Milestones


    To fully appreciate our past employees and the time they spent working for Gyrodyne, their contributions to this UAV system development, and to appreciate the Department of Defenses commitment to not risking American pilots' lives on missions too risky for a manned aircraft to execute, we submit the milestones that our company has achieved, since 1949:

1949 - GYRODYNE enters the coaxial helicopter field.

By 1951, after 2 years of experiment and research, Gyrodyne is approached by the Navy to demonstrate that the problems associated with the controversial Coaxial helicopter design have been solved. 1 year later, the Flight Report submitted to the Navy is accepted.

1954 - Gyrodyne is selected as one of the winners to provide ultra-light one-man helicopters to the U.S. Marine Corps.

1955 - First flight of what Gyrodyne calls "The Rotorcycle" occurs on November 23, 1955.

1956 to 1959 - As part of the Marine Corps. contract, Gyrodyne model XRON-1 accumulates 1200 flight hours (see above photo of USMC Marine Corps-Gyrodyne team; Gyrodyne President, Peter J. Papadakos is top row, far left)

April 1958 - The Department of the Navy authorizes Gyrodyne to make minimum modifications to an existing Rotorcycle to make it completely controllable from the ground by means of an off-the-shelf (OTS) avionics equipment in order to investigate its feasibility as a drone.

December 31, 1958 - Navy issues a contract to Gyrodyne to develop the DSN-1 (later designated QH-50A) Drone, based on the feasibility study.

1959 to Summer 1960 - DSN-1 Development program and testing at Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland begins. By Summer of 1960, the Safety-Pilot accommodations are removed.

August 12, 1960, the first free-flight of an unmanned helicopter in history occurs at Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland.

September 30, 1960 - First flight of Twin Porsche-engine powered, DSN-2 (later classified QH-50B) occurs. With only 3 built, the DSN-2 is used to effect a transition from the analog data link to the digital system planned for the operational vehicle. The DSN-2 is flown only in the man-carrying or piloted drone configuration.

December 7, 1960 - The First successful drone / UAV helicopter flight FROM SHIP at SEA is performed from the USS HAZELWOOD (DD-531). During subsequent Contractor Operations Evaluations Trials off Key West, Florida, 38 flights are made from HAZELWOOD with 22 simulated ASW Missions in 350 flight hours confirming the feasibility of the DASH Weapon System.

January 1961 - Navy approves of creating DSN-3 (later classified QH-50C) Drone by using available and proven Boeing T-50 Turbine Engine so heavy fuel can be used vs. aviation-gasoline-fueled Porsche engine.

June 1961 - With Gyrodyne Test Pilot Jim Ryan at the controls, the Optimized Rotorcycle (YRON) with a 72 HP Porsche Engine and 20' Rotor diameter WINS Honors at the Paris Air Show for its performance and maneuverability.

January 25, 1962 - First Flight of the pure drone QH-50C at NATC, Patuxent River, Maryland occurs.

July 18, 1962 - Successful completion of Demonstration Program of QH-50C Drone. By September 4, 1962 the successful completion of Initial Trials Phase of Board of Inspection and Survey Trials had also been accomplished at NATC, Patuxent River, Maryland. 

November 15, 1962 - Initial production delivery of QH-50C drones commences.

January 7, 1963 - The USS Buck (DD 761)(seen right), while operating off San Clemente Island, California, completed Ships Qualification Trials and became the first United States warship to receive operational drone helicopters, which were delivered by flying them from the Island out to the ship. To watch a film clip of a typical QH-50 ASW mission, CLICK HERE.

1961 to 1964 - Introduction to the U.S. Naval Fleet of the QH-50C Drone (seen left). 373 Aircraft were delivered during this time with over 8,000 flight hours accumulated. Aircraft flew with wooden rotor blades with low-level integrated circuit digital avionics. Aircraft used the Boeing T50-BO-6/8A Turboshaft engine yielding a military power of 300 BHP at 5950 RPM.

