Jets and Moon Rockets: 1957-1970

Hughes Tool Co. ... Training Helicopters

During the early 1950s, the Aviation Division of the Hughes Tool Co. began work on a small, three-bladed tandem rotor helicopter. It evolved into the single-rotor, Hughes Model 269 helicopter. The Army bought the two-seat Model 269 and redesignated it the TH-55A Osage. By 1965, it was the Army's principal training helicopter and went on to teach more than 35,000 pilots to fly.

The low-cost 269 evolved into the very successful Model 300C light commercial helicopter, which made its first flight in 1969.

In 1962, the Hughes Model 369 YOH-6A prototype won the Army's Light Observation Helicopter competition. The Army subsequently bought 1,420 of the OH-6 Cayuse helicopters. Also known as the "flying eggs," the Cayuse established 23 world records for speed, distance and altitude. It was adapted for a variety of special military missions and served during the Vietnam and Gulf wars. The design evolved into the popular Hughes Model 500 series of civilian helicopters.

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