Military Wiki
Role Utility helicopter
Manufacturer Firestone Aircraft Company
First flight March 1946
Primary user United States Army Air Forces
Number built 2

The Firestone XR-9, also known by the company designation Model 45, was a 1940s American experimental helicopter built by the Firestone Aircraft Company for the United States Army Air Forces. Only two (the military XR-9B and one civil example) were built.


Originally developed by G & A Aircraft with the co-operation of the United States Army Air Forces' Air Technical Service Command, the G & A Model 45B (designated XR-9 Rotocycle by the Army)[1] was a design for a single-seat helicopter of pod-and-boom configuration.[2] It had a fixed tri-cycle landing gear and three-bladed main and tail rotors. Power would have been supplied by a 126 hp (94 kW) Avco Lycoming XO-290-5 engine.[3] The Model 45C (XR-9A) was the same helicopter with a two-bladed rotor. Neither of the two helicopters were built. G & A Aircraft was purchased by Firestone in 1943,[3] and was renamed the Firestone Aircraft Company in 1946.[4]

A revised two-seat design the revised Model 45C (or XR-9B) was built with a three-bladed main rotor and two-seat in tandem. The first aircraft procured by the Army Air Forces in 1946,[3] it was powered by an Avco Lycoming O-290-7 engine[3] and first flew in March of that year. A civil version, the Model 45D was also built and flown, in anticipation of a postwar boom in aircraft sales.[3] This differed in having the two occupants side-by-side instead of Tandem as in the 45C, and was equipped with a 150 horsepower (110 kW) Lycoming engine.[3] The prototype was demonstrated at the 1946 Cleveland National Air Races.[5] A four-seat Model 50, with twin tail rotors, was also projected,[3] but the predicted sales boom did not materialise, and Firestone closed its aircraft manufacturing division.[3]


Model 45B
Unbuilt single-seat helicopter with three-bladed rotor, Army designation XR-9.
Model 45C
Unbuilt single-seat helicopter with two-bladed rotor, Army designation XR-9A.
Model 45C (revised)
Tandem two-seat helicopter powered by an Avco Lycoming O-290-7 engine and two-bladed rotor, one built as the XR-9B, later re-designated the XH-9B.
Model 45D
Side-by-side two-seat helicopter for civil market, one built.
Model 50.
Four-seat version, not built.
Army designation for the unbuilt Model 45B
Army designation for the unbuilt Model 45C
Army designation for the Model 45C (revised), later redesignated XH-9B
XR-9B re-designated in 1948.


United States
United States Army Air Forces


The sole Model 45D is in non-display storage at the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker, Alabama. It is painted as an XR-9 46-001.

Specifications (XR-9B)[]

Data from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 27 ft 0 in (8.23 m)
  • Main rotor diameter: 28 ft 0 in (8.53 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 6½ in (2.60 m)
  • Gross weight: 1750 lb (794 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Avco Lycoming O-290-7 flat-four engine, 135 hp (101 kW) each


  • Cruise speed: 80 (approx) mph (129 (approx) km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 10,000 ft (3050 m)

See also[]





  1. "Short Hop Helicopter". Popular Science, April 1946.
  2. Andrade 1979, p. 171.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Merriam 2002, p. 64
  4. Lambermont 1958
  5. <AAHS Journal, Winter 2003, p. 316.


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