The incredible story of the QH-50 DASH the first unmanned helicopter turns 50

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The development and deployment process of the QH-50 DASH over several years is presented. Peter J. Papadakos, the founder of the QH-50, consolidated Bendix assets and leased a hangar in Massapequa, New York and converted the 5-seat Model J into the Gyrodyne GCA-2B compound helicopter. The non-compound Model 2C was developed, and, eventually, a miniaturized version, Rotorcycle, was also developed. The turbine-powered QH-50 allowed the Navy to extend the guarded perimeter of its ships from the growing fleet of Soviet fast-attack submarines, which numbered over 300 by the mid-1950. The QH-50 'Snoopy' was loaded with real-time television cameras, transmitters and transponders. The configuration made it useful for replacing Marine recon and spotter teams that were normally sent ashore. The US Army used the QH-50 extensively in Stinger and Sergeant York testing with evaluation and the US Army took control of the remaining assets and flew them in tests until May 2006.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-39
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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