the XH-15 while the winner was never built).

I'm also attaching an article by Leo Kuhn from the World War II Journal, which may not be as accurate on the versions, but provides some very interesting info on the program.

As for the twin-tail-rotor GA-50 (XR-14), the only picture I could find was an advertisement for the civilian version, also attached below.
 

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walter

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Stéphane, thanks for your detailed research.
Could it be (some 'guesswork' included) that chronology can have been:
XR-9 (GA-45) first aircraft, single-seater, Lycoming O-290-7 engine, 26ft main rotor
XR-9A (GA-45B): unbuilt version of the XR-9 with XO-290-5 engine
XR-9B (GA-45D): The XR-9 after modification as tandem 2-seater with lengthened nose.
GA-45D: Second aircraft, civil, side-by-side sating, shorter nose, less glass area, 175hp Franklin 6V4 engine (and 30ft rotor?)
Regards, Walter
 

Stargazer2006

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walter said:
Stéphane, thanks for your detailed research.
Could it be (some 'guesswork' included) that chronology can have been:
XR-9 (GA-45) first aircraft, single-seater, Lycoming O-290-7 engine, 26ft main rotor
XR-9A (GA-45B): unbuilt version of the XR-9 with XO-290-5 engine
XR-9B (GA-45D): The XR-9 after modification as tandem 2-seater with lengthened nose.
GA-45D: Second aircraft, civil, side-by-side sating, shorter nose, less glass area, 175hp Franklin 6V4 engine (and 30ft rotor?)
Regards, Walter
No, definitely not.

What we know for sure from all the research I've been doing (and the numerous period articles I went through and am still searching for) is the following:

- XR-9-GA (first prototype, 46-1 "6001", single-seater with original short cockpit) (often seen as GA-45B).
- XR-9A-GA (unbuilt variant with two-blade rotor) (sometimes seen as GA-45C).
- XR-9B-GA (first prototype, 46-1 "6001", modified as tandem two-seater with extended cockpit) (sometimes seen as GA-45C).
Still existed in derelict state in Frank Piasecki's junkyard as of 2006.
- GA-45D: civilian prototype (NX58457) with side-by-side seating and dual controls, simply refered to as plain "GA-45" in many sources.
Repainted in Army colors to pass off as an "XR-9" at the Fort Rucker U.S. Army Museum.
- XR-14: four-seater derivative with twin tail-rotors (three ordered as 46-527/529 then cancelled) (probably GA-50).
- GA-50: commercial version of XR-14 (not built).

In all my research so far I have not seen conclusive evidence of a "GA-45A". Perhaps it was a paper project only.
 

jmnjohn

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I HAVE A MONTHLY PROGRESS REPORT ON THE G&A XR-9 W/9 PHOTOS 8X10..... I AM GOING TO SELL IT SOON ......THX JOHN ..
 

fightingirish

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Picture in colour.
Link: http://airandspace.si.edu/collections/artifact.cfm?object=siris_arc_365767
Low three-fourth right front view of the U.S. Army Air Force Firestone XR-9B (s/n 46-001) in low flight, Fred W. Soule is at the controls


photographer
Arnold, Rudy 1902-1966
Data Source
National Air and Space Museum Archives
See more items in
Rudy Arnold Photo Collection
Local number
NASM-XRA-0564
Type
Photographs
Topic
Aeronautics
Helicopters
ID: NASM-XRA-0564
 

hesham

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Nice find my dear Rolf,


and we can put it here.
 

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hesham

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Hi,

the GA-50 was never completed;

https://books.google.com./books?id=R7GjzzNMpu4C&pg=PA74&lpg=PA74&dq=Laister-Kauffmann+XCG-10&source=bl&ots=0fcdJSR4fe&sig=mvmwlHFE4_weR8y3dinB07QXY5k&hl=ar&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Laister-Kauffmann%20XCG-10&f=false
 

Stargazer2006

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:( :mad:

Correct INTERNATIONAL link to the REAL page and WITHOUT your search words: https://books.google.fr/books?id=R7GjzzNMpu4C&pg=PA64
 
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