Nov. 1963 to 1971- Gyrodyne deploys 1st group of Technical Representatives (TechReps) to Yokosuka, Japan to support WESTPAC Navy DASH-equipped ships. Consisting of one Boeing, one Babcock and 3 Gyrodyne reps, the DASH team are first assigned to MOTU-7 and then to (Command Task Unit) CTU 70.8.1 be more proactive and resolve issues with DASH before they became a problem. When SNOOPY Recon QH-50 missions begin to occur in 1966, the C.O., LCDR N. Jackson, USN makes SNOOPY a priority to Yokosuka-based ships because of Techrep availability. By 1968, Techreps number 10.

April 9, 1965 - First Flight of QH-50D Drone; QH-50D incorporates all fixes and lessons learned from C-model, including all-weather wiring with modular architecture for ASW-20 automatic flight control system.

1965 to 1969 - Introduction to the U.S. Naval Fleet of the QH-50D Drone. 377 Aircraft delivered with a more modern Boeing T50-BO-12 engine, rated at 330 BHP. Tail section removed from the earlier C model and the rotor blades changed to an all fiber glass blade made at Gyrodyne. During this time over 12,000 flight hours are accumulated. To see a QH-50D fly a mission, CLICK HERE.

1965 - Under contract from the Navy, Gyrodyne develops the LAD/SLAD system for Landing Assist device for high sea states.

1966 to 1976 - Introduction to the Japanese Marine Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) of the QH-50C/D. See right. The U.S. Navy supplied the JMSDF 4 QH-50C/D aircraft. The Nissho-Iwai Trading Company procured an additional 14 QH-50D drones for the JMSDF DASH program. Deliveries commence in early 1967. While flying over 2000 flight hours during this period, they achieve the lowest operational losses of any deployed system; their mean time before losses (MTBL) was 500 hours.

1966 - Under Navy Contract, Gyrodyne develops a Blade de-icing program. 4 QH-50s get the complete de-ice, all weather capability but that is all. All future blades keep heater-mats but are not powered.

1966 - Under Navy Contract, Gyrodyne qualifies the Allison T63 Turbo shaft engine for use on the QH-50, designated QH-50E.

1967 -1971 - With Gyrodyne assistance, the Navy flies QH-50C's and then QH-50Ds from U.S. Naval Destroyers with real time video-capability over Vietnam under Navy project "SNOOPY". This is the first time, real-time-aerial surveillance and Naval Gun Fire Support Missions by a rotary wing drone / unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is achieved from ships, in the Tonkin Gulf.  QH-50s start getting shot down over Vietnam on these missions and is reflected in the herein MTBL loss rates. To see a SNOOPY RECON MISSION, CLICK HERE.

September 25, 1967 - Responding to a request by the Commander, U.S. Marine Corps-Vietnam for a "Quick reaction on DMZ Gun Problem", Naval Air Development Center (NADC)-Johnsville begins to modify 4-DASH QH-50 aircraft to use Low Light Level TV (LLLTV) for standoff reconnaissance capability.

September 28, 1967 - U.S. Air Force starts project BLOW LOW with ARPA monitoring and providing technical assistance on this quick-reaction-effort.  Equipped with remote sensors, the QH-50 BLOW LOW would have a weapon-system-capable of attacking gun positions within the DMZ in Vietnam.  BLOW LOW later evolves into a missile-attack-system for attack-on-ground targets called LARS (Laser Aided Rocket System).

January 1968 - NITE GAZELLE Program is started by ARPA and is an offshoot of BLOW LOW; The concept of operation is to hunt and kill high priority targets in Vietnam using NAVY QH-50 DASH helicopters equipped with accurate sensing systems and weapon delivery capability. NAVAIR acts as agent on behalf of the bailed-Navy QH-50s. U.S. ARMY Missile Command (MICOM) supports and monitors under Contract No. DAAH01-72-0982. Col. George H. Greenleaf acts as ARPA TTO technical monitor. Gross weight of the QH-50D goes from 2327 lbs to 2450 lbs with a fuel load as high as 806 lbs. ARPA uses a balloon-borne relay for long range command and control.

February 1968 - NITE PANTHER Program is started by ARPA in response to an urgent request from U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) for assistance in providing real-time battlefield reconnaissance QH-50s to the Marines in Khe Sahn. Early NITE GAZELLE work was applicable to this 30-day QRC (quick reaction change) program. LTC J.E. Mock, USAF, becomes Program Manager.  DASH Team for initial check out, flight test from ship and delivery to Da Nang is USS BLUE and in Vietnam, ARPA-Research and Development Field Unit - Vietnam (ARPA-RDFU-V) base of operations is Đng H.

