In September 1946, Bendix Helicopter sent an unsolicited proposal to the US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics for its Model J four place helicopter. The company was organized in 1943 as Helicopters, Inc., and in 1944 this was changed to Bendix Helicopter, Inc. The parent company was Bendix Corporation, founded by prolific inventor and industrialist Vincent H. Bendix in 1907. The operations of Bendix Helicopter, including factory, engineering and flight test, were located at Stratford, Connecticut. The company made extensive use of subcontractors in producing its helicopter designs.
The company first flew its single place helicopter in June 1945. After various trials and many changes, Bendix arrived at a counter-rotation configuration that had flown successfully on the single place machine. In February, 1946, designs had sufficiently crystallized to permit a definite program for six helicopters known as the Model J, the first of which was well along at the time of writing, with an approximate flying date of September 15, 1946.
In the meantime, Bendix was conducting extensive flight tests with a 100 hp single place helicopter. The company claimed that it had progressed sufficiently with experimental work and service test production to undertake development and production of counter rotation helicopters for the government.
Bendix asserted that the co-axial, counter-rotating type of helicopter offered decided advantages over other type helicopters. Many of these advantages were particularly applicable to naval aircraft. Up till that time, Bendix Helicopter had built two successful rotor systems which could be adapted to the basic co-axial counter-rotating type helicopter. The first of these was a rigid rotor system in which the helicopter was tilted for control through the cyclic operation of the blade tips. A second rotor system in which the blades were not rigid and the entire blade was cyclically operated for control had also proved successful. In this second system, the cantilever rotor blades were rigidly interconnected and had a single hinge axis for two diametrically opposed blades. The second of these systems had been adopted for the four place helicopter and the proposal referred in particular to this rotor system. However, the design analysis in general was also applicable to the rigid rotor system.
To view the Bendix proposal in depth, please click through the image gallery above, which features several rare, high resolution images of the Model J under construction.
The Navy appears to have been unimpressed with the Bendix proposal and issued no contract to the company. This is not surprising, as the Model J was a civilian design designed to no particular military requirement. Due to poor sales and lack of capital, Bendix helicopter went out of business in September 1949. Its assets were auctioned off for $4,100 to Gyrodyne, lnc., which continued development of the Model J as the GCA Model 2.
All images from NARA Archives II, College Park, MD, RG 18 & RG 72
“Bendix Four Place Helicopter,” September 25, 1946, in the files of the National Archives II at College Park, MD, RG 72