Army Aviation

Kaman K-240 HTK-1-K Remotely Controlled Helicopter

Bloomfield, CT -1957: Kaman Aircraft senior project engineer, Robert C. Mack, flew, was is reputed to be, the first pilotless robot helicopter; adding to the growing interest in such efforts as drones, guided missiles, satellites. . .   The K-240 HTK-1-K was directed by radio signals from the ground by Mr. Mack.  The robot helicopter lifted off vertically, hovered, flew forward, backward, sidewards, then landed.  The control element is based on simplicity, to the extent that the operator, like Robert Mack, does not have to be cockpit qualified.

Kaman K-240 HTK-1-K robot or remotely controlled helicopter. Note there is no pilot in cockpit and, tail is legible with “A Joint Army Navy Program.”

During the flight, several hundred feet of rope were used.  One end was attached to the robot, with other end to the ground.  This was in keeping with CAA regulations concerning robot aircraft.  Such aircraft as the K-240 HTK-1-K are efforts to create equipment to perform missions without endangering personnel.  The Kaman prototype was a joint Army-Navy effort.

Source:  page 31, Army Aviation, Vol. 5, No. 9, Westport, Ct., September 15, 1957.