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Kellett Drawings
Rotor head of Kellett KD-1A autogiro. The head tills fore and aft mid left or right with pilot's control slick for lateral and longitudinal controL (Howard levy Photo)

Rear (pilot's) cockpit in the Kellett KD-1A, 1958-59.

(Howard Levy Phoh

Kellett Kd1
Kellett KD-1A being put in a barn with rotor blades folded, 1958-59. (Howard Levy Photo)
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A Kellett KD-1A built in 1959 to create interest in the autogiro. It was made from theXR-3 parts of the original KD-1 and purls of the KD-1B. New rotor blades were made at this time. Roland "Blackie" Maier, pilot. (Howard Levy Photo)
Successful forced landing KellettYG-lB Wingless Aulogiro, while engaged in LLS.-Mexico Border PAtrol. Operated by U. S. Immigration Service. 1941. (Kellett Photo)

Kellett KD-1B

Autogyro Free Plans

The former Eastern Airlines Kellett Autogiro in 1959 while in the author's possession. Note alt E.A. identity has been removed.

(G. Townson Photo,

In 1939 the Post Office Department advertised for bids to fly airmail by autogiro from Philadelphia's 30fh Street Post Office roof to Camden, New Jersey's Central Airport. The Post Office roof was ten stories high and about a city block square.

Eastern Airlines was the successful bidder at $3.86 per mile. The distance was 6 miles. Five round trips a day were flown six days a week.

Kellett was selected as the builder of the autogiro which was basically the same as the KD-1A except that a mail pit replaced the front cockpit. An enclosure covered the rear cockpit. All details of construction were the same as the KD-1A. A very high percentage of scheduled flights were completed. The pilot was Kellett's test pilot, John M. Miller. By act of Congress, all civil air regulations were waived and the operation left to Miller's discretion. The first scheduled flight was July 5, 1939 and the last flight, July 4, 1940. Three hundred pounds of mail could be carried per flight.

The KD-1B was granted a Standard CAA Approved Type Certificate under ATC 712. Specifications and performance were almost the same as the KD-1A.

Gross weight 2400 lbs.

Empty weight 1600 lbs.

Useful load 800 lbs.

Performance (guaranteed) lOOmpl

Landing speed 20 mpl

Initial rate of climb 800 ftVmin

In addition to the usual instruments, the KD IB had: directional Giro, artificial horizon, rat* of climb indicator, turn and bank indicator clock, 15-watt transmitter, three-band receiver fire extinguisher, and a first aid kit.

The only accident in the year's operation wa: when the autogiro rolled on its side on the roo in very gusty air. It had operated in winds a: high as 50 mph. It was not possible to get thi autogiro down off the roof for repairs, so it wa; repaired and test flown from the roof ten storie; high. The flying was shared by Paul (Skip' Lukins, one of Pitcairn's flight instructors anc autogiro test pilot. Skip was in the KD-1 B wher it upset on the Post Office.

At least one passenger was carried to tht roof in the autogiro. Jose Uturbi, popular pianist was flown on one occasion with special permis sion of the CAA. Only one KD-1B was built. Eas tern sold it about December of 1941. It found it! way into the author's hands in 1953, after < minor ground accident. The blades and part d the spinup mechanism were damaged. Afte: repair with Kellett's technical help, it was sold tc them. They planned to use it as a research aircraft for high speed flight studies. It was des-

Kellett Autogiros
Eastern Airlines Captain ¡ahn Mi »er on final approach far Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's Thirtieth Street post office roof. Thcautogiro is a Kellett KD-1B, (Kellett Photo)
Pitcairn Autogiro Eastern Airlines

KellettKD-1B Autogiro which was operated from June 1939 to fune 1940 in daily air mail shuttle service between the roof of the Post Office, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the Camden, Nero Jersey Municipal Airport.'litis aircraft made five round trips daily carrying all United States Air Mail to and from the city of Philadelphia. During its year of operation, the Kellett Autogiro completed more than 90% of all scheduled flights. More than 2.300 takeoffs and landings from the Post Office roof were made. (Kellett Photo)

KellettKD-1B Autogiro which was operated from June 1939 to fune 1940 in daily air mail shuttle service between the roof of the Post Office, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the Camden, Nero Jersey Municipal Airport.'litis aircraft made five round trips daily carrying all United States Air Mail to and from the city of Philadelphia. During its year of operation, the Kellett Autogiro completed more than 90% of all scheduled flights. More than 2.300 takeoffs and landings from the Post Office roof were made. (Kellett Photo)

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