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XH-17 Flying Crane / H-28

The XH-17 "Flying Crane" was the first helicopter project for the Hughes aircraft division that became part of McDonnell Douglas in 1984. The XH-17, which had a two-bladed main rotor system with a diameter of 134 feet, was capable of flying at a gross weight of more than 50,000 pounds. The XH-17 was a heavy-lift rotorcraft that was designed to lift loads in excess of 15 metric tons.

In the late 1940s, Hughes developed an interest in helicopters. In August 1947, helicopter manufacturer Kellett sold his design for the giant XH-17 Sky Crane to Hughes. Howard Hughes Jr. commissioned the development of the XH-17 Flying Crane research vehicle. In 1948 aviation pioneer Howard Hughes, Jr. began to turn the giant XH-17 Flying Crane into a flying reality. The giant helicopter was flight tested in Culver City, Calif. over a three-year period beginning in 1952. The XH-17 flew in 1953 flew at a gross weight in excess of 50,000 pounds. It still holds the record for flying with the world's largest rotor system. Only one unit built, since the behemoth was too cumbersome and inefficient to warrant further development.

The H-28 was a derivative, with a maximum weight of 47,000 Kg. The program was cancelled and none were built.

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