Bendix Helicopter

Bendix Helicopters occupied a building on East Main Street in Stratford, Connecticut, USA from 1945 to 1949. A part of the town's history that is unknown to most of the area's population.

Vincent Bendix became famous in automotive fields for inventing an automobile starter motor drive and after that, the four wheel automotive brake system. From there he went to manufacturing aircraft instruments and by 1936, he had become very rich and was sponsoring air races and competitions. Originated in 1931,the Bendix Trophy became a highly honored award for aviation excellence. Jimmie Doolittle won the first Bendix race and trophy for his transcontinental flight from California to the Cleveland Air Races at a speed of 223 miles per hour. Other winners for the cross-country flight were such famous aviation figures as Louise Thaden and Jacqueline Cochran.

Bendix Model K Bendix Model K

After Mr. Bendix's retirement, the Bendix Corporation founded the Bendix Aviation Division in 1944. This small organization in Detroit developed several aircraft, including a 2 place all metal light plane and an amphibian. For a variety of reasons, none of these aircraft obtained certification by the government or went into production

Helicopters, mc, was founded in 1943, encouraged by the growing success of helicopters manufactured by Sikorsky. The name was changed to Bendix Helicopter, Inc. in 1944. After Mr. Bendix died in March, 1945, the company was reorganized and moved the operations to Stratford, where a labor force with aircraft, especially helicopter, experience was more available now that the war had ended

Initially occupying a small building just north of the railroad, they subsequently built a 10,000 square foot factory for helicopter production. The first Bendix helicopter design proposed was the two place Model G. It was to have a coaxial main rotor system, eliminating the need for a tail rotor, and be powered by a single 165 horsepower engine. While this proposed design was never built, the Model K (NX41817) was their demonstrator/prototype that first flew in 1946. This 2,000 pound gross weight helicopter with a 25 foot coaxial rotor system was powered by a single 100 horsepower engine.

Their test pilot was Les Morris who had helped pioneer the Sikorsky helicopters as an early test pilot. The next year a larger Model L with four seats was constructed. By early 1948 100 hours of flight testing had been accumulated on the Model J.

Due to lack of sales and capital, in January 1947 the large factory building was sold to Manning, Maxwell and Moore, who were 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 Gyrodyne, lnc, St. James, Long Island, New York. Gyrodyne continued development of the Helicopters, Inc, Model J as the G.C.A. Model 2.

Bendix Model J Bendix Model J

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