February 8, 1968 - QH-50 DASH system reaches full operational status and routine fleet exercises have vehicle utilization up - operational LOSS RATE is 8 vehicles per month (Mean Time before Loss (MTBL) is 60 Hours). Original Navy concept-specification stated that a MTBL of 8 hrs was deemed acceptable.  Want to see HOW DASH was flown from ship, CLICK HERE for that Video.

March 1968 to 2 February 1972 - ARPA conducts system flight tests of ARPA NITE GAZELLE / NITE PANTHER at Nellis AFB and Indian Springs AFS, Nevada, by firing the guns, grenade-drop and missiles on simulated targets using "Angel's Peak" at Las Vegas A.F.S. as the long-range relay station.

May 20, 1968 - Donald F. Hornig, Special Assistant to the President of the United States for Science and Technology states to Dr. John Foster, Director, OSD DDR&E, that QRC NITE PANTHER is a success in Vietnam. NITE GAZELLE R&D effort accelerates.

August 1968 - a 4-vehicle, 1200-hr reliability test program is initiated. Upon completion, a MTI-radar equipped QH-50D Test vehicle crashes at Gyrodyne-New York plant facility. Investigation reveals the "purple-plague"; a intermetallic formation effecting commercial-type transistors - this requires the replacement with equivalent JAN-type transistors. Addition of ARPA-created, 38-parameter OP-TEL telemetry system improves total system reliability.  ALL ARPA aircraft are retrofitted. The U.S. Navy attempts to fund the repair of the electronic subsystem (purple-plague) and other issues found in a Reliability Program Report, but the Navy is unsuccessful.

December 1, 1968 to March 31, 1969 - ARPA begins test flights of QH-50D-Modified drones with long range fuel tanks at NATC-PAX RIVER to verify flight envelope. Regular 4-Hour flight times are achieved. 

December 13, 1968 - Gyrodyne demonstrates the third variant of its "BIG U" mount, built by Rockwell International. This mount bolts to the underside of the QH-50 and allows the mounting of mini-guns to missiles to sensors. Later, LARS missile tests score direct hits using Laser sensor on stationary tanks with the QH-50D at 6200 Ft at Nellis Test Range, Nevada.

April 1969 - For the Period starting Feb. 1962 to April 1969, the Mean Time before Loss (MTBL) rate for Atlantic Fleet is 250 Hrs, Pacific Fleet is 176 hrs and Gyrodyne Development/Production is 235 Hrs.

August 29, 1969 - Gyrodyne Manufactures its very last helicopter (shown right); QH-50D, Bu. No. DS-1758 after the U.S. Navy ends DASH procurement. While DS-1758 is deployed to a NAVY tender, it doesn't stay there long and goes to AMARC for storage. DS-1758 is later transferred to NAWC China Lake and is lost in 1990 during a maximum gross weight test carrying radar equipment during a weapons test.

April 1969-1972 - The Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) begins telemetry modification program of QH-50s citing the vehicle's "configuration is well suited for ARPA-ASO needs" with Gyrodyne assistance, QH-50s fly urgent missions over Vietnam involving real-time data acquisition to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Original objectives and modifications included the installation of Day and Night TV with real-time data link, Airborne Moving Target Indicator, MTI radar with real-time data link and a laser designator and laser aided rocket. Later additions would include Bomblet dispenser, 40-mm grenade launcher and Hypervelocity gun (50 cal w sabot and flechette rounds) (seen left). Classified results (government only) are released in July 1975.

February 6, 1970 - Gyrodyne receives 'Walk-up Mode" contract to permit automatic positioning of QH-50s armed with 7.62 mm Mini Gun and Iron Bombs, over target for precise weapon/sensor delivery. Aircraft shown at Right.

March 31, 1970 - the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) reports that of the 17 of the original 20 QH-50s that they started with (3 lost), 13,429 landings are made during 959.5 flight hours. Their MTBL is 419 hrs.

June 23, 1970 - While trying to increase vehicle lift capability for ARPA's NITE GAZELLE/NITE PANTHER program, Gyrodyne's new 24' diameter rotor QH-50 is lost due to design deficiencies (Rotor disks were too close). Gyrodyne proposes a redesign 1 Oct. 1970.

