Hiller, Stanley, Jr.
Stanley Hiller, Jr., 1924–2006, American aeronautical engineer and business executive, b. San Francisco. At 12 years old, he designed and produced gas-propelled toy cars, a business that led to the formation of his first company, Hiller Industries. The fledgling aviation industry subsequently caught his fancy, particularly the accomplishments of Igor Sikorsky with helicopters, and by the time he was 17 he was convinced that the twin-rotor helicopter configuration was safer and more efficient than the single-rotor one. Forming the Hiller Aircraft Company, Hiller developed the unique XH-44, or Hiller Copter, with twin coaxial counter-rotating rotors, in 1944. Renamed Hiller Helicopter in 1948, the company was involved in the development of a number of prototype helicopters, but none achieved commercial success. Hiller also was a business turnaround specialist and helped restructure more than 30 companies during his career.