Aer Lualdi was formed in 1953 and flew its first experimental helicopter, designated the ES 53, in September of that year. This aircraft was powered by an 85hp Continental engine and incorporated the "Rotor-Matic" type of rotor system designed by Hiller Aircraft Corp. of Palo Alto, California, supplemented by a Lualdi gyroscopic system which was claimed to ensure smoother flight and easier handling qualities.
Subsequently, Lualdi were appointed agents and licencees for Hiller in Italy, and the rotor system pioneered with the ES 53 has been a feature of each of their subsequent designs. The first of these was the L.55, which introduced a fully-streamlined fuselage with stressed-skin tailboom and was powered by a 180hp Lycoming engine.
Experience with the L.55 led to construction of an improved model, designated the L.57, with a main rotor of increased diameter and a larger tail rotor built of reinforced plastic. Several technical improvements were developed on this model, including an auto-pilot, and its flight testing has proved so satisfactory that it forms the basis for the fully-developed L.59, with more powerful engine and metal rotor blades, which is scheduled for series production.
Two prototypes of the L.59 are being built in the Macchi factory at Varese and the first was expected to fly in the Summer of 1959. Work on an initial production series of 50 was scheduled to begin in September, 1959.
Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 1959-60