June 1970 - ARPA improvements to the basic command and control system result in a change of MTBL of 80 Hr MTBL (all causes - shipboard to training rises to 226 hrs MTBL).

December 11, 1970 - QH-50 Standoff sensor system, consisting of two BLOW-LOW QH-50Ds and two MTI-Radar equipped QH-50s are transferred to the U.S. ARMY MICOM Target Management Office (TMO). Aircraft provided are flown from Jeep-mounted-Control stations using the ARW-88 Radio System at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) - MARS Site, by Gyrodyne Drone Controllers John Howedel and John Nieman in support of Air Defense Artillery (ADA). This begins U.S. ARMY use of QH-50 system to test other weapon systems by using QH-50 as a threat/target-simulator. Gyrodyne operates the QH-50 system until 1974.

January 31, 1971 - The U.S. NAVY cancels the DASH Weapon System, FLEET WIDE. ALL QH-50s that survive DASH and SNOOPY are shipped to Davis-Monthan AMARC for storage. ARPA missions continue. The ships that flew DASH are quickly sold to friendly nations via Foreign Military Sales or scrapped.  Gyrodyne begins layoffs of most company personnel, world wide.

May 1971 - Seven Modified ARPA NITE GAZELLE aircraft are offered to the United States ARMY Field Support Center /  Terrain Analysis Center but the transfer is refused; aircraft are directed to ARMY Electronics Command (TACOM).

February 1972 - U.S. ARMY continues to acquire ARPA assets - Eight NITE GAZELLE QH-50s, two Control Vans and two maintenance vans are provided to ARMY Electronics Command (TACOM) that are provided to TMO.

June 1972 - ARPA officially ends programs NITE GAZELLE/NITE PANTHER. By that time, battlefield demonstration of the Nite Panther concept with real-time battlefield TV surveillance with multiple interdiction weapon systems and demonstrated use of extending operating range of using elevated relays (GRANDVIEW) is all shown. At end of program, 12 NITE GAZELLE vehicles survived Vietnam. ALL NITE GAZELLE assets officially transferred to U.S. ARMY Electronics Command (TACOM) on February 1972.

November 30, 1972 - American troop withdrawal from Vietnam is completed. The war that saw the QH-50 ASW Drone converted into a surveillance and multi-mission program carrying all types of munitions and weapons is in the end-phase as 16,000 Army advisors still remain in-country.

March 29, 1973 - The last remaining American troops including 591 POWs from Hanoi, withdraw from Vietnam ending America's longest war; Of the 2 million Americans who served in Vietnam, 47,244 were killed in action (8000 of which are aircrews), 10,446 were killed in non-combat deaths, 153,329 are seriously wounded including 10,000 amputees and 2400 Americans are listed Missing in Action. For ALL QH-50 Programs, operating on 165 U.S. Naval Ships to ARPA Vietnam-Operations, over 50 QH-50s are shot down over Vietnam and 350 are lost Fleet-wide during the entire Vietnam War with an estimated 5,000 Americans serving, NONE are listed Killed from any cause, injured or listed Missing in Action.

1970 to 1999 - Gyrodyne provides spares and technical assistance to Naval Air Weapons Center (NAWC) China Lake /Point Magu and U.S. ARMY Missile Command (MICOM) as QH-50s are beginning to be used as targets & target emulators.

1974 to 1977 - US ARMY MICOM contracts for Flight Services; they consolidate flight support for Beech's MQM-61A and the QH-50 into one package and formally submit it for offers. Beechcraft / Raytheon is  successful and begins operating both systems at WSMR in late 1975. Brunswick wins small service contract to inventory ALL QH-50 assets at MARS and Bldg 24012, aka "The Bat Cave" where QH-50 ops would occur for the next 30+ years.

July 1975 - By this time, 100 QH-50Cs and 200 QH-50Ds are in storage at Davis-Monthan Aircraft Maintenance And Regeneration Center (AMARC) under control of Naval Air Systems Command (NASC/Code 5104A). In 10 years, all aircraft will have been removed for either NAVY (China Lake NATC) or ARMY (White Sands Missile Range, NM) use in weapons testing and threat simulation.

July 1975 - ARPA issues its Executive Summary of NITE GAZELLE and NITE PANTHER Armed QH-50 missions stating, "The Modified QH-50D helicopter proved to be a suitable platform for real-time remote surveillance operations over enemy territory and when armed with various armament systems, it was demonstrated to be suitable in a hunter / killer role."

August 20, 1976 - The Naval Air Weapons Center (NAWC) at China Lake, California re-activates the DASH Weapon System for Navy Range-use since the CNO Struck the system from Ship-board use on January 31, 1971. Captain W.B. Haff, NWC Technical Officer oversees the first flight with Harlan Reep acting as Drone Controller and Joe Chesney as Airframe Technical Support.

February 14, 1977 - The Naval Air Weapons Center (NAWC) at China Lake, California receives 54 QH-50C drones to use as missile / gunnery targets and creates modifications to the RE-542 relay to integrate a second flight termination system.

1977 - The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), facing the possibility of continuing their DASH program without the United States keeping their program, cancels their DASH program and begins to remove QH-50's from their four TAKATSUKI-class and three MINEGUMO-class destroyers.


June 16, 1978 - The Naval Air Weapons Center (NAWC) at China Lake, California begins experimenting with the HYBRID TERMINAL ASSIST LANDING (HYTAL) System allowing for Autonomous Takeoff and Landings of the modified QH-50 system. Al Sorenson and Joe Kitchens are photographed preflighting the modified QH-50 HYTAL Drone. Lt Cdr. Robert S. Paskulovich, USN, writes his Master's thesis of how the system works while attending Wayne State University. He publishes the full results in June 1987 while attending the Naval Post Graduate School.

1978 - 1980  US ARMY MICOM TMO contracts for Flight Services; Brunswick wins the Flight-services contract for the 1st time. Flight history for this period is missing; photographic history exists.

1980 - 1982   US ARMY MICOM TMO contracts for Flight Services; Peter W. Dahl, Co., Inc wins the contract to provide Flight Services from Oct. 1980 to Sept. 1982; they fly a mix of QH-50s and MQM-61As.  Drone Controller G. Gattis hires on; he will act as controller of the QH-50 for the next 25 years. DAHL flies 30 QH-50 flights of the total 50 flights provided during this period.

1982 - 1984 US ARMY MICOM Target Management Office (TMO) issued Contract DAAH01-83-C-0020 which Beechcraft/Raytheon wins to provide Flight Services using army-owned QH-50s at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). From 11/82 to 10/83, 48 flights are conducted; 8 QH-50s are shot down as targets and 2 crash during testing.

1984  US ARMY MICOM Target Management Office (TMO) issues Contract DAAH01-84-C-A025 and Beechcraft/Raytheon wins the contract to provide Flight Services using army-owned QH-50s at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). From 3/84 to 10/84, 37 flights are conducted; 10 QH-50s are shot down as targets.

1985 to 1988 - US ARMY MICOM Target Management Office (TMO) issues Contract DAAH01-85-C-0004 and Beechcraft/Raytheon Flight Services wins the contract back; from 12/84 to 7/88, 219 flights are conducted - testing Sgt. York to Stinger Missiles, 29 QH-50s are shot down as targets and 6 are lost due to airframe malfunctions. During this period, the Beechcraft personnel start converting the DASH training-aid transmissions into full-up Aircraft which are then used in additional testing.

March 29, 1985 - Now having acquired 80 QH-50s from Davis-Monthan AMARC for use as Missile Targets, the Aerial Targets Division of the Naval Warfare Center at China Lake, Code 613 only has 35 QH-50s remaining. Code 613 flew their targeting missions from the G-1 Range at China Lake NAWC. Code 613 also uses a modified RV to fly QH-50s from anywhere in the United States.

 1986 to 2002 - Gyrodyne continues its licensed-affiliation with Dornier GmbH of Friedrichshafen, Germany. Three QH-50Ds were provided so that Dornier, working under a contract award by the German Office of Defense Technology and Procurement (BWB), could employ state-of-the-art hydraulic actuators, an Allison 250-C20S turbine engine and an autonomous digital autopilot to flight test under the name of SEAMOS (Sea Reconnaissance and Location System). 
To see that flight film Click Here.

    The SEAMOS coaxial helicopter demonstrated its possible use for the German Navys new K130 Corvette Class ships with its capability of landing on a rolling, pitching ship deck completely autonomously in 1996. The primary tasks of the SEAMOS are comprehensive reconnaissance and target acquisition. It is planned to enter service in the year 2005. Radar sensors, electro-optical sensors, and a data link are planned as payload. Program is cancelled after Dornier merges into EADS and EADS enters into agreement to sell Northrop-Grumman VTOL-UAV system, which never occurs. Mission Video can be seen by clicking here.

1987 to 1999 - Gyrodyne maintains its licensed-affiliation with Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) in the development of their HELLSTAR UAV (shown left). IAI has 3 QH-50s that they are modifying for  an specific Intelligence type mission.

1988 - 1991 - US ARMY MICOM Target Management Office (TMO) issues Contract DAAH01-89-C-0016 and Beechcraft/Raytheon wins the contract; from 10/88 to 12/91, 130 flights are conducted - testing the Stinger Missile exclusively with deadly results. During this period, the ARMY starts towing WEDGE TARGETS from the QH-50 in 1990 vs. "using the QH-50 as The Target". Of the 130 Flights testing STINGER, 9 QH-50s are shot down and 1 of the training-aid-QH-50s crashes.

1990 - 1992 - Project Manager, Instrumentation, Targets and Threat Simulators (PM ITTS) is organized under Army Material Command (AMC). The TMO, flying the QH-50, begins to works closely with PM ITTS (first PM is Col. Doug Baker). By August 1992, TMO is organizationally reassigned to PM ITTS under the new Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command (STRICOM) (a new Major
Subordinate Command under AMC). However, by 1 October 1992, STRICOM becomes Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) and PEO STRI is placed under Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. TMO continues to fly the QH-50 at WSMR.

1992 - 1994 - US ARMY PEO-STRI Target Management Office (TMO) issues Contract DAAH01-92-C-0109 and Lockheed-Martin Flight Services wins the contract; from 6/92 to 7/94, 37 flights are conducted - testing the Stinger Missile's high altitude capabilities. During this period, the ARMY continues towing WEDGE TARGETS from the QH-50s and actually doesn't shoot a single one down intentionally but 2 aircraft are lost with one being lost to a engine shut-down in flight. Tow cable length is 461 feet on the Wedge Target.

1994 - 1999 - US ARMY PEO-STRI Target Management Office (TMO) issues Contract DAAH01-94-C-S234 and Lockheed-Martin Flight Services wins the contract; from 11/94 to 7/99, 61 flights are conducted - flying WEDGE TARGETS. No QH-50 is shot-down but 1 QH-50C is lost when its Roll and Pitch Gyro fails and the aircraft rolls inverted after a uncommanded takeoff and impacts the ground (Bu No DS-1244). US ARMY PEO STRI becomes the sole activity flying the Heavy Lift QH-50 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System (UAS).

1997 - The Naval Air Weapon Center (NAWC) - China Lake ends its QH-50 Flight operations. It lists 16 QH-50Cs and 25 QH-50Ds that remain; all are transferred to the U.S. Army's PEO-STRI-Target Management Office (TMO) at White Sands, New Mexico, to be used as target-tows.

1999 - October - AVIODYNE USA enters into a Asset Sales Agreement with Gyrodyne Company of America to re-locate all Gyrodyne helicopter assets from its original Long Island, New York home, to Los Angeles, California. This not only allows the company to be closer to the U.S. Army at White Sands Missile Range, but also prospective vendors interested in re-equipping the QH-50 with modern avionics and an autonomous takeoff / landing and flight systems.

October 1999 - Former and Current Directors of Gyrodyne Company of America form the Gyrodyne Helicopter Historical Foundation (GHHF) to save the extensive history of Gyrodyne, DASH and the QH-50. This web site is from their efforts.

2000-July 2001 - US ARMY PEO STRI Target Management Office (TMO) issues Contract DAAH01-99-C-0186 and Lockheed-Martin Flight Services wins the contract; from 8/2000 to 7/2001, Only 10 flights are conducted - flying Propane-fired IR targets. The only loss during this period is a single intentional shoot-down (Bu. No. DS-1240) by the Avenger system. PEO STRI also releases 3 QH-50Cs to U.S. Navy-ship-related museums for historical displays.

2000 - EADS Dornier (formerly Dornier Gmbh) notifies Gyrodyne in December of its election to exercise their rights to manufacture drone helicopters using the QH-50 dynamic system "know how".

2001 - EADS Dornier pays Gyrodyne on April 20 for the rights to manufacture SEAMOS type drones using the coaxial technology embodied within the QH-50E helicopter. Using modern materials and manufacturing however 3 years later, Aviation Week and Space Technology reports the program is cancelled.

2001 - In a memo to PEO STRI, Lockheed-Martin reports that during the period of 1983 to 2001, an 18-year period, 494 flights were conducted for the TMO with 481 being successful, yielding a 97.3% Successful Utilization Rate of the QH-50 DASH UAS system.

Aug. 2001-2003 - US ARMY PEO STRI Target Management Office (TMO) issues Contract in support of HellFire-equipped QH-50 (Bu. No. DS-1755) mission; Lockheed-Martin Flight Services wins again. 19 flights are made culminating with the successful test at Eglin AFB, Florida but DS-1755's engine flames out due to excessive missile back-blast and DS-1755 is lost on October 4, 2001. Only one flight is conducted in 2002 and none in 2003 due to a lack of customers to fly for as the Iraq war begins.

November 24, 2003 - Gyrodyne Foundation places its first QH-50D, Bu No DS-1914, at a Museum. DS-1914, serialed in honor of Gyrodyne's late Founder, Peter James Papadakos (1914-1992), DS-1914 is placed at the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum, NV and is used as a training aircraft for future MK-44 Torpedo installs around the United States.

2004: Aviodyne USA dba Gyrodyne-Ca Helicopter Co., which had purchased the helicopter division from Gyrodyne Company of America in 1999 to provide parts and technical services to the U.S. Army's fleet of QH-50C/D drone helicopters flying, closes on March 20 and dissolves after a 5 year effort. Per the terms of the Asset Sales Agreement all helicopters and related materials are scrapped.

March 2004 to Nov. 2005 - US ARMY PEO STRI Target Management Office (TMO) issues Contract to continue flying WEDGE TARGETS and Lockheed-Martin Flight Services wins one last time. 49 Flights are made testing a Airport-Perimeter Laser Protection System with the QH-50 simulating a Jet-liner-target; QH-50C's DS-1269 (lost 11/5/2004) and DS-1267 (lost 11/19/2005) are both killed when the system fails to hit the missile fired at the QH-50.  System works for the remaining 9 flights of the test program and the QH-50 left to carry on the testing, DS-1714, survives.

2006 - US ARMY PEO STRI Target Management Office (TMO) issues a temporary Contract to continue flying the QH-50 as a target for the Navy's AIM-9X Submarine Fired Anti-aircraft missile and WFI (Kratos) wins the contract. 11 Flights are made with no QH-50 losses. The Navy declines further testing and with no customers to support the system, the ARMY's PEO-STRI TMO decides to shutter the program for 1 year.

09-May-2006: The U.S. Army's PEO-STRI Target Management Office flies their last QH-50 mission at Ft. Bliss, New Mexico; for a Drone Controller training mission (shown below). The Gyrodyne Foundation was at Ft. Bliss for the previous May 4 and 5 flights to film and document these final flights. Upon the last flight, all remaining aircraft were placed in storage. A former DASH Engineman, R. Mack, that served aboard the DASH U.S. Navy destroyer, USS FRED T. BERRY (DD-858) from 1965 to 1967, was at White Sands to witness and represent all DASH Crewman (seen at right) at the last flight of the QH-50 DASH.
On that date, the TMO had flown the QH-50 for 36 consecutive Years.
See that Last flight by clicking HERE!

2008 - With no further customers coming forward for VTOL-UAV testing needs, PEO-STRI-TMO working with other U.S. ARMY activities, makes several QH-50s available for placement in museums. The Gyrodyne Foundation removes those aircraft and begins restorations. The remaining 12 QH-50's - of the original 758 delivered under the DASH weapon system that survived the NAWC-China Lake and US ARMY PEO-STRI TMO-WSMR Weapons testing, head to the National Test Center to be used as Ground Targets.

By 2008, with the TMO ending their use of the QH-50, the QH-50 ended its 46-year DoD deployment.
 

 

December 2, 2008 - Gyrodyne Foundation delivers flight-capable QH-50C, Bu. No. DS-1221 to the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum, NV. DS-1221 is displayed in her original condition as records indicate she was used in Vietnam and her high-visibility colors were painted over for survivability. She is the only QH-50C to be shown in this realistic manner with the ground-trailer as well. DS-1221 is re-armed with 2.75" Folding-Fin Rocket pods; shown left.

May 15, 2009 - Gyrodyne Foundation delivers fully functional QH-50D, Bu. No. DS-1543A with SNOOPY reconnaissance payload after a 5-year build-time. DS-1543A goes to the museum-ship, USS JOSEPH P. KENNEDY JR (DD-850) berthed at Fall River, Massachusetts (shown below). It is the only place in the world, that a SNOOPY-equipped QH-50 exists.

September 27, 2010 - Gyrodyne Foundation delivers QH-50D, Bu No. DS-1757, to the Aeronautical Engineering College Bldg - Unit C at Penn State University, State College, Pa.. DS-1757 is the second to last QH-50 that Gyrodyne manufactured and is shown in pristine condition equipped with Twin MK-44 Torpedoes; it is the finest example of a Anti-Submarine-Warfare-equipped-QH-50D, in the world.

April 22, 2011 - Gyrodyne Foundation delivers QH-50D, Bu No. DS-1660, to the Aerospace Museum of California, McClellan, California after a 6-month "Rapid-Response-Restoration" requested by Curator, Barry Bauer. Using all original and new Gyrodyne OEM parts, DS-1660 goes from a seized-up faded wreck to a pristine, flight-capable asset; shown below. The History of DS-1660's Vietnam service on two U.S. Naval ships would be printed in its entirety and installed on the aft-avionics panel so that the history of the aircraft and her crews would never be forgotten.

October 5, 2011 - Gyrodyne Foundation delivers QH-50C, DS-1289, to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center after a 3-year restoration program that saw the helicopter taken apart to the component level and rebuilt. It is the ONLY QH-50 DASH display to show the original envisioned MK-57 Nuclear Depth Bomb Installation that the NAVY designed the QH-50 to originally carry per original Gyrodyne photographs showing weapons-fit; July 11, 1961. Also provided is a set of restored MK-44 Homing Torpedoes so the Smithsonian can alter the display if they so choose; bottom photo.
 

Present: The Gyrodyne Helicopter Historical Foundation remains the last resource of the first destroyer-based VTOL UAS, the last mass-deployed VTOL-UAS and the only coaxial helicopter to enter mass production in the United States as we restore and deploy the last survivors to museums and educational facilities, in authentic and pristine condition.

 

QH-50D, DS-1543A before leaving for her new home on the museum-ship, USS JOSEPH P. KENNEDY JR. (DD-850); April 18, 2009   The "Move-In Crew" at the Aerospace Museum of California on the day
QH-50D DASH, Bu No. DS-1660 arrived at their museum; April 22, 2011
 
 
 

The "Move-In Crew" at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center on the day
QH-50C DASH, Bu No. DS-1289, joined that special collection - in the Vietnam Era Section; October 5, 2011

 

 

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Helicopter Historical Foundation
P.O. Box 3838, Reno, Nevada USA 89505


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The name "Gyrodyne" in its stylized form above, is the Trademark of and owned by the Gyrodyne Helicopter Historical Foundation; unauthorized use is PROHIBITED by Federal Law.

All Photographs, technical specifications, and content are herein copyrighted and owned exclusively by Gyrodyne Helicopter Historical Foundation, unless otherwise stated.  All Rights Reserved 2004.

The Gyrodyne Helicopter Historical Foundation (GHHF) is a private foundation incorporated in the State of Nevada as a Non-profit organization. 

GHHF is dedicated to the advancement of the education and preservation of the history of the Ships, the Men and the Company that built, operated and flew the U.S. Navy's QH-50 Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter (DASH) System and to the preservation of the history of the U.S. Army's past and continued use of DASH.
Your support will allow for that work to continue. Many thanks for